Australians are pleading with New Zealand to effectively annex their country and become New New Zealand over the handling of the coronavirus pandemic.
It all started when Australian Scott Battersby shared a map of the two countries with a few alterations in red.
The two main islands of New Zealand were labelled North and South Island respectively, then the word Australia was crossed out and replaced with “Big Island”.
Battersby shared the graphic, along with a caption that cited an “appalling lack of leadership” from Australia’s Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, and “superb leadership” from New Zealand’s Jacinda Ardern:
At the time of writing, the post has now almost 10,000 reactions, 24,000 shares and 7,000 comments – many of them agreeing with the idea.
I love this! Happy to switch PM’s in a heartbeat!
While another commented:
We'll have a shared custody arrangement with you.. but you'll all have to do as Jacinda tells you to, and that includes you too, Scott Morrison.
And another responded:
Been saying this for weeks. West New Zealand, here we come!
Last week, PM Ardern announced a four-week shut down of the country and issued a four-stage alert system.
This means people should stay home, while schools and universities shut and all non-essential businesses close.
Many praised Ardern’s quick and measured response to the global pandemic, which has successfully kept cases to 647 across the country and only one person sadly passed away.
By contrast, critiques of Scott Morrison’s handling of coronavirus have been mixed, with people saying he’s not been clear enough.
This has led to hundreds of people ignoring social distancing measures and flocking to beaches across the country.
Australia’s much slower introduction of a lockdown has meant that over 4,500 people have coronavirus and 19 people have died.
Social researcher Dr Rebecca Huntley told The Guardian:
Australia was too slow in the early days of the crisis about the need for behaviour change. The messages around hygiene and social distances should have been ‘carpet-bombed’ even before we had significant cases. What people need are hard and fast rules. When you give people discretion, at a time of panic, then that’s very difficult for them.
In Australia, most of the country is now effectively on lockdown.