Chris Hipkins


Following Jacinda Ardern’s resignation in January 2023 – nine months before that year’s general election was to be held – Chris Hipkins was the sole nominee to succeed her as Labour Party leader and Prime Minister. Nicknamed ‘Chippy’, he became the first Wellington electorate MP to serve as PM since Jack Marshall in 1972.

Born in Hutt Valley, Hipkins attended Victoria University of Wellington, where he was active in student politics (and was arrested during a 1997 protest at Parliament). He later worked in the parliamentary offices of Trevor Mallard and Helen Clark before entering Parliament in 2008 as the member for Rimutaka (now Remutaka).

He served as Labour’s chief whip while in opposition and when Ardern’s Labour-led government took office in 2017 he became Minister of Education and Leader of the House – two roles he would retain until January 2023.

Hipkins’ public profile rose considerably during the COVID-19 pandemic when he served as interim Minister of Health (2020) and then minister responsible for the COVID-19 response (2020–22). In June 2022 he relinquished the latter role to become Minister of Police.

Hipkins was unable to prevent Labour from defeat in the 2023 election, when its party vote slumped to 27% and National assumed power in coalition with ACT and New Zealand First.

By Neill Atkinson

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