This Article is From Jan 21, 2023

5 Points On Chris Hipkins, New Zealand's Next PM

Chris Hipkins, who is tipped to become the next PM of New Zealand, rose to fame as the man in charge of country's COVID-19 closed-border crackdown.

5 Points On Chris Hipkins, New Zealand's Next PM

Chris Hipkins is set to become New Zealand's prime minister.

  1. Known as "Chippy", the former COVID minister is a close ally of Jacinda Ardern. Hipkins, 44, expected to succeed Ardern as Labour leader on Sunday after no other candidates emerged, faces a stern test upon taking power, with Labour trailing the opposition in opinion polls and the country expected to fall into recession next quarter before a general election on October 14.
  2. First elected to parliament in 2008, Hipkins became a household name fronting the government's response to the pandemic. He was appointed health minister in July 2020 before becoming the COVID response minister at the end of the year.
  3. Under Ardern's "go hard, go early" approach to COVID, the island nation of 5 million was among the first to close borders.
  4. Hipkins, who describes himself as an "outdoor enthusiast" keen on mountain biking, hiking and swimming, studied politics and criminology at Victoria University and then worked in the industry training sector.
  5. Before becoming an MP, he worked as a senior adviser to two education ministers and former prime minister Helen Clark. In 2021, he accused Australia of "exporting its garbage" to New Zealand -- a reference to Canberra's controversial policy of deporting criminals back to their country of birth.