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New Zealand's Jacinda Ardern leaves parliament

MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

A worrier - that is how former New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern described herself in a farewell speech today.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

JACINDA ARDERN: Some might say the worst possible character trait to have as a politician, or the best depending on how you cut it.

KELLY: Her message - you can be anxious, sensitive and kind and be an effective leader.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

ARDERN: And not only can you be here, you can lead just like me.

ADRIAN FLORIDO, HOST:

Ardern stepped down as prime minister earlier this year, but remained a member of Parliament. Now she says goodbye to the chamber and to politics.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

ARDERN: I've always believed this to be a place where you can make a difference. I leave knowing that to be true.

FLORIDO: Ardern joined the New Zealand House of Representatives 15 years ago when she was just 28 years old. At the time, she was its youngest member.

KELLY: In today's speech, she touted her wins and losses over the years, like the crises she oversaw - a domestic terror attack, a volcanic eruption, a pandemic.

FLORIDO: And she made a point to talk about one issue in particular.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

ARDERN: Climate change is a crisis. It is upon us. And so one of the very few things I will ask of this House on my departure is that you please take the politics out of climate change.

FLORIDO: Ardern also touched on her struggle to conceive a child.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

ARDERN: I had not long experienced a failed IVF round when I became leader of the Labour Party. I thought that I had found myself on a path that meant I wouldn't be a mother. Rather than process that, I campaigned to become prime minister...

(LAUGHTER)

ARDERN: ...A rather good distraction as far as they go. Imagine my surprise when a couple of months later I discovered I was pregnant.

KELLY: Ardern made history when she brought baby Neve to the U.N. General Assembly 3 months after birth. So it was only fitting that Neve, who is now 4 years old, was in the public galleries watching and listening to her mom's farewell to politics.

(SOUNDBITE OF 6LACK'S SONG, "TALKBACK") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Alejandra Marquez Janse
Alejandra Marquez Janse is a producer for NPR's evening news program All Things Considered. She was part of a team that traveled to Uvalde, Texas, months after the mass shooting at Robb Elementary to cover its impact on the community. She also helped script and produce NPR's first bilingual special coverage of the State of the Union – broadcast in Spanish and English.
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