Jacinda Ardern's replacement wanted even TOUGHER Covid lockdowns as he admits to making 'mistakes'

Chris Hipkins was a key component of New Zealand's Covid response
Chris Hipkins was a key component of New Zealand's Covid response

The man poised to take over as New Zealand’s next prime minister, Chris Hipkins, emerged as the New Zealand Labour Party’s sole contender to replace Ardern

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Jacinda Ardern’s replacement played a vital role in the closed-border crackdown on Covid-19.

The man poised to take over as New Zealand’s next prime minister, Chris Hipkins, emerged as the New Zealand Labour Party’s sole contender to replace Ardern following her shock resignation.

Hipkins made his name as the Covid response minister in a country that only fully reopened its borders in August last year following the decision to shut its borders during the pandemic.

He has since admitted that procedures were “tough going” and people growing tired of the restrictions played a vital role in the decision to ease them.

"Hopefully New Zealanders know me as someone who is up front, doesn't mind admitting when they've made a mistake and can laugh at themselves," he told reporters after being selected.

The 44-year-old has been police minister since June last year, a vital role in the country due to its record on crime.

He told reporters outside parliament in Wellington: “I think I am relatively upfront, I’m relatively inclusive.

“People won’t die wondering what I think.

“It’s a big day for a boy from the Hutt,” he said in reference to the Hutt Valley region near the capital city.

“My parents came from relatively humble beginnings and worked really hard to provide a good life for my brother and I.”

While known as a personable character, Hipkins has been involved in some controversies, some including Australia’s former conservative government.

He accused Australia of “exporting its garbage” to New Zealand in 2021, a reference to Canberra’s policy of deporting criminals back to their country of birth.

Hipkins was admonished in 2017 by Ardern after he was accused of playing a role in a dual citizenship scandal in Australian parliament.