24 of Jacinda Ardern's most iconic moments as New Zealand's PM

James Besanvalle
Monday 19 October 2020 10:00
news

Jacinda Ardern is a remarkable woman.

On 26 October 2017, she was elected as the youngest female Prime Minister of New Zealand – she would’ve been the youngest ever PM if she was born just 53 days earlier – and she’s just won a landslide victory for a second term.

Throughout her tenure, she’s gone through highs, lows and a very shaky moment – literally, as she experienced an earthquake while giving a live TV interview.

But to celebrate the win of one of the most revered world leaders, we've compiled a list of some of her most unforgettable moments from her first term in office.

1. When she explained why everyone laughed at Trump at a UN meeting

In 2018, Donald Trump gave a speech to the UN. In it he claimed:

In less than two years, my administration has accomplished more than almost any administration in the history of our country.

At this point, laughter broke out in the audience. He then added:

So true.

The audience laughed even louder.

Speaking about the incident with Stephen Colbert, Ardern said the first round of laughter was at him and the second was with him.

She stayed out of it all though, of course...

2. When she became the first NZ PM to march in an LGBTQ+ Pride event

In 2018, Ardern was the first ever NZ PM to march in a Pride parade.

This year, she was announced – alongside her gay finance minister, Grant Roberston – to be headlining Global Pride.

She said:

Let’s all recommit to keep doing the work that’s required and make sure that we show that international solidarity so that everyone can celebrate who they are, no matter where in the world they live.

3. When she pledged to provide period products to girls in New Zealand

In June, she promised to spend NZ$2.6m (US$1.7m) on a scheme that would provide free sanitary products (aka tampons, pads, menstrual cups, etc) to schools in an effort to tackle period poverty.

At the time, Ardern said an estimated 95,000 girls aged nine to 18 are believed to miss school during their periods because they can't afford the necessary products to manage them.

4. When she cut her own pay

At the height of the coronavirus pandemic, Ardern proposed pay cuts for senior members of her government as an act of solidarity to people struggling financially while in lockdown.

After some delay, it took effect on 9 July.

5. When she was caught in an earthquake on live TV

In May, Jacinda Ardern was doing a live TV interview and then an earthquake hit the studio she was in.

Without even flinching, she carried on and coolly said:

We're just having a bit of an earthquake here.

6. When she encouraged a four-day working week

In May, Ardern said:

There’s just so much we’ve learnt about Covid and that flexibility of people working from home, the productivity that can be driven out of that. 

I’d really encourage people to think about that if you’re an employer and in a position to do so. To think about if that’s something that would work for your workplace because it certainly would help tourism all around the country.

Here's why this is an excellent idea.

7. When she met her celebrity impersonator

Earlier this week, Ardern finally met the comedian who has been impersonating her on Tiktok for the last few months.

The hilarious exchange caused a stir on social media, with many calling the resemblance uncanny.

8. When she let her husband cut her hair while in lockdown

While the world struggled with lockdown hair, Ardern had a solution – her husband.

Hubby Clarke Gayford tweeted in May:

9. When she did a dance after NZ stopped coronavirus in its tracks

In June, Jacinda Ardern confirmed New Zealand had reached zero active coronavirus cases.

To celebrate, the PM said she did a “little dance” and it was so wholesome:

10. The video showing everything she did right compared to everything Boris Johnson did wrong

A video came out in May showing the difference between how Ardern handled coronavirus and how Boris Johnson handled it.

And people were absolutely shocked.

11. When she was rejected at a restaurant

Proving just how humble she is, Ardern tried to get into a restaurant with her husband without a reservation.

When the restaurant informed them there were no tables available, she didn’t pull rank or try to use her influence to force one open, she simply accepted it and walked away.

A member of staff ended up running down the street after them to say they’d secured a table.

12. When she clapped back at a TV host

In May, right-wing TV host Duncan Garner asked why New Zealand was remaining at ‘threat level 3’, where all businesses – not just essential services – can reopen.

When asked why it hadn’t been reduced to level 2, Ardern responded:

I didn't realise you were an epidemiologist - congratulations on your new qualification.

