Factbox-New Zealand’s new Prime Minister Chris Hipkins
By Lucy Craymer
(Reuters) – Chris Hipkins is New Zealand’s 41st prime minister, following the surprise resignation of the charismatic Jacinda Ardern.
Hipkins was elected by the 64 Labour lawmakers to lead the governing Labour party before being sworn in by King Charles III’s representative, Governor General Cindy Kiro.
Here are five facts on Hipkin’s life and career:
– Hipkins, who grew up in the Hutt Valley north of the capital Wellington, said his “parents came from relatively humble beginnings and worked really hard to provide a good life” for him and his brother. He has committed to make sure Kiwis who want to work hard are able to get ahead. His focus since becoming leader has been on “bread and butter issues” such as the cost of living.
– Hipkins was a troubleshooter in Ardern’s government and was often brought in by her when other cabinet colleagues were struggling with their portfolios. Prior to becoming prime minister he was both minister of education and police. However, it was his role as first health minister and COVID-19 response minister during the pandemic that made him a household name in New Zealand.
– Known as “Chippy”, the 44-year-old worked for former Prime Minister Helen Clark before being elected to parliament in 2008. However, his political roots date back to his high school years where he was filmed wearing a Labour Party rosette in an election documentary.
– Hipkins is known around parliament for his sense of humour – including an ability to laugh at himself. An outdoor enthusiast and keen cyclist, Hipkins on occasion commutes to the capital Wellington by bicycle from his home in an adjoining city. Separated from his wife, he has two young children who he said he intends to keep out of public life.
(Reporting by Lucy Craymer; Editing by Lincoln Feast.)