The New Zealander Ardern has many possibilities for a second act

The New Zealander Ardern has many possibilities for a second act

When Jacinda Ardern announced this week that she was stepping down as New Zealand’s prime minister, speculation began almost immediately about what she might do in a second act.

When she leaves, she will have accumulated 15 years of experience as a legislator and five and a half years as a leader. She will also be just 42 years old. Observers say she has all kinds of career possibilities open to her.

Ardern said she would be leaving the job because she no longer has “enough in the tank to do it justice” and has no immediate plans for her own future other than to spend more time with her fiancé and their 4-year-old daughter.

“I will have to admit that I slept well for the first time in a long time last night,” Ardern told reporters on Friday, adding that he felt both sadness and relief.

Stephen Hoadley, an assistant professor of politics and international relations at the University of Auckland, said he couldn’t imagine Ardern staying at home for the long term, given her energy and skills.

“She has the potential, she has the ability, she has the profile, she has the acceptability to do a lot of things,” Hoadley said. the phrase of her. But I imagine that by the end of this year, she will be up and running in a whole new line of career ”.

Hoadley pointed to the career path of Helen Clark, another former New Zealand prime minister who became a senior UN administrator, running the development programme.

“Jacinda could be tapped by any number of United Nations, charitable, philanthropic or other organizations,” Hoadley said.

“There are many, many possibilities, and his profile is so high that I think he would have his pick.”

Climate change minister James Shaw, who met Ardern around 2007 and remain friends, said he was shocked but not entirely surprised when Ardern told him of her plans to resign.

“It’s been a really intense five years,” Shaw said.

In addition to a busy legislative schedule, Shaw said, Ardern needed to guide the country through a series of crises, including a mass shooting at two Christchurch mosques that killed 51, a volcanic eruption that killed 22 and the coronavirus pandemic. .

On top of that, Ardern also bore the brunt of a growing number of threats, Shaw said, and a toxic and misogynistic online culture that had worsened in recent years.

“What I hope is that he can spend some time at the beach with his family, uninterrupted, for a while,” Shaw said.

He said he believes Ardern when he says he doesn’t have any firm plans yet for the future.

“I think he could pretty much do whatever he wants from this point on,” Shaw said.

“Jacinda is one of the most selfless, determined and public minded people I have ever met,” Shaw added. “So I figure whatever it is, she’s going to be in the public interest.”

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