Troubleshooter Chris Hipkins faces a tough road as New Zealand PM

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By Lucy Craymer and Alasdair Pal WELLINGTON (Reuters) – Chris Hipkins, set to become New Zealand’s prime minister, built a reputation for competence in tackling COVID-19, though he acknowledges some mistakes in handling the pandemic and faces a tough battle to retain power in an October general election. Known as “Chippy”, the former COVID minister is a close ally of Jacinda Ardern, who shocked the nation on Thursday by announcing she was resigning. Hipkins, 44, expected to succeed Ardern as Labour leader on Sunday after no other candidates emerged, faces a stern test upon taking power, with L…

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