NZ’s Leadership During Covid-19

Grace MacCormick says regardless of political affiliations there’s no doubt that making decisions which affect the lives of millions of Kiwis is enormous.

Not acting quickly will cause loss of lives and cause significant damage to the country. 

The downsiden of decisions

The decisions made by Jacinda Ardern and her government have affected the livelihoods of all New Zealanders, resulting in huge economic destruction, redundancies and closures of businesses. 

Despite this, New Zealand’s public health response has been praised around the world

Epidemiologist Professor Michael Baker says New Zealand has had the ‘most decisive and strongest lockdown in the world at the moment.’ 

ichael Baker is quietly optimistic about the direction we are taking over Cov

(Professor Michael Baker. Source: Ross Giblin – Stuff)

“New Zealand is a huge standout as the only Western country that’s got an elimination goal,” he says. 

Ardern’s response

Ardern’s response to Covid-19 was quickly established, directing New Zealanders to stay home to save lives. This offered meaning and purpose to what the country was being asked to do.

acinda Ardern at a press conference - ABC News (Australian ...

( Photo: PM Jacinda Ardern and Dr. Ashley Bloomfield. Source: ABC News)

Baker has also commented on Ardern’s success as a “brilliant communicator and an empathetic leader.” 

The government have also shown empathy by acknowledging the challenges people have faced by staying at home.

There was disruption in all parts of our lives — from family, to work to being unable to say goodbye to dying loved ones or attending funerals. 

The daily media highlight

The daily press conferences became a regular source of information for households all around the country. 

Extensive question time for representatives of the media was a huge contrast to many leaders around the world. 

Leaders who order rather than lead

For example, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson pre-recorded his lockdown announcement for March 24th.

This meant there were no questions from the media, and that the announcement came as an instruction from the government rather than an explanation of the necessary measures. 

oronavirus: Strict new curbs on life in UK announced by PM - BBC Ne

(British Prime Minister Boris Johnson – Lockdown Announcement. Source: BBC)

I’m proud of our leadership’

As a young woman in a small country I am proud of how our leadership has been seen around the world.

I am also proud because we have one of the few female leaders in the world, which has given us a significant focus as a progressive country.

However, I wonder whether our major focus on health has detracted from our economy in the long run. 

NZ recovery vital to younger people

Our recovery is a big issue for the younger generation, especially my year group finishing university and about to join the workforce full time. 

It will take us years to recover and for a young person, the ramifications of this are significant. 

There will be a huge tax burden that future generations will have to cope with. 

Opportunities ‘out the window’

My friends and I spend a large portion of our time applying for graduate roles and opportunities which have now gone out the window due to companies being unable to hire new employees. 

Whilst it is clear to see that New Zealand has the virus under control at the moment, the majority of the world does not. 

My main concern is: was it necessary to possibly destroy key parts of the economy when the rest of the world was not so tight with their restrictions? 

Time will tell.

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