Why you WON’T be seeing new Kiwi PM’s wife by his side – as he reveals devastating development in his personal life before he took the job
- New Kiwi leader Chris Hipkins is separated from wife
- Mr Hipkins pleaded for privacy for wife and two kids
- New Labour leader to take over from Jacinda Ardern
New Zealand‘s incoming prime minister Chris Hipkins has revealed the private pain of his marriage breakdown while pleading with the media for privacy.
Mr Hipkins, 44, was anointed as the successor to Jacinda Ardern on Sunday after the ruling Labor party’s MPs unanimously elected him as their new leader.
Speaking to Kiwi media afterwards Mr Hipkins revealed that he and his wife, Jade, had been living separately for about a year.
The incoming New Zealand Prime Minister Chris Hipkins has revealed he has separated from his wife
The couple, who married in 2020, have two children, a six-year-old son and a four-year-old daughter.
Mr Hipkins said the decision to live separately had been ‘in the best interest of our family’.
He made a heart-felt plea to the media and public to respect his family’s privacy
‘As a member of Parliament and as a public figure, I’ve worked really hard in the time that I’ve been in politics to keep my family out of the public limelight,’ Mr Hipkins said.
‘I want [my children] to grow up with a typical, Kiwi-kid life.
Mr Hipkins split from wife Jade (pictured right) had been a source of rumour in Wellington
‘I want them to be able to make mistakes, I want them to be able to learn and to grow without five million people looking over their shoulder, so I intend to keep them out of the public limelight.’
‘I know that putting my name forward to be a minister, to be an MP, to be the Prime Minister, I make myself public property. I absolutely accept that, but my family aren’t and I ask that people do respect that.’
Mr Hipkins acknowledged that the split had been widely rumoured in the Kiwi captial of Wellington.
He said the pressures of political life could be very hard for a family to bear.
‘Being a politician’s partner and a minister’s partner, when you’re in the public spotlight as I have been, particularly during the Covid response, it’s bloody hard,’ he said.
‘Families come under an enormous amount of pressure.’
‘A year ago, my wife and I made the decision that we would live separately, that we would do everything we can to raise our children together.
‘We remain incredibly close, she’s still my best friend, but we have made that decision in the best interest of our family.’
Outgoing New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern (pictured right) had special messages for her partner Clarke Gayford (pictured left) and daughter Neve (centre) in her resignation speech
As the Covid response minister Mr Hipkins was constantly in the public eye during the pandemic and is associated with some of the country’s harsh border and lockdown policies that polarised the nation.
In asking for his family’s privacy to be respected Mr Hipkins referenced the ‘enormous scrutiny and pressure’ he said had been placed on Ms Ardern’s family.
During her shock resignation speech last Thursday Ms Ardern gave special mention to her partner Clarke Gayford and daugther Neve, who was born during her prime ministership.
Mr Hipkins, here seen after being appointed Labour’s leader, made a special plea for the media to respect his family’s privacy
Ms Ardern said Ms Gayford and Neve are ‘the ones that have sacrificed the most out of all of us’.
‘To Neve: Mum is looking forward to being there when you start school this year,’ she said.
‘And to Clarke – let’s finally get married.’
Mr Hipkins will officially take over as prime minister from Ms Ardern on Wednesday.