Hipkins on course to become NZ's new prime minister

Chris Hipkins is on course to become New Zealand's new prime minister. He was confirmed on Sunday to replace Jacinda Ardern as leader of the ruling Labour Party.

The party held a meeting to choose its next leader following Ardern's announcement that she will step down.

Hipkins is expected to be sworn in as prime minister on Wednesday.

The 44-year-old is currently serving as minister of education, police, and the public service, as well as leader of the House. He 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.

The Labour Party has been trailing the main opposition National Party in recent opinion polls amid public frustration over high inflation and other issues.

Hipkins will be looking to restore voters' support before a general election scheduled for October.