13. How she refused to name the Christchurch terrorist attacker

After the Christchurch mosque attack that killed 50 people, Ardern said:

I implore you: Speak the names of those who were lost, rather than the name of the man who took them.

He may have sought notoriety, but we in New Zealand will give him nothing, not even his name.

14. And when she showed up as an ally to the Muslim community

Working tirelessly to provide support to the New Zealand Muslim community after the attack, described the incident as one of the country’s “darkest days”.

She attended memorials – where she met with, spoke to and hugged community members – and was praised globally for being respectful and supportive.

Ardern gave this powerful speech, two weeks after the incident:

15. When she gave birth to the first baby born to a sitting NZ PM

On 21 June 2018, Ardern gave birth to daughter Neve Te Aroha Ardern Gayford.

At the time, Ardern said:

I'm sure we're going through all of the emotions new parents go through, but at the same time feeling so grateful for all the kindness and best wishes from so many people. Thank you.

16. When she challenged herself to name all of her government’s achievements within their first 100 days in 60 seconds

Ardern was set a challenge: Can she name all of her government’s achievements in its first 100 days in under 60 seconds.

Among the long list of achievements were child poverty legislation, extended paid parental leave and banned microbeads.

17. When she announced gun control measures in just six days after the mosque shooting

Just six days after the Christchurch terrorist attack, Ardern announced gun control measures to ban all types of semi-automatic weapons.

She said at the time:

On 15 March [the day of the attack] our history changed forever. Now our laws will too.

We are announcing action today on behalf of all New Zealanders to strengthen our gun laws and make our country a safer place.

18. When she became the first PM ever invited to deliver a historic address

In 2018, Ardern was invited to deliver a historic address on Waitangi Day – the day commemorating the signing of a treaty between the British Crown and Māori chiefs.

Addressing Maori leaders, she said:

Hold us to account. Because one day I want to be able to tell my child that I earned the right to stand here. And only you can tell me when I have done that.

19. When she paid for a woman’s groceries after she forgot her wallet

Imagine forgetting your wallet as you go to pay for your groceries.

And now imagine the person stepping in to help you pay for them is the leader of your country. For one woman, it was her wonderful reality.

20. Her ‘incredible’ response to a reporter who forgot his question

When the NZ Herald's Jason Walls struggled for his words, Ardern responded:

We'll come back to you, no problem. I do worry about your sleep at the moment, though, Jason.

21. When she brought her daughter into a UN speech

Ardern made headlines in 2018 after she brought her daughter into a UN General Assembly in New York.

On the global reaction, she said at the time:

I love that people have shared in this joy with us, and that’s been because I have a really public role and so I accept that means that our family life will be quite public… But at the same time, I’ve chosen a public life, Neve hasn’t.

22. When she confirmed the Easter bunny and tooth fairy are ‘essential workers’

During the height of the coronavirus pandemic in April, Ardern confirmed that the Easter bunny and the tooth fairy are “essential workers” and didn’t have to adhere to strict social distancing rules.

She said in a press conference:

23. When she perfectly shut down Trump

In 2017, Trump reportedly told a person standing next to the Prime Minister:

This lady caused a lot of upset in her country.

Ardern replied:

Well, you know, only maybe 40 per cent.

Trump repeated his initial statement. So Ardern upped the ante:

You know, no-one marched when I was elected.

Ardern later said:

He laughed and it was only afterwards that I reflected that it could have been taken in a very particular way – he did not seem offended.

24. When she publicly apologised to the family of a murdered British backpacker

After British backpacker Grace Millane was murdered while in New Zealand in 2018, Ardern said the incident was a cause of national “shame”.

She offered her sincerest apology to Millane’s family:

On behalf of New Zealand, I want to apologise to Grace’s family. Your daughter should have been safe here, and she wasn’t. And I’m sorry for that.

From the kiwis I have spoken to, there is this overwhelming sense of hurt and shame that this has happened in our country, a place that prides itself on our hospitality.

Name a more inspirational prime minister...

This article was originally published on 26 July 2020

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