To be a Dame Grand Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit:
ARDERN, The Right Honourable Jacinda Kate Laurell
For services to the State
The Right Honourable Jacinda Ardern was the 40th Prime Minister of New Zealand from September 2017 until stepping down in January 2023.
Ms Ardern was the Member of Parliament for Mount Albert from January 2017 until April 2023. She led the New Zealand Labour Party from August 2017, the Party’s youngest leader at age 37. As Prime Minister she led New Zealand’s response to the 2019 Christchurch terrorist attacks, leading Parliament to ban most semiautomatic weapons and assault rifles within a month of the attack. Following the global spread of COVID-19, she led New Zealand’s response from March 2020 through mitigation frameworks and accelerated vaccination efforts, positioning New Zealand as having one of the lowest COVID-19 related death rates in the Western world. With a focus on reduction of child poverty in New Zealand, she established the Families Package in 2018, consisting of an increase to parental leave to 26 weeks, a universal $60 per week BestStart payment for low and middle-income families and increases to the Family Tax Credit, Orphans Benefit, Accommodation Supplement and Foster Care Allowance. She introduced The Child Poverty Reduction Act, requiring reporting on progress or lack thereof, on child poverty nationally and the introduction of the Healthy School Lunches programme, which provides approximately one million school lunches each week. Ms Ardern was named top of Fortune Magazine’s World’s 50 Greatest Leaders in 2021.