Jacinda Ardern says she has no plans to step down anytime soon, amid speculation from the Opposition she won't be Prime Minister for too much longer.
National MP Simon Bridges on Friday told The AM Show he believed Ardern was "around for a good time, not necessarily a really long time", and would soon be replaced by her deputy, Grant Robertson.
Ardern's party Labour this weekend is voting on potential new rules which would make it easier to replace the leader with a simple caucus vote, rather than having to put it to the wider party membership and affiliated unions.
"I think it's very interesting that they are doing this," said Bridges. "It does say to you and me and I think probably New Zealanders quite clearly that Jacinda Ardern is around for a good time, not necessarily a really long time."
He said Robertson - who was the caucus favourite in leadership votes in 2013 and 2014, but didn't have backing from the membership and unions - would be rubbing his hands in glee if the motion passes.
"He's had a go two or three times I think before, and he'll have a sense that you know, he is the power behind the throne, behind Ardern, and he'll be wanting his turn…. I do think the fact that they are changing the rules, they're not doing that for no reason. You can bet your bottom dollar Grant Robertson wants those rules changed."
In an interview with Newshub Nation broadcast on Saturday, Ardern said she had "only just been re-elected" for her second term, Newshub political editor Tova O'Brien having to remind her that was over a year ago.
"Time is doing strange things for everyone right now," the Prime Minister laughed.
Ardern faced an unusual number of crises in her first term, including a pandemic, a deadly volcanic eruption and the country's worst-ever terrorist attack - not to mention doing it all while bringing up her first daughter, who was born in 2018.
"You know, regardless of the fact that you can't anticipate what you will come up against in this job, I still consider this to be the greatest privilege of my life," Ardern told O'Brien. "And because, you know, yes, we are in, you know, the biggest health crisis of a generation, frankly going back to 1918, and a significant economic crisis as well, and yet to be the person who is able to steward New Zealand through that time despite the difficulties that it presents, I still consider it an honour."
O'Brien suggested rather than stepping down, Ardern was talking as if she might have at least two more terms in her.
"I'm not stopping. I need to carry us through. It's my job."
Ardern was more than 35 points clear of her closest rival, ACT's David Seymour, in the latest Newshub-Reid Research poll.
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