In New Zealand, Chris Hipkins is preparing to replace Jacinda Ardern as head of government

In New Zealand, Chris Hipkins is preparing to replace Jacinda Ardern as head of government

The New Zealand Labor Party wasted no time. On Sunday 22 January, three days after the resignation of Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, who did not have the energy to run for a third term while legislative elections were held in October, Christopher Hepkins, the current Home Secretary, Education and Public Services, took over the leadership of the centre-left parliamentary bloc. As the head of the ruling party, he will automatically become prime minister and lead the election campaign. The elected official must be sworn in on Wednesday.

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Nicknamed “Chibi” Seen by his colleagues, the plump-faced 40-year-old with dapper red hair has mustered enough support within his own party to be the sole candidate on Sunday’s internal ballot. “I feel energized and excited, and I can’t wait to get back to work, He rejoiced even before his election. I think the New Zealand public saw the work you did. »

A deputy for fourteen years, the man became a recognized figure on the political scene when he was pushed into the head of the ministry responsible for combating the Covid-19 pandemic. If his administration has adopted particularly drastic measures as part of its zero covid strategy, he has earned a reputation for efficiency and honesty while occasionally having his countrymen laugh at his bumbling side like this day when, in a misstep that remains famous, he advised them “Go out and spread your legs.”instead of being tugged

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“Appreciation and combat”

But this father of two young children has proven himself above all else “The person called to solve problems”According to Richard Shaw, professor of political science at Massey University, near Wellington. In 2022, Jacinda Ardern entrusts him with Home Office duties when the country faces a sharp rise in delinquency. While his predecessor was criticized for his lack of firmness, this criminology graduate radically changed his approach and tackled the problem of gangs, a real scourge of the archipelago.

Chris Hipkins is an experienced politician, likable, combative, and honing a natural image. He often highlights his humble origins. The problem is, it’s related to the Covid years, but it’s really a period people want to forget.Adds political scientist Richard Shaw. As for the legislative elections, he is not the favorite. But I think his role will mainly be to limit the collapse before putting the left back in order for the next elections. Even if we are not safe from surprise. »

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