New Zealand lawmakers confirm Hipkins as Jacinda Ardern’s replacement

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The New Zealand Labor Party has selected Chris Hipkins to replace Jacinda Ardern as its new leader and the country’s 41st prime minister, Radio New Zealand reported on Sunday (22).

Hipkins, 44, was the only nominee for the post and his confirmation at a meeting on Sunday by the 64 lawmakers, known as the Labor Caucus, was largely a formality.

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Hipkins’ appointment to the top job follows the surprise resignation of Ardern on Thursday, who said he “had nothing left in the tank” to lead the country.

Known as “Chippy”, Hipkins built a reputation for competence in fighting Covid-19 and was a problem solver for Ardern when other cabinet ministers were struggling.

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He was first elected to parliament by the Labor Party in 2008 and has become a household name at the forefront of the government’s response to the pandemic. He was appointed Minister of Health in July 2020 before becoming Covid Response Minister later in the year.

The ruling party is expected to hold a press conference soon to officially announce the caucus decision. However, most local media organizations are already reporting the results and party members have tweeted congratulatory messages.

The party also selected Carmel Sepuloni as deputy prime minister, Radio New Zealand and other media reported.

Sepuloni, 46, is of Samoan, Tongan and New Zealand European descent and lives in Auckland. She currently holds a number of positions including social development and employment and arts, culture and heritage.

Grant Robertson, who is currently Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, is expected to retain the role of Minister of Finance.

Before Hipkins officially becomes prime minister, Ardern must tender her resignation to King Charles III’s representative in New Zealand, Governor-General Cindy Kiro. After that, Kiro would nominate Hipkins to the post and he would be sworn in.

(Posted by Carolina Farias)

Source: CNN Brasil

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