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NZ Labour lawmakers meet to confirm Chris Hipkins as Jacinda Ardern replacement

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WELLINGTON — New Zealand Labour lawmakers are currently meeting to confirm Chris Hipkins’s nomination to replace Jacinda Ardern as leader of the Labour party and New Zealand’s new prime minister.

Hipkins, 44, was the only nomination for the job and his confirmation by the 64 lawmakers, known as the Labour caucus, is largely a formality.

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Hipkins said on Saturday that he had the support of his colleagues to take on the job.

In a surprise announcement on Thursday, Ardern said she had “no more in the tank” to lead the country and would step down.

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First elected to parliament for the Labour Party in 2008, Hipkins became a household name fronting the government’s response to the pandemic. He was appointed health minister in July 2020 before becoming the COVID response minister at the end of the year.

Hipkins is holding a press conference following his confirmation as leader and there he is expected to announce a new Deputy Prime Minister. Hipkins said on Saturday that Grant Robertson, who is currently Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister, is likely to hold onto the job of Finance Minister.

Before Hipkins officially becomes prime minister, Ardern must tender her resignation to King Charles III’s representative in New Zealand, Governor General Cindy Kiro. Following that Kiro would appoint Hipkins to the role and he will be sworn in. (Reporting by Lucy Craymer; Editing by David Gregorio)

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