05 Jun 2023, 14:31

New Zealand gives former PM Ardern title of dame

  SYDNEY, June 5, 2023 (BSS/AFP) - New Zealand honoured former prime minister

Jacinda Ardern with the title of dame on Monday, citing her leadership after
the 2019 Christchurch mosque massacre and during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Ardern, 42, shocked New Zealand in January when she announced she was
stepping down as prime minister and retiring from politics, saying she no
longer had "enough in the tank".

Her successor, Prime Minister Chris Hipkins, said Ardern had been named a
dame in the King's Birthday and Coronation Honours List.

King Charles III, who was ceremonially crowned on May 6, is also head of
state in New Zealand.

"Having served as prime minister from 2017 to 2023, Dame Jacinda Ardern is
recognised for her service to New Zealand during some of the greatest
challenges our country has faced in modern times," Hipkins said.

"Leading New Zealand's response to the 2019 terrorist attacks and to the
Covid-19 pandemic represented periods of intense challenge for our 40th prime
minister, during which time I saw first-hand that her commitment to New
Zealand remained absolute."

Ardern said she had been in "two minds" about accepting the honour because so
much of her work was a "collective experience" of all New Zealanders.

First elected as prime minister in 2017, Ardern won international acclaim for
her empathetic handling of the 2019 Christchurch mosque massacre, in which 51
Muslim worshippers were killed and another 40 wounded.

She rode a wave of "Jacindamania" to win a second term in 2020 but her
centre-left government struggled in its final months as it battled soaring
inflation and a housing affordability crisis.

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