New Zealand’s next PM led Covid crackdown

POISED to be New Zealand’s next prime minister, Chris Hipkins became a household name leading the nation’s closed-border crackdown on Covid-19 and is seen as a “tough and capable” politician.
The 44-year-old police and education minister emerged today as his Labour Party’s sole contender to replace Jacinda Ardern following her shock resignation barely 48 hours earlier. He is to be formally endorsed for the job tomorrow.

Hipkins won plaudits for his near two-year term as the Covid response minister in a country that shut its borders to keep the coronavirus out, only fully reopening to the outside world in August last year.