New Zealand’s Ardern gets international book deal

AUCKLAND (AFP): Ex-New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced Friday she will write a book about leadership to be published worldwide, after five tumultuous years in charge of the Pacific nation.

Ardern, who turns 43 next month, said in an Instagram post that she would eschew the usual political tell-all in favour of something that would have inspired her “14-year-old self”.

Ardern unexpectedly retired from politics in January, saying she no longer had “enough in the tank” to continue.

She had become increasingly unpopular at home, even as she won widespread acclaim overseas.

After almost six months out of office, she still has millions of followers on social media and is tipped by some as a future leader at the United Nations.

Ardern’s term included managing the responses to a right-wing terror attack in Christchurch, a deadly volcanic eruption and the Covid-19 pandemic, which shuttered New Zealand’s borders for two years.

The former premier insisted she did not want to write “a book that hauled over the internal politics of the last five years”.

Instead, Ardern plans to write about how to be “your own kind of leader”.

“I hope when it’s done, it’s the kind of book that would have made a difference to my 14-year-old self,” she added.

There is currently no set release date, she said.

The project has been picked up by publishing houses Penguin, Macmillan and Crown – making it available in the United States, as well as Australia, Britain and New Zealand.

Ardern is due to take up dual fellowships at Harvard University later this year.