Jacinda Ardern, the Prime Minister of New Zealand’s is 37 years old world’s youngest head of state. She certainly had the most meteoric rise to power. She was born on July 26, 1980, in Hamilton and grew up in Morrinsville and Murupara. She completed her Bachelor of Communication Studies in Public Relations and Political Science at Waikato Management School from 1999 to 2001. Afterwards, she started working in the office of then PM Helen Clark and under Minister of Foreign Affairs Phil Goff as a researcher. Later she moved to London where she got the chance to work with British Prime Minister Tony Blair in the UK Cabinet Office as a senior policy advisor. She also worked for the Home Office by assisting to review the policing in England and Wales. In 2007 Jacinda became the second woman ever elected being the president of the International Union of Socialist Youth, which is the world’s leading international political youth organization. She again got opportunities to spend time in countries such as Jordan, Israel, Algeria and China. This made her explore things in a better way and develop an opinion. In 2008, she was elected as a candidate for the Labour Party in Waikato for the very first time. This was when she entered the Parliament for the first time as a list MP. In the 2017 by-election, she became MP for Mt Albert and just a month later, she was unanimously elected as deputy leader of the Labour Party. After Andrew Little’s resignation, on 1 August 2017, she was elected unimpeded leader of the Labour Party. Later within two months, she was further elected as New Zealand’s third female Prime Minister.
Jacinda Ardern’s first term being Prime Minister proved her an exceptional leader around the world as she showed the extraordinary potential to unit her nation being a leader possessed with kindness and compassion. She was applauded for her handling of the Christchurch massacre as well as issues related to climate change.
Being Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s response to the terrorist attack on two Christchurch mosques that killed 51 people was highly appreciated worldwide. She assured the Muslim community in New Zealand targeted in the shootings that they will get justice. She indeed became a household name in the Muslim world in no time. She was even discussed as a potential winner of the Nobel peace prize.
She is also known for pushing New Zealand’s government to preserve its Paris climate change targets into law with cross-party support and she made her name in headlines for speaking openly on the lack of global accomplishment on climate change during her speeches at the UN and the Pacific Islands Forum. She started a war against the use of plastic bags and in one of her interviews; she revealed that she received several letters from children soon after she became prime minister of the country to ban plastic bags. Under her leadership, New Zeeland committed to providing an opportunity to children of age 11 to 14 years old to gain knowledge about climate change activism and eco-anxiety.
In 2018, a new law was presented by the Green party which was based on allowing the victims of domestic violence to avail themselves 10 days of paid leave from their work other than their regular holiday entitlements. They further pledged to work on solutions to family violence holistic and multi-agency responses.
Jacinda also supported the idea of learning the Indigenous language in the country along with the National language for attaining the harmonies society by promoting the idea of cultural integration. This also shows her love for a peaceful society, a society where everyone has enough rights to live a life of their choice.
She is also very concerned about the rights of the refugees and increased the refugee’s quota to 1,500 from 1,000. In 2017, she told the New Zealand Herald, “I could never reconcile what I saw as discrimination in a religion that was otherwise very focused on tolerance and kindness”.
The effort and response made by Jacinda Ardern’s government in New Zealand’s amid COVID-19 were globally acknowledged. Several around extolled her daily televised briefings regarding the pandemic with Ashley Bloomfield as well as her Facebook Lives. The purpose was to keep the general public in New Zealand updated with the newest developments and information regarding alert level changes.
Currently, PM Jacinda is leading the charge through Labour’s five-point plan to restructure New Zealand, which includes creating jobs, training the public, helping local businesses to recover and rebuild even better than earlier. In 2020, Jacinda Ardern and Grant Robertson delivered the second Wellbeing Budget, supporting New Zealand’s recovery from COVID-19. She is all set to surprise the world in future as well with her extremely positive and exceptional actions and policies.
Jacinda once revealed in an interview that, “I never, ever grew up as a young woman believing that my gender would stand in the way of doing anything I wanted. I want to be a good leader, not a good woman leader. I don’t want to be known simply as the woman who gave birth”.