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Jacinda Ardern is the former Prime Minister of New Zealand whose political tenure is recognized as one of the best in New Zealand’s history. Her leadership and administrative capabilities were lauded by not only the people of New Zealand but also the entire world. She is a politician and leader of the New Zealand Labour Party. Ardern became the youngest female head of government in the world when she took office in October 2017 at the age of 37.  

Under her leadership, New Zealand has experienced strong economic growth and low unemployment. She was praised for her handling of the COVID-19 pandemic in New Zealand, where the country had one of the lowest death tolls globally. She is also known for her strong stance on social justice issues and has introduced several progressive policies during her time in office.  

Education and political life

Ardern was born in 1980 in Hamilton, New Zealand. She has graduated in 2001 with a Bachelor of Communication Studies in politics and public relations from the University of Waikato. After graduating, she worked as a researcher for the Labour Party and later as a policy advisor. 

In 2008, Ardern was elected as a Member of Parliament and has since held various positions in the government. In 2017, she was elected as the leader of the Labour Party and led the party to a historic victory in the general election. Since becoming Prime Minister, Ardern has focused on issues such as child poverty, climate change, and mental health. 

Jacinda, who served as the 40th Prime Minister of New Zealand, has announced her resignation on January 19, 2023, in a press conference at Napier which took the nation by surprise. When asked about how she would like the people of New Zealand to remember her leadership, Ardern said, “as someone who always tried to be kind”. 

She thanked the New Zealanders for all the love and support they gave her, saying that “For my part, I want to finish with a simple thank you to New Zealanders for giving me this opportunity to serve. I hope in return I leave behind a belief that you can be kind, but strong. Empathetic, but decisive. Optimistic, but focused.” 

An inspiring leader and an affectionate mother 

Jacinda Ardern gave birth to her daughter, Neve Te Aroha, on 21st June 2018, making her the world’s second elected head of the government to give birth while in office. Ardern often brought her baby to meetings and events which helped break down barriers and challenge traditional gender roles. She made history as the first world leader to appear at the United Nations General Assembly with her 3-month-old daughter. She even breastfed her daughter during many such public appearances. Ardern’s actions showed that it is possible to be both a mother and a leader. Ardern’s handling of both her responsibilities as a leader and as a mother has inspired many and she has become an icon for working mothers everywhere. Ardern’s approach to parenting and leadership has been described as “normalizing” and “humanizing.” 

Highlights of Jacinda Ardern’s leadership 

Ardern’s leadership can be described as collaborative, inclusive, and focused on creating positive change for the country and its citizens. Her tenure as Prime Minister has been marked by several significant events and initiatives that highlight her leadership qualities. Here are some of the highlights of her time in office: 

Measures to contain the Covid-19 pandemic: The way Ardern led the country during the Covid-19 pandemic has impressed one and all. She successfully managed to contain the spread of the corona virus through a sensible and effective approach. She announced an early lockdown that helped the country control the spread of the infection. Ardern’s empathetic conversations with the public over Facebook Live sessions about measures being taken, regular health updates, and the support she needs from the citizens have helped in curbing the virus spread. 

Effective crisis management: Ardern’s response to the terrorist attack in Christchurch in March 2019 was widely praised for its empathy, compassion, and leadership. She visited the families of the victims and expressed her condolences, and her response was seen as a model for other leaders in times of crisis. 

Emphasis on climate change and sustainability: Ardern has been a strong advocate for climate action, and her government has taken several steps to reduce New Zealand’s carbon footprint. This includes setting a target of being carbon neutral by 2050 and launching a plan to plant 1 billion trees by 2028. 

Commitment to child poverty reduction: Ardern has made reducing child poverty a priority, and her government has taken several steps to address this issue, including increasing benefits and tax credits for families with children. 

Stress on mental health: Ardern’s government has prioritized improving mental health services, with a focus on reducing waiting times for access to care and increasing funding for mental health services. 

Driving empathy and compassion: Ardern is widely known for her empathetic and compassionate leadership style. She has shown a strong ability to connect with people and is seen as approachable and genuine. 

Encouraging inclusiveness and diversity: Ardern has shown a commitment to inclusiveness and diversity and has taken steps to promote gender equality and LGBTQ rights. 

Strong communicator: Ardern is a strong communicator, and her ability to articulate her vision and values has helped to build support for her policies and initiatives. 

Ardern’s leadership qualities are characterized by her empathy, compassion, and ability to connect with people. She is seen as approachable and genuine, and her communication skills are widely recognized. She has been instrumental in promoting New Zealand on the world stage and has represented the country well in international forums. Overall, Ardern’s tenure as Prime Minister of New Zealand has been marked by her strong leadership qualities and her ability to inspire and bring people together. 

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