The Prime Minister of New Zealand, Jacinda Ardern has been in office since October of 2017 and has recently been praised for her handling and strong prioritization of her people’s safety during the worldwide pandemic. At just 37, Arden was the world’s youngest female to be the head of a government and also was the second to give birth while in office. She is a huge advocate for stricter gun laws and is known for her efforts to aid the housing crisis, child poverty as well as social inequality.
When disaster struck two mosques in the largest city in the South Island of New Zeland, Christchurch, Ardern was devastated and publicized that these people and extremist behavior specifically with gun violence had no place in New Zeland. After visiting the area to meet first responders and those whose families and friends were affected by the horrific shooting, Arden announced her plans to introduce stronger firearms laws which were later passed. She was recognized internationally when her photograph hugging a Christchurch Muslim entitled “Peace” in English and Arabic, was projected onto Burj Khalifa, one of the world’s tallest buildings.
Her views as a leader are seen as very progressive and Ardern describes herself as a social democrat and a feminist. After voting for the Marriage Amendment Act of 2013 to allow same-sex marriage in New Zeland, she became the first New Zeland prime minister to march in a pride parade.
In 2019, she was positioned at 38th among the top 100 most powerful women in the world. She even was speculated to win the 2019 Nobel Peach Prize for her handling of the mosque shootings in Christchurch.
As soon as the coronavirus became a worldwide threat, Arden jumped into action closing New Zealand’s borders and was commended for her quick response to the dangerous virus. She regularly used interviews and social media to remain transparent about her actions as a leader during the pandemic and was adamant about addressing both the human and economic consequences of the pandemic. Personally, I have heard especially great things about Ardern due to her amazing response to the pandemic that has kept New Zealand very low in case numbers during the worldwide pandemic. According to TIME magazine, New Zealand was one of the top countries praised for their handling of the pandemic and 88% of citizens in New Zealand agreed by saying they trusted their government to handle the pandemic. The country is now COVID-19 free and Jacinda Ardern’s leadership is to thank.