JACINDA Ardern is the 40th and current Prime Minister of New Zealand and is also the youngest female head of government in the world.
But when did she take office and what did she say about the recent terror attacks on mosques? Here’s everything you need to know.
Who is Jacinda Ardern?
Jacinda Kate Laurell Ardern was born on 26 July 1980 in Hamilton, New Zealand, the daughter of a police officer and a school catering assistant.
She joined New Zealand’s Labour Party and became an active member in the Young Labour movement at an early stage in her life.
When she graduated from the University of Waikato with a degree in politics and public relations, Ardern moved to London to work as a senior policy adviser to Tony Blair.
She returned to New Zealand to become the youngest MP in its parliament in 2008 where she quickly rose through the ranks to become leader of the opposition by August 2017.
Although the National party won the highest share of the vote in the 2017 general election, it did not have enough seats to govern alone.
Instead, a coalition was established between New Zealand First and the Labour Party, naming Jacinda Ardern Prime Minister on October 26, 2017.
She is the third female prime minister of New Zealand and in June 2018 she became the second elected head of government in history to give birth while in office.
Ardern’s political views have been described as progressive, social democratic and feminist.
Although she was raised a Mormon, she left the church in 2005 because it conflicted with her support for gay rights.
Ardern has been in a relationship with broadcaster Clarke Gayford since 2013, but the couple are not married.
What did she say about the terrorist attacks?
On March 15, white supremacist Brenton Tarrant, 28, stormed two mosques in Christchurch and massacred defenceless Muslim worshippers inside.
So far 50 people have died as a result of the attack and a further 50 were wounded in the rampage — part of which was livestreamed on Facebook.
Speaking shortly after the shooting, Ardern said: “I’m advised that there were five guns used by the primary perpetrator.
“There were two semiautomatic weapons and two shotguns.
“The offender was in possession of a gun licence — I’m advised this was acquired in November of 2017.
“A lever-action firearm was also found.
“While work is being done as to the chain of events that led to both the holding of this gun licence and the possession of these weapons, I can tell you one thing right now: our gun laws will change.”
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She added: “Now is the time for change”.
Ardern separately said: “This is not the New Zealand that any of us know.”
She summarised the attacks as: “one of New Zealand’s darkest days”.
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