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Local candidates acknowledge Ardern’s exit

The three declared Wairarapa candidates in October’s general election have paid tribute to Jacinda Ardern, who left Parliament yesterday after more than 14 years as an MP – the past five as prime minister.

“While we obviously differ on politics and the direction of travel, I would still thank Jacinda for her dedication to wanting to serve our country,” said National Party candidate Mike Butterick.

“I would acknowledge that being prime minister is an incredibly challenging job, not just for the person but also for their immediate and extended families.

“I wish Jacinda Ardern and her family all the best for the future in whatever may come next.”

For her part, Green Party candidate Celia Wade-Brown paid tribute to Ardern’s “decisive and tireless leadership of our country through unprecedented challenges,” and noted how she “suffered vitriolic attacks with dignity”.

“Jacinda Ardern’s empathy and compassion in crises, her determination to make progress towards a fairer and safer country, and her leadership of two governments deserves admiration. She helped us avoid many deaths from covid.”

Wade-Brown said Ardern “fostered a constructive working relationship between her party and the Greens”, and declared herself “proud of everything we have achieved together in government over the past five years” – although she did also express disappointment about “the Government’s slow progress on climate action” and other environmental initiatives.

Wairarapa MP Kieran McAnulty, meanwhile, noted Ardern’s “leadership, courage and kindness as prime minister has been recognised around the world, and that “she has opened more doors for New Zealand than any other leader has before”.

Ardern’s ability to be a “strong leader while being down to earth and keeping her sense of humour”, was well illustrated by her stint campaigning for him in the region, McAnulty said.

“She joined me in my 2020 election campaign trail in my not-so-glamorous 1997 Mazda ute for a tiki tour around Wairarapa. She answered a call from my mum and took the many leaks and lack of aircon in good humour.

“She has been a great boss, good friend and inspiring leader through some of New Zealand’s most difficult times. Our country is a better place due to her,” McAnulty said.

“I wish her and her family nothing but success and happiness. She deserves it.”

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