February 9, 2023

Her response to the Christchurch atrocity is emblematic of the leader she so admired.

I will always carry in my mind that image of Jacinda in a headscarf, offering the embrace of a nation to a community ravaged by pain and fear. When that community was brought down so terribly, he reached up and brought people together. Unfortunately, as we have seen very clearly, that is not the instinct of all leaders around the world, but it has been emphatically every step of Jacinda’s way.

Jacinda Ardern helped her nation heal after the Christchurch massacre.Credit:jason south

Jacinda Ardern has been the very embodiment of the common ground where nations find their greatest cohesion and strength.

But Jacinda’s gift and her extraordinary qualities as a leader stemmed from more than knowing the right gesture at the right time or finding the right words in the right tone. She combined all of this with action, a determined pursuit of justice and gun reforms to keep New Zealanders safe.

We saw it in response to the shocking loss of life, including 17 Australians, in the White Island disaster.

Charging

And we also saw it in your determination to tackle the growing problem of climate change, especially the very real threat it poses to our Pacific neighbors.

Australia and New Zealand are family. Our relationship is one that transcends leaders and personal ties, and I look forward to the next chapter of our cooperation, with the next Prime Minister of New Zealand.

The history of friendship between our two countries is strong and permanent. However, we have reached the end of a chapter.

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Even the way Jacinda has closed it has been a demonstration of her qualities. A model of modern leadership, having given his all, will depart on his own terms, with deep humility, with hope for the future of his nation, and with the grace he displayed throughout his time in office.

Not many leaders can do that.

From Prime Minister to Prime Minister, from friend to friend, I wish Jacinda and her family the best in the next phase of their lives. When he leaves office, he will leave with my admiration and gratitude.

Australia is losing a friend and the world stage is losing a class act, but their legacy will continue. May his example of goodness and strength continue to shine in a world that really needs it.

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