New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern makes surprise announcement that she will step down in February

"For me it is time," he declared in a meeting with members of his Labor Party.

Photo: Kerry Marshall/Getty Images

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardernsurprisingly announced that he will leave his post in February.

“I don't have enough (gas) in the tank anymore,” an emotional Ardern said as she announced her upcoming resignation.

The 42-year-old politician explained that her almost 6 "challenging" years in office had taken their toll on her and he does not see himself with the strength to stand in the general elections to be held in October in his country.

Ardern's last day as prime minister will be February 7.

There will be a vote in the coming days to determine his replacement as leader of the New Zealand Labor Party.

“It would hurt New Zealand if it continued”

The Oceanian country will hold a general election on October 14.

Ardern said she had taken time to consider her future during the southern summer vacation.

“I was hoping to find what I needed to continue through that period, but unfortunately I haven't. It would be doing a disservice to New Zealand if it continued,” he told reporters.

jacinda ardern

Getty Images
Jacinda Ardern made the announcement at a meeting of her party on Thursday.

Politics became the world's youngest head of government when she was elected prime minister in 2017 at 37 years old.

He has led New Zealand through difficult times, such as the covid-19 pandemic, the shooting at a Christchurch mosque, or a volcanic eruption on White Island.

"It's one thing to lead your country in times of peace, and another to guide them through a crisis," he said.

These events… have been exhausting due to the weight, its great weight and its nature. There was never a moment where it felt like we were just ruling."

Jacinda Ardern and Clarke Gayford

Ardern was accompanied by her husband, Clarke Gayford, in making the announcement.

His popularity in New Zealand has dipped to new lows in recent months, according the surveys.

But Ardern said he is not resigning because he does not believe Labor cannot win the election, but because he believes they do have a chance.

“We need a new set of shoulders for that challenge,” he said.

Following the announcement, Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese paid tribute to Adern.

“Jacinda has been a fierce supporter of New Zealand, an inspiration to many and a great friend to me,” she wrote on Twitter.

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