Ardern: I slept well for the first time in a long time

STORY: Speaking to media for the first time since her announcement, Ardern said she's been humbled by the support from the international community and whilst she feels sad, she knows it was the right decision for her. She also struck an optimistic tone for others considering leadership:

"You can have a family and be in these roles, you can lead in your own style," she said. "Is there more work to do? Yes, but that was not the cause for my departure."

Commentators point several Ardern ministers as possible candidates for the role, including Chris Hipkins, the former COVID minister and current Minister of Education and Police, and current Minister of Justice Kiri Allen.

The winner will become prime minister until the next general election. Ardern's term as leader will conclude no later than Feb. 7 and a general election will be held on Oct. 14.