New Zealand's Ardern says new Finnish PM needs no advice, Mahathir says Marin should talk to 'old people'

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Arden, 39, was the world's youngest female leader after she was elected in 2017.
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Arden, 39, was the world's youngest female leader after she was elected in 2017. PHOTO: REUTERS

WELLINGTON (REUTERS) - New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said Finland's new Prime Minister Sanna Marin, who has become the world's youngest head of government, needs no advice from another youthful premier.

Ms Marin, 34, took over Ms Ardern's mantle as the world's youngest female leader on Tuesday (Dec 10).

"Oh, look, she needs no advice. This is ultimately one of those issues when people assume of course because you are young that you are not bringing experience and expertise to the table necessarily," Ms Ardern told Reuters in an interview on Wednesday when asked if she has any advice for Ms Marin.

"I see she's already a minister, she's already a member of the government. All I would say is: go well."

Ms Ardern, 39, burst into prominence during New Zealand's 2017 election and became the world's youngest prime minister at the time. She is feted globally as part of a new wave of progressive and young leaders that has included France's Emmanuel Macron and Canada's Justin Trudeau.

Ms Ardern's message, however, was in contrast to some worldly wisdom offered by Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, who at 94 is the oldest leader of a country.

Tun Dr Mahathir said on Tuesday that it would be a good idea for Ms Marin to ask "old people" for their advice.

"While we believe in the idealism of young people, it is important also for them to consider the experience of the old people," he said.