Jacinda Ardern, 37, finds out she is New Zealand’s prime minister from TV as kingmaker says ‘voters deserved to know first’

20 Oct

Jacinda Ardern, the  charismatic leader of New Zealand’s Labour Party and a former advisor to Tony Blair, will become the country’s youngest prime minister in more than 150 years after the maverick head of a small anti-immigration party praised her “extraordinary talent” and announced his bombshell decision to back her.

Following weeks of political wrangling to form a majority coalition, Ms Ardern, 37, finally learnt that she had the support of the NZ First party while watching on television as the unpredictable “kingmaker” MP Winston Peters, who leads the small party, announced his decision.

Mr Peters, a 72-year-old eccentric populist, had effectively left the nation in limbo during weeks of negotiations following the September 23 election but admitted that he only made his decision some 15 minutes before revealing it.

Appearing jubilant after  the dramatic announcement by Mr Peters, Ms Ardern pledged to “build a fairer, better New Zealand”.

“This is an exciting day,” she said.

“We will work hard to ensure New Zealand is once again a world leader, a country we can all be proud of.”

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