Jacinda Ardern, You’re Doing A Terrible Job!

21Mar20

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New Zealand’s Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern, is a weak leader and one of the worst people in the world to be in charge of this special country right now.

I used to like Jacinda Ardern. I thought she was different to the power hungry megalomaniacs running other countries in the world. It turns out, I was wrong. She’s just as bad as all of the others and just as focused on keeping hold of power instead of using the power she has to benefit the people that put her there. She’s just better at disguising that than the others.

The threat to New Zealanders from Covid-19 comes from overseas. Instead of closing New Zealand’s borders completely or testing everyone entering New Zealand or quarantining all visitors, the Prime Minister announced that from 1am on Monday 16th March, with the exception of people arriving from some Pacific Islands, everyone entering New Zealand must ‘self-isolate” for two weeks.

By making visitors get on with an important task that should be handled and regulated by her elected government, she abdicated her responsibility. Visitors to New Zealand have not been given a clear definition of what “self-isolation” actually means, which has also made it impossible to effectively police. 

Her handling of this crisis has become even more wobbly in the days that followed. 

On the 18th March, Jacinda announced that anyone entering New Zealand BEFORE the 1am deadline on March 16 “should” self-isolate for 14 days. That’s “should” not “must”. Self-isolation (whatever that means) after arrival from 1am on March 16th is compulsory and enforceable by law but voluntary self-isolation for people who arrived before the deadline is just something Jacinda is asking them to do. 

That’s the situation Julie and I are in. We arrived here on Saturday 14th March and everything was fine until the 18th when the Prime Minister announced we “should” be self-isolating but we’re not breaking any laws if we don’t.

With no clarity from the nation’s leader, ordinary New Zealanders, including members of Julie’s family, are judging everything we do. Without a clear definition of what self-isolation is, Kiwis are deciding for themselves if we’re doing the right thing or not. A lack of clarity is stoking up resentment of foreign visitors and returning New Zealanders. Paranoia, suspicion and fear has taken over. We know of people who are refusing to come into close contact with people we’ve had contact with before the 19th March deadline. 

Jacinda Ardern has turned a people who were famous for their easy-going nature and friendliness, who gave visitors a warm Kiwi welcome, into a nation suspicious of anyone who spent any time outside the country in the last two weeks. Families and life-long friends are falling out over this. Some will never recover. Jacinda Ardern has caused a very special part of New Zealand to die.

We have no idea what to do so instead of self-isolation, we’re going to practice self-deportation. We’re flying back to London via Singapore tomorrow. To do that, we had to fly from Julie’s home town of Whangarei, where we were staying, to Auckland. Does getting on a 50 seater plane break self-isolation rules? Should we have waited till we’ve been here for 14 days before we go near an airport? Jacinda hasn’t told us.

In a time of crisis like this, we need a leader that can make strong clear decisions. This Prime Minister continues to make half-arsed compromises. At 11:59 on March 19th, Jacinda announced she was closing New Zealand’s borders. Then she said that New Zealand citizens and residents were exempt. Without testing or regulated quarantine, how does she know they can’t bring Coronavirus into the country? 

Or has it got something to do with the fact that only New Zealanders and residents are eligible to vote?

Craic on!

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