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Business News/ News / World/  'Even Jesus had people who didn't like him', Jacinda Ardern bows out of politics
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'Even Jesus had people who didn't like him', Jacinda Ardern bows out of politics

Ardern bowed out of parliament on April 5, making an impassioned plea during her tearful final speech to 'please take the politics out of climate change'

 Outgoing New Zealand prime minister Jacinda Ardern gives a speech in parliament in Wellington (AFP)Premium
Outgoing New Zealand prime minister Jacinda Ardern gives a speech in parliament in Wellington (AFP)

Hailed for her leadership, and her ability to take a country through a tumultous period, former New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, on Thursday in a tearful final address bid adieu to her political career urging urged women not to let motherhood stand in the way of leadership role. 

Jacinda Ardern navigated a pandemic and a mass-shooting during her tumultuous five-year tenure as prime minister. 

Through her tearful address, Ardern added humorous anecdotes like how a European leader so admired the striking hair of Ardern's chief-of-staff that he fluffed it like a hairdresser — which she joked had helped secure a free-trade deal — and how her mother once sent her a uplifting, if somewhat grandiose, message: “Remember, even Jesus had people who didn't like him."

Ardern will be remembered as a crisis manager who led her country through some of its darkest days during her five-year premiership. They included the Christchurch terrorist attack on two mosques in 2019 that left 51 worshippers dead, a volcano eruption later that year that killed 22 people, and the Covid-19 pandemic.

“I leave knowing I was the best mother I could be," Ardern, 42, said in her valedictory speech to parliament Wednesday in Wellington. “You can be that person, and be here."

On a more serious note, she urged lawmakers to take the politics out of climate change.

“There will always be policy differences," Ardern said during her valedictory address, wearing a traditional Maori cloak called a korowai. "But beneath that, we have what we need to make the progress we must."

Young, female and charismatic, Ardern quickly gained prominence as a torch-bearer for liberal values after exploding onto the world stage in 2017.

In 2018 she became just the second world leader to give birth in office, after former Pakistan Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, blazing a trail for working women.

Ardern opened up about her fertility journey in her speech, saying she was told at age 37 that there were a range of factors preventing her becoming pregnant, including stress.

“I had not long experienced a failed IVF round when I became leader of the Labour Party," she said. “I thought I had found myself on a path that meant I wouldn’t be a mother. Imagine my surprise when a couple of months later, I discovered I was pregnant."

When Ardern finished speaking after about 35 minutes, she she was greeted with a standing ovation by lawmakers from across the political spectrum and rousing renditions of several Indigenous Maori songs.

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Published: 07 Apr 2023, 04:08 PM IST
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