OPINION: Jacinda Ardern a PM the world can be proud of

Peter FiorenzaGeraldton Guardian
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has shown admirable leadership in the wake of the Christchurch massacre.
Camera IconNew Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has shown admirable leadership in the wake of the Christchurch massacre. Credit: Getty Images, Getty

It is very hard to fathom the devastation of the recent massacre in Christchurch.

The effect this horrific event has had, and will have, is unknown — only that it will last for some time.

When any nation is affected in the way New Zealand was on that fateful March day, people look for guidance in how to deal with such a situation, and how to move on.

British wartime Prime Minister Winston Churchill was one person who well and truly took on this mantle.

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In 1940, he led his nation though the tough dark days of the Blitz and the Battle of Britain.

And through his actions and inspirational speeches, he inspired millions.

Another person who took on such a role was Rudy Giuliani.

Giuliani was the mayor of New York on September 11, 2001, when two planes ploughed into the twin towers of the World Trade Center.

The incident put the city that never sleeps into the grip of terror, and it was, indeed, Giuliani who held things together.

Recently, someone else has stepped up to the plate.

Jacinda Ardern is New Zealand’s Prime Minister, and in the past couple of weeks, she has had the unenviable task of helping her country deal with the horrific shootings in Christchurch.

Ardern was elevated to the top office in 2017.

After graduating from university in 2007, she worked as a researcher for former Prime Minister Helen Clark, and was adviser to past British PM Tony Blair.

At 38, Ardern is the world’s youngest female head of government and, to me, she has demonstrated a maturity and humility that would be hard to match.

Vision of Ms Ardern visiting Christchurch was touching and inspirational. Hugging family and friends of victims, speaking with survivors, and talking at length with others affected — it was, simply, outstanding.

“That’s her job”, you might say.

That may be true, but I think the way she has carried out this job is more than admirable.

I watched vision of her speaking to the media, the New Zealand Parliament, and to students at a high school that was severely affected.

On all occasions, Ms Ardern modelled and spoke carefully chosen words which demonstrated an unquestionable sincerity that our world has been lacking of late.

A peer of a bumbling, fumbling British Brexit by Theresa May, an American leader who endlessly promotes himself through Twitter and Australian politicians who really don’t know what they stand for, Jacinda Arden has stolen the show.

New Zealand has a leader it can truly respect and be proud of, and she has certainly come in the nick of time for all of us.

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