New Zealand Election: Jacinda Ardern Officially Sworn In As Prime Minister
Jacinda Ardern has been sworn in as Prime Minister of New Zealand and says she will lead a government that is active, focused, empathetic and strong.
Ms Ardern and other senior members of the new Government attended the ceremony, taking their oaths in Wellington.
Her swearing-in came more than a month after New Zealand took to the polls in an inconclusive vote on September 23.
“I want to start by saying it is an enormous privilege and an honour to stand with these wonderful people here in front of you today, in front of your house with your government,” Ms Ardern told the crowd.
“I want to put emphasis on the word ‘your’ government.”
At 37 years old, Ms Ardern is New Zealand’s youngest leader in more than 150 years and its third female prime minister.
She became Labour leader only weeks before the election, leading to a dramatic spike in polling and what many dubbed ‘Jacindamania’.
She will lead a three-party government; an official coalition formed with the nationalist New Zealand First Party, and a confidence and supply agreement with the left-leaning Greens.
New Zealand’s new government will take office next week, and we can expect to see slashed immigration and a referendum on legalising marijuana.
Her Labour Party won fewer votes than the conservative National Party, but after nearly a month of talks, New Zealand First leader Winston Peters gave them the seats to take power.
Mr Peters will serve as Deputy Prime Minister and take care of the foreign affairs portfolio, a position he held in previous coalition governments.
Ms Ardern told the swearing-in she understood not everyone voted for her but she vowed to be a leader for everyone.
“This will be a government for all New Zealanders,” she said.
The new coalition has already outlined several key items on its policy agenda, including renewable energy targets, a minimum wage hike and a drop in immigration numbers.
The National Party won the previous three elections and finished with the most votes but now finds itself on the opposition benches.