Prime Minister of New Zealand
New Zealand has been praised for its response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Under Jacinda Ardern’s leadership, New Zealand has had fewer COVID-19 cases and deaths per capita than most nations, and a brief period completely virus-free.
With a population of 5 million, the country has seen fewer than 1,500 cases and 25 deaths.
Her government has urged a cautious approach to quashing the virus. It took decisive action right away, imposing a national lockdown much earlier in its outbreak than other countries did in theirs, and banned travelers from China in early February, before New Zealand had registered a single case of the virus. The country also closed its borders to all nonresidents in mid-March.
Ardern has taken on an empathetic leadership style amid the pandemic, with clear and consistent communication. Since COVID-19 started to spread, she has hosted frequent, formal and informative Facebook Live chats. In August, the Kiwi prime minister was praised for sharing a DIY video on mask-making days before face coverings become mandatory across the country in certain situations. She has also been conducting more formal and conventional daily briefings with other top officials and journalists.
Additionally, Ardern announced in April that she and her cabinet would take a 20% pay cut for the next six months because of the pandemic. She added that the pay cut will not affect her government’s fiscal policies, but is intended to show leadership that her cabinet has taken.
And in the clearest sign of approval, Ardern and her Labour Party colleagues were re-elected in a landslide in October, solidifying her spot for years to come.