Chris Hopkins has become the next Prime Minister of New Zealand. The road is not going to be easy for Chris Hopkins given the potential economic downturn in an election year.
New Zealand Prime Minister: Chris Hopkins has been sworn in as the new Prime Minister of New Zealand. Former Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern resigned on 19 January. Hopkins of the Labor Party has become the 41st Prime Minister of New Zealand. Prior to this, Hipkins was looking after the work of education, police and public service as a cabinet minister.
Chris Hopkins was first elected as a New Zealand MP in 2008. Hopkins’s work was highly appreciated during the 2020 Corona pandemic. New Zealand became the first country to declare itself corona free. General elections are going to be held in October in this country with a population of 50 lakhs. Former Prime Minister Ardern has made it clear that she will not participate in the upcoming general election.
Who is Chris Hopkins?
The full name of the new Prime Minister of New Zealand, Chris Hopkins, is Christopher John Hopkins, who was born on 5 September 1978 in Hutt Valley. Hipking’s parents were associated with the New Zealand Council for Educational Research. He did his early schooling at Hutt Intermediate and Waterloo Primary School, after which he graduated in Politics and Criminology from Victoria University of Wellington. In 2008, at the age of 29, Hopkins first contested the Remutaka seat on behalf of the Labor Party and reached Parliament. For the first nine years of his parliamentary tenure, Hopkins was the spokesman for the Labor Party and a member of several parliamentary committees related to administration.
Famous during the Corona epidemic
General elections are held in New Zealand every three years. Hipkins has won five consecutive elections from the Remutaka seat from 2008 to 2020. In the Labor Party government from 2017 till now, he had the post of Leader of the House along with the Department of Education, Ministry of Public Service. During the Corona epidemic, Hipkins got additional charge of the Ministry of Health.
During the COVID-19 era, Chris Hipkins was much talked about as a straight forward talking politician. He issued strict advisories to prevent the spread of the Corona epidemic in New Zealand, which included closing the border. However, Hopkins also had to face criticism because of this.
Relations with China will have to be improved
For the newly elected Prime Minister of New Zealand, Chris Hopkins, the biggest challenge is to improve relations with China. China has been New Zealand’s largest trading partner. Every year China imports goods worth 20 billion dollars i.e. 1.6 lakh crore rupees from New Zealand. China buys cheese, meat and wood from New Zealand every year. In return, electronics products, clothes and machinery worth $15 billion i.e. Rs 1.2 lakh crore are exported from China every year. Relations between China and New Zealand soured after the Corona epidemic, after which trade relations with China deteriorated.
Chris Hopkins has appointed Labor Minister Carmel Sepuloni as his second in command and the country’s first deputy prime minister. The appointment of Carmel as Deputy Prime Minister is part of Hopkins’ strategy of political balancing. His goal is to get New Zealand out of a possible economic downturn by restarting business with China and ending the country’s economic woes.
Rising inflation will have to be controlled
The unemployment rate in New Zealand is 3.3 percent, but the inflation rate has reached 7.2 percent. The Reserve Bank of New Zealand has increased the benchmark interest rate to 4.25 percent in view of a possible economic slowdown, so that inflation can be controlled. Getting the country’s economy back on track will be the biggest challenge for Hopkins in this election year.
Leading the Labor Party to victory in the general election eight months later is one of the biggest challenges for Hopkins. The ruling Labor Party is seen lagging behind the main opposition National Party in opinion polls held recently. After being elected Prime Minister, Hopkins said in a press conference that his first goal would be to end the bread and butter problem ie the economic problem in front of the people of the country. Not only this, Hopkins told that visiting China is also included in his priority list.
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Story first published: Thursday, January 26, 2023, 10:35 [IST]