Former Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern's final speech makes global headlines

  • 06/04/2023

Former Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern's final speech to Parliament has made headlines across the world overnight, with media outlets noting her comments on climate change and motherhood.

Ardern delivered her valedictory address on Wednesday evening, capping off nearly 15 years as an MP, the last five as the Prime Minister. 

During her emotional speech, Ardern spoke about needing to "take the politics out of climate change", the work her Government did on child poverty and working with Māori, the various disasters she led New Zealand through, as well as her journey to being a mother. 

Across the ditch in Australia, the Sydney Morning Herald reported on the speech by using Australian Associated Press (AAP) copy. 

"'Tired' Ardern exits politics with look back at maiden speech, IVF and climate fight," was how the SMH headlined its piece.

The story noted Ardern had been "tearful" during the valedictory speech, which was watched by "former prime ministers and other luminaries". 

The ABC's AFP copy said Ardern had ended her career "marked by empathetic leadership during times of crisis even as she faced escalating abuse online".

It also noted that Ardern had spent much of her speech on climate change.

The Daily Mail Australia said, "Goodbye, Jacinda Ardern", in its headline. 

"Former New Zealand Prime Minister delivers emotional final speech to country's parliament as she bows out of politics following shock resignation"

In the United Kingdom, the BBC published a short clip from the end of what it said was "Ardern's emotional last speech". 

"I cannot determine what will define my time in this place. But I do hope I have demonstrated something else entirely. That you can be anxious, sensitive, kind and wear your heart on your sleeve," Ardern said. 

"You can be a mother, or not, an ex-Mormon, or not, a nerd, a crier, a hugger – you can be all of these things, and not only can you be here – you can lead. Just like me."

The Guardian published the full transcript of Ardern's speech, saying that she "touches on the pandemic, the Christchurch massacre and what it means to be [a] leader in final address".

Sky News reported that Ardern got a standing ovation, which most former Prime Ministers do when they leave Parliament. 

"During her 35-minute speech, she talked about her time dealing with the pandemic and a mass shooting, as well as rattling off humorous anecdotes and emotional testimony about her tenure as New Zealand's prime minister."

The Associated Press said Ardern "described in emotional terms how she'd navigated a pandemic and a mass-shooting during her tumultuous five-year tenure as prime minister".

It said her speech included "humorous anecdotes" like how a European leader admired her Chief of Staff Raj Nahna's hair. 

"On a more serious note, she urged lawmakers to take the politics out of climate change."

Reuters posted a clip of the speech, reporting that Ardern had been wearing a "traditional Māori cloak [a korowai] given to her during her time as a leader".

Among the many other overseas outlets that reported on the speech were the Washington Post, the New York Times, Bloomberg and the Times.