Singapore PM Lee calls outgoing New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern a steadfast friend

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Singapore (Commonwealth Union)_ Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong expressed shock over the announcement of New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s departure. He called her a steadfast friend to Singapore. Ms. Ardern made the announcement of her retirement on Thursday, stating that she did not have “enough in the tank” to continue serving as Prime Minister for another four years. She will officially hand in her resignation no later than February 7.

According to Mr. Lee’s Facebook post, he had met Ms. Ardern several times, in person, online, and in international forums. He lauded her for her leadership qualities and stated that she has demonstrated enormous commitment and leadership, especially in guiding her country through crises like the Christchurch incident and COVID-19. He added, “PM Ardern and I kept in touch regularly during the pandemic to share experiences and exchange notes, and ensure that supply lines stayed open between our countries.”

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Mr. Lee also recalled Ms. Ardern’s first official visit to Singapore in 2019, during which the two nations enhanced their strong connections by establishing the SG-NZ Enhanced Partnership. He continued, “We didn’t meet face-to-face for two years after that because of the pandemic, but last April, as we started to re-open borders, she visited again, and we expanded the EP to include cooperation in climate change and the green economy”. He also complimented Ms. Ardern for her strong cooperation, support, and good humor.

Further, Mr. Lee whole-heartedly wished her with a Maori phrase for “see you later”. He said, “She is an inspiration to many, and I wish her and her family all the best! Mā te wā!”. On October 14, New Zealand will elect its new prime minister in a general election. Ms. Ardern stated that she will remain an electorate MP until then. On Sunday, her Labor Party is electing a new prime minister who will serve until the next election.

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