Ardern makes the cover of Time for all the right reasons

Ardern makes the cover of Time for all the right reasons

Apparently, according to a recent article about Jacinda Ardern’s leadership, Sam Neill – New Zealand’s other national treasure – is often asked in his travels if people can borrow his Prime Minister.

Little wonder, because she has been named as the most powerful women internationally, even mentioned in connection with a Nobel Peace Prize.

Her achievements since taking over as Prime Minister have been an impressive list of proactive and compassion-led initiatives.

The Time article, simply titled “Know Us By Our Deeds” speaks volumes about Ardern’s style of leadership, who has literally put New Zealand on the map. The article interviews Ardern a year on from the horrifying incident in Christchurch, where 51 people were murdered by an extremist who walked into a mosque and opened fire on its peaceful inhabitants.

Shockwaves reverberated around the world with the the gunman posting his rampage on social media. What Ardern has done in the weeks and year since this devastating attack is a testament to leadership that is personified by her quiet determination to bring about swift action and prosecution, shut down gun laws and lobby Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg to tighten social media laws so atrocities and violence of this kind never sees the light of day again. The world has taken notice.

Exactly two months after the shooting, the world at large got to see what Ardern, Macron and their team had come up with: the Christchurch Call, a meeting of heads of state and tech companies in Paris to commit to prevent the spreading of online terrorist and violent extremist content.  

Time sums up Ardern’s leadership as decidedly counter to her peers: “Her demonstration that during a crisis it is possible to lead without telegraphing aggression or playing on anxieties was a beacon in a world where the kinds of principles Ardern champions seem to be on the wane. She made a plausible case that kindness was a strength, compassion was actionable, and inclusion was possible.”

More recently Ardern provided personnel for bushfire relief and has called our own Prime Minister on his lack of leadership in a number of areas, not the least of which during a meeting with Pacific partners where she called out Morrison on climate change policies that would directly affect the Pacific nations.

“We will continue to say that New Zealand will do its bit and we have an expectation that everyone else will as well,” she told reporters. “Australia has to answer to the Pacific, that is a matter for them.”

More recently Ardern has criticised Morrison on testing the friendship on deportation policies.

“Know us by our deeds,” Ardern told those gathered at annual Big Gay Out, a rally in Auckland organised by the New Zealand AIDS Foundation. Ardern attended the festival to announce more funding for LGBTQI+ mental health and research.

Domestically she faces an election in September this year, but many feel it would be a mistake not to re-elect their most famous Prime Minister.

If Ardern loses the election, she will have plenty of options. She is a tireless campaigner for climate change and child poverty.

Many of her previous New Zealand leaders — although not as internationally recognized — went on to serve in global institutions. New Zealand’s second national female Prime Minister, Helen Clark, was head of the United Nations Development Programme and narrowly missed becoming the first female U.N. Secretary-General. Another Prime Minister, Mike Moore, was the head of the World Trade Organization. She could follow his example. In some ways, she already has.

“Leadership,” Moore once said, “is more than finding an angry crowd and agreeing with it.”

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