Timeline of Chris Hipkins' political career

Chris Hipkins is set to be New Zealand's newest Prime Minister after Jacinda Ardern announced her resignation.

Just two days following Ardern's decision to step down from the top job, Hipkins has emerged as Labour's sole nominee for the party leadership.

Hipkins, 44, nicknamed "Chippy" and dubbed as the party's "Mr Fix It" is an experienced senior Labour MP taking on significant portfolios - Education, Health, COVID-19 response and Police.

Below is a timeline of his career:

September 5, 1978 - Christopher John Hipkins is born in the Hutt Valley

1996 - Hipkins was head boy at Hutt Valley Memorial College, later known as Petone College. He went on to complete a Bachelor of Arts degree majoring in politics and criminology at Victoria University of Wellington, where he was student president

September 1997 - During his first year of university, Hipkins was one of 41 protesters arrested while protesting the Tertiary Review Green Bill at Parliament. Ten years later a judge ruled there were no grounds for the arrests

2008 - After working as an oil and gas industry trainer, policy manager and parliamentary advisor to Trevor Mallard and Helen Clark, Hipkins entered Parliament the same year as Jacinda Ardern. He replaced retiring MP Paul Swain in the Remutaka seat and was appointed Labour's, who was the Opposition at the time, spokesperson for Internal Affairs

Hipkins entered Parliament the same year as Jacinda Ardern.
Hipkins entered Parliament the same year as Jacinda Ardern. Photo credit: Getty Images

2011 - Hipkins maintained his seat in Parliament and became the Labour Party's chief whip. He also held the State Services and Associate Education spokesperson roles

October 2017 - Labour forms a Coalition Government with New Zealand First. Hipkins became the Minister of Education

February 2019 - Hipkins announces the merger of New Zealand's 16 polytechnics

July 2020 -  David Clark resigns as Health Minister and Hipkins is appointed Interim Health Minister

Hipkins was the minister for COVID-19 Response.
Hipkins was the minister for COVID-19 Response. Photo credit: Getty Images

October 2020 - Labour wins the general election with 65 seats. In early November, Hipkins retains his portfolio as Minister of Education and is also designated as Minister for COVID-19 Response and Minister for the Public Service

August 2021 - A slip of the tongue during a COVID-19 press conference sees Hipkins become the centre of a meme after encouraging the public to "spread their legs"

January 2022 - The country's COVID-19 quarantine system comes under fire after New Zealand journalist Charlotte Bellis, who was pregnant and unmarried, had to seek safe haven from the Taliban in Afghanistan after being unable to return to NZ. Hipkins was criticised for publicly sharing personal information about Bellis without consent, which he later apologised for

February 2022 - Hipkins makes waves on social media after becoming possibly the first Parliament member to respond to a written question with a meme. He responded with "please refer attached" and included a PDF file with a popular meme showing two images of Spider-Man pointing at each other.

June 2022 - A portfolio reshuffle saw Hipkins shift from his COVID-19 Response and replace Poto Williams as Minister of Police. Ayesha Verrall took over as COVID-19 Response Minister

September 2022 - Hipkins apologised to former Finance Minister Bill English for suggesting he had granted his brothers favourable Government contracts

January 2023 - Jacinda Ardern announces her resignation as Prime Minister. Two days later, Hipkins emerges as the sole nominee for the Labour Party leadership and is therefore positioned to become New Zealand's next Prime Minister.