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Jacinda Ardern Resigns as New Zealand PM, Lockdown Fanatic Chris Hipkins Takes her Place



Education Minister Chris Hipkins is set to become New Zealand’s next prime minister after emerging as the only candidate Saturday to replace Jacinda Ardern.


Hipkins still needs the endorsement from his Labour Party colleagues, but that’s believed to be a formality at this point. He’d have just over eight months in the role until the next general election.


“It’s a big day for a boy from the Hutt,” Hipkins said, referring to the Hutt Valley near Wellington where he grew up. “I’m really humbled and really proud to be taking this on. It is the biggest responsibility and the biggest privilege of my life.”


Hipkins became well-known during the COVID pandemic when he emerged as an authoritarian crisis manager for New Zealand’s government.


Here he is in July 2021 warning that the government will start tracking down individuals who haven’t “come forward” to take the COVID jab.


“I think early next year we’ll be in the phase of chasing out people who haven’t come forward to get their vaccination, or missed their bookings and so on,” Hipkins told reporters.


Hipkins asserted the government will essentially hunt down unvaccinated individuals, claiming normal “human behavior” suggests many people won’t willingly take the mRNA vaccine.


“So everyone will be able to get a vaccine between now and the end of the year. Of course, I want every New Zealander to come forward, but human behavior suggests that there will be some people that we actually have to really go out and look for, and some of that may spill into next year,” Hipkins said.


“But, our commitment is everyone will have the opportunity to get the vaccine by the end of the year,” Hipkins continued, adding that, in fact, “everyone WILL” get the vaccine.


Unsurprisingly, Hipkins is keeping tight-lipped about his policy vision until he becomes leader.


“I’m gonna avoid comment on positions or policy today. I’m not commenting on those things today. The process isn’t yet finished,” he said.


Ardern, a World Economic Forum acolyte who became an international icon of the left during COVID, announced Wednesday she was stepping down as prime minister on Feb. 7 following massive backlash and record disapproval of her extreme lockdown and vaccine policies.


“I know what this job takes, and I know that I no longer have enough in the tank to do it justice. It is that simple,” she said.


Though Hipkins is considered more centrist than Ardern, it’s unlikely his approach will deviate too much away from New Zealand’s radical COVID policies.


When asked in 2022 if he regretted the government imposing lockdowns for too long, Hipkins admitted citizens “paid a big price.”


“I think there were probably some areas where we could have moved more quickly to step down some restrictions,” he said.


“I think that lockdown in Auckland at the end of 2021…I think nerves were pretty frayed by that and we should acknowledge that. Aucklanders paid a big price for our ongoing suppression of Delta while we got our vaccination rates up.”



Source: EU Times

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