"I believe that leading a country is the most privileged job anyone could ever have, but also one of the more challenging," she said in a press conference.
Reasons for Stepping Down
Ardern cited leadership challenges as the reason for her decision to step down. "Politicians are human. We give all that we can for as long as we can, and then it's time," she said. Ardern had faced criticism at home over the strictness of the country's pandemic response, and polls in December showed approval for her Labour Party at around 33%, some of the lowest results during her leadership.
Ardern's Popularity and Success
Ardern was a popular leader and was known for handling three crises: the Christchurch mosque shootings in 2019, a volcanic eruption in 2019, and the COVID-19 pandemic. She gained international recognition for her compassionate response to the mosque shootings and empathetic leadership style during the volcanic eruption. New Zealand had one of the most successful pandemic responses in the world, and Ardern was praised for her clear communication and science-backed decisions.
As for her plans, Ardern said, "I have no plan. I know that whatever I do, I will try to find ways to keep working for New Zealand, and I'm looking forward to spending time with my family again."