Chris Hipkins to replace Jacinda Ardern as New Zealand Prime Minister

In New Zealand, Chris Hipkins, known for his leadership in the country's fight against the coronavirus pandemic, is set to become the new prime minister.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced on Thursday she will step down, saying that she has "no more in the tank." She said she will leave office around early next month and will not seek reelection in a parliamentary election in October.

The ruling Labour Party was due to hold a party leadership race on Sunday, but Hipkins announced on Saturday that he was the only candidate.

Hipkins praised Ardern for steering the country through a terrorist attack and the pandemic and for her "calm, stable, and reassuring leadership," which he says he hopes to continue.

The 44-year old current education minister was first elected to parliament in 2008. From 2020 to 2022, he worked with Ardern as COVID response minister, to lead efforts to contain the pandemic.

Approval ratings for the Ardern administration have been sliding as the country deals with high inflation and increasing crime. Hipkins will be looking to restore voters' support before the October election.