Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern confirms Labour MPs to retire, Government to pare back some reforms

The Prime Minister has revealed to Newshub some MPs are set to call it quits and she's looking to scrap some of the Government's reforms next year admitting Labour's tried to do too much and needs to focus. 

In a sitdown interview with Newshub Political Editor Jenna Lynch on Thursday, Jacinda Ardern reflected on the hardest moment of a year she's dubbed challenging. 

 The end of 2022 is near, and boy, its been a hell of a year. Ardern's described it as "challenging". 

What was the most challenging? The Prime Minister can't go past the Parliament protest. 

"I think that was for me one of the most challenging parts of the year. I think if I was picking one that really stands out for me that was incredibly difficult," she said. 

"It was very volatile and obviously we all ultimately saw that it did turn to violence and you could feel that in the lead-up."

She is used to a security detail, but no one at Parliament felt safe.

"I had to do things a bit differently. Seeing that spill over to other people was very upsetting." 

Then came the cost of living crisis, but 2022 was just the beginning. All signs point to next year being even tougher.

"I know there's a lot of anxiety out there about next year but I am absolutely confident, knowing what we know we will get through," Ardern said. 

The Government got through major reforms in health, workplace relations and, on Thursday the controversial Three Waters bill passed.

The Prime Minister conceded they let that conversation spiral to co-governance instead of pipes. 

"What people have heard, I have to acknowledge has been a big departure from what is at the core."

Next year they're taking on even more - agriculture emissions, Income Insurance Scheme, He Puapua and the TVNZ-RNZ merger.

Ardern admitted the Government's got too much on. 

"It's very clear that for 2023 our focus has to be the economic challenges that we have in front of us… so over the summer we will be thinking about areas that we can pare back." 

Asked if he was ready for the TVNZ-RNZ merger to be dropped, Broadcasting Minister Willie Jackson said: "Oh no I don't know what you're talking about. We are absolutely committed to it… 100 percent unless things change. Have you heard something else?"

The Prime Minister said the team's getting a shake-up.

"I've already signalled there will be a reshuffle in the new year. I'll be announcing a handful of retirements next week as well."

She won't say who, but Jackson, Grant Robertson, Carmel Sepuloni, Michael Wood, and Kelvin Davis were among those committing to standing at the election. 

But former Health Minister David Clark looks to be on his bike. 

"I don't have any comment to say on that at all," he said. Any announcements around that will come in due course…I don't have anything to say about that at all… I will look forward to speaking with you at an appropriate time about this."

Ardern is absolutely committed to running - both for Prime Minister and for the Mt Albert seat.

"Yes, I've already signalled to my team that I will be looking for that selection," she said. 

All we need now is a date. The All Blacks calendar always comes into play and next year's Rugby World Cup falls in election season.

But they're not playing on September 23, the same date as the 2017 election. 

Ardern's not announcing anything yet though. You have to leave some presents to open in election year.