Analysis: Could Jacinda Ardern be destined for the United Nations, and what are her chances?

ANALYSIS: It's barely 24 hours since the Prime Minister shocked the country by announcing her resignation, but speculation is already mounting as to Jacinda Ardern's next move with some suggesting it could be to the United Nations in New York.

Officially, Ardern has no role to go to and may well take a considerable break after what even opposition supporters will admit has been a grueling premiership that included both the Christchurch massacre and the White Island eruption.

There is little doubt a case could be made for Ardern to follow in the footsteps of Helen Clark and look for a leadership position at the UN, the international body headquartered minutes from the landmark Grand Central Station in midtown New York. 

Ardern's ability to navigate through crises while maintaining popularity could be a valuable asset to the UN.

CNN's UN reporter Richard Roth suggests Ardern has the credentials for the top job.

"Any government leader who has held the reins of power, especially at the top, all of that has to be a benefit to any candidacy to be the UN Secretary-General," he said.

Clark led the UN's development programme for eight years, but her bid to become Secretary-General failed in 2016 when three of the permanent members of the Security Council voted against her - effectively vetoing her selection.

Roth can see Ardern facing similar challenges to what Clark encountered, with the added difficulties presented by Russia and China's role on the UN Security Council.

"[The UN] have a very hard time of course at picking a woman, we've never had a woman in the 77 year history of the UN, so that could be a tough road," Roth added. "It all comes down to the big five permanent members of the UN Security Council, if one of them objects there is no chance for her. I do not know her current state of relations with Russia or China."

If Secretary-General isn't for Ardern, Roth suggested she could be suited to another powerful role at the UN - or even in an ambassadorial role for New Zealand.

Ardern's relationship with current UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres is a positive one that has seemed to develop during their respective terms in office, and may help her chances if she wanted to secure a major role. Guterres jetted to New Zealand after the mosque attack, and Ardern met with him on two occasions last year.

Jacinda Ardern and Guterres.
Jacinda Ardern and Guterres. Photo credit: File

Ardern is seen generally as a popular figure in the US and her resignation has seen many powerful figures including the President wish her well via Twitter. The UN "women" account, with 2.2 million followers, also paid tribute to Ardern's role on the world stage.

It could be months or years before Ardern decides what comes next. As she pointed out on Thursday, she has Neve's first day of school coming up and a wedding to plan, so right now family life in New Zealand might seem more enticing than the hustle and bustle of New York City.

But when you consider the respect Ardern seemingly has from the international community it's likely that, if she wanted a job at the UN in New York or elsewhere on the world stage, it could be hers for the taking.

Mitch McCann is Newshub's US correspondent.