Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said on Thursday she is stepping down as leader of New Zealand.

Fighting back tears, Ardern told reporters in Napier that Feb. 7 will be her last day in office. And will not contest this year's general elections.

"I am not going because it was difficult," she declared. If it had been the case, I most likely would have quit my work after two months.

I'm leaving because with such a privileged role comes responsibility, knowing when you're the right person to lead, and also when you're not.

The decision was my own,” Ardern said. “Leading a country is the most privileged job anyone could ever have.

She spoke candidly about the toll the job has taken and reflected on the various crises her government has faced

She faced tougher criticism at home that the strategy was too strict.