On Wednesday, Jacinda Ardern, the leftist Prime Minister of New Zealand, announced that she is resigning from her position due to a lack of stamina to seek reelection.
“I’m leaving, because with such a privileged role comes responsibility,” she said. “The responsibility to know when you are the right person to lead and also when you are not. I know what this job takes. And I know that I no longer have enough in the tank to do it justice. It’s that simple.”
“I am human, politicians are human. We give all that we can for as long as we can. And then it’s time. And for me, it’s time.”
Ardern’s term will end on February 7 with an election to replace her being held on October 14.
Ardern faced harsh criticism, becoming known for clamping down on the freedoms of people in her country while in office by instituting draconian pandemic lockdowns, banning many forms of guns and advocating for online censorship.
Ardern was extreme in her pandemic stances, going so far as to authorize a nationwide lockdown because a total of one case had been reported in the country.
“Don’t talk to your neighbors,” she said at the time. “Please keep to your bubble.”
Ardern also utilized a political opportunity after a shooting in Australia several years ago, announcing that New Zealand would ban semiautomatic long guns and would force people to turn them in. That buyback program was a monumental failure.
Ardern also faced significant pushback for comparing online speech to a weapon of war, during a speech at the United Nations back in September.
“As leaders, we are rightly concerned that even those most light-touch approaches to disinformation could be misinterpreted as being hostile to the values of free speech we value so highly,” she claimed. “But while I cannot tell you today what the answer is to this challenge, I can say with complete certainty that we cannot ignore it. To do so poses an equal threat to the norms we all value.
“After all, how do you successfully end a war if people are led to believe the reason for its existence is not only legal but noble?” she continued. “How do you tackle climate change if people do not believe it exists?
“The weapons may be different but the goals of those who perpetuate them is often the same: To cause chaos and reduce the ability of others to defend themselves, to disband communities, to collapse the collective strength of countries who work together,” she added. “But we have an opportunity here to ensure that these particular weapons of war do not become an established part of warfare.”
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