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Jacinda Ardern, 40th PM of New Zealand, belongs to the breed of the youngest and most progressive national leaders in the world

On October 17, Jacinda Ardern’s party won New Zealand’s elections with a majority of 64 out of 120 seats. Her second term in office since 2017, as New Zealand’s prime minister has been accredited for how she handled the Covid-19 pandemic in her country. The world turned to look at New Zealand, who imposed the world’s strictest lockdown in March and April 2020, which helped the country to beat the COVID-19 pandemic with the least damage to human life. The death toll was 25 and positive COVID-19 cases only stood at 2,000 in the nation of 5 million. Jacinda Ardern, Prime Minister of New Zealand, belongs to the breed of the youngest and most progressive national leaders in the world, with a strong social conscience. She was also highly praised for the way she handled the Christchurch massacre with empathy and enacting legislation to ban assault and semi-automatic rifles in just six weeks after the attack. Ardern’s Labour coalition government is out with an agenda that includes combating climate change, handling growing inequality, child poverty, and addressing the housing crisis in New Zealand.

Who is Jacinda Ardern?

Jacinda Arden is the 40th Prime Minister of New Zealand, Leader of the New Zealand Labour Party, Minister for Child Poverty Reduction, Minister of Arts, Culture & Heritage, and Minister for National Security & Intelligence.

Born on July 26, 1980, in Hamilton, New Zealand, Jacinda Kate Laurell Ardern’s early years were spent in Murupara a small town notorious for Maori gangs. Soon, the family moved to Morrinsville, where her Mom worked in the school canteen as a catering assistant and her father served in the police force. She received her Bachelor of Communication Studies (BCS) in politics and public relations from Waikato University in 2001. A Mormon initially, she has now left the Mormon church and is an agnostic who openly supports homosexuality and same-sex marriage.

Jacinda Ardern, New Zealand’s first prime minister to be pregnant in office gave birth to a girl named Neve Te Aroha on June 21, 2018. She and her fiancé Clarke Gayford, a radio personality are yet to be married.

Jacinda Arden’s introduction to politics

It all began when Aunt Marie Arden, a member of the Labour Party, recruited Jacinda in 1999 to help her organize a political re-election campaign. At that time, it was for the New Plymouth MP Harry Duynhoven who was contesting the general election. In 2001 she started as a researcher for Labour MP, Phil Goff but soon stepped into a responsible position in the office of Prime Minister Helen Clark. In 2005, Jacinda went on to work in London, where she became a senior policy adviser in an 80-person policy unit of then-British Prime Minister Tony Blair where she served as an Associate Director for Better Regulation Executive. In 2007, she got elected as President of International Union of Socialist Youth (IUSY). In this position, she got the opportunity to travel to countries like India, China, Algeria, Lebanon, Israel and Jordon.

Jacinda Ardern on the cover of TIME. Image credits: Time Magazine

The Walk of Fame

– Jacinda Ardern was one of 15 women selected to appear on the cover of the September 2019 issue of British Vogue, by guest editor Meghan, Duchess of Sussex.

– In 2019, Jacinda Ardern was ranked at number 38 among the 100 most powerful women in the world by Forbes Magazine.

– Not only was Jacinda Ardern included in the 2019 Time 100 list but was also shortlisted for Time’s 2019 Person of the Year. Greta Thunberg, the Swedish schoolgirl who has become a climate activist won the title.

– In 2020, she was listed by Prospect as the second-greatest thinker for the COVID-19 era.

The Timeline

  • November 8, 2008 – Enters New Zealand’s Parliament, elected into the Labour Party as a list MP.
  • February 25, 2017 – Wins a special election for the MP seat representing Mt. Albert.
  • March 7, 2017 – The Labour Party elects Ardern deputy leader.
  • August 1, 2017 – The Labour Party elects Ardern leader.
  • October 19, 2017 – NZ First leader Winston Peters announces on television that he supports Ardern as prime minister in a coalition government.
  • October 26, 2017 – Sworn in as New Zealand’s prime minister.
  • January 19, 2018 – Announces her pregnancy.
  • June 21, 2018 – Ardern gives birth to daughter Neve Te Aroha, becoming the first world leader to give birth since Pakistan’s Benazir Bhutto in 1990. Announces she will take six weeks’ leave following the baby’s birth. Peters, now deputy prime minister, serves as acting prime minister during that time.
  • March 15, 2019 – Ardern condemns the attacks at two mosques in the city of Christchurch that left 51 individuals dead.
  • March 18, 2019 – Ardern confirms that New Zealand’s government has agreed to reform the country’s gun laws in the wake of the Christchurch mosque shootings.
  • March 19, 2020 – Ardern closes New Zealand’s borders to foreign visitors due to the coronavirus pandemic.
  • March 23, 2020 – Announces a nationwide lockdown, requiring all non-essential workers to stay at home.
  • April 15, 2020 – Announces that she and her cabinet will take a 20% pay cut for the next six months because of the coronavirus pandemic.
  • August 17, 2020 – Ardern announces she is delaying the country’s parliamentary election by four weeks to October 17 after the re-emergence of Covid-19 in the country last week.
  • October 17, 2020 – Ardern wins a second term in office as New Zealand’s prime minister.

(Information credits CNN)

The Young Social Media Savvy PM

‘The relentlessly positive’ Jacinda Ardern on winning her second term took to Instagram to express to her 1.5 million followers, “Back in the Beehive. A chance to catch up with our new MPs, thank the team who were working behind the scenes during the last six weeks, and to feel grateful just for being here again,” She captioned a smiling picture of herself on her Instagram account which received over 2,73,753 likes.

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