Jacinda Ardern's first term as Prime Minister has been recognised at home and around the world as a masterclass in leadership. Open, honest and authentic, Jacinda is a new type of leader - one that unites strength with kindness, boldness and compassion.
As we head into the 2020 election, we're taking a look back at some of the key moments that have characterised Jacinda's leadership during her first term in Government.
She delivered a world-leading response to COVID-19
Jacinda Ardern's leadership throughout New Zealand's COVID-19 response has been globally recognised. Many people praised her daily televised COVID-19 briefings with Ashley Bloomfield and her Facebook Lives for keeping the New Zealand public up to date with the latest developments and information regarding alert level changes.
The Prime Minister led the Government in going hard and early to stamp out the virus, keep New Zealanders safe, and cushion the economic impact. Her focus now is on getting the latest resurgence under control and making sure we put in place more financial supports to recover and rebuild.
We’re in a position to safely open the economy back up (much quicker than many other countries), and Jacinda is leading the charge in our recovery through Labour’s five point plan to rebuild New Zealand, which includes creating jobs, getting people into training, and helping local businesses recover and rebuild even better than before.
She promoted unity and compassion after the March 15 mosque terror attacks
On March 15 2019, a lone gunman opened fire at two mosques in Christchurch, killing 51 people. Jacinda Ardern moved swiftly to denounce the gunman and his actions, stating in a press conference: "You may have chosen us, but we utterly reject and condemn you."
Jacinda also moved quickly to tighten New Zealand’s gun laws, banning military-style semi-automatic firearms just six days after the attacks, and removing over 62,000 prohibited firearms from circulation through the gun buy-back scheme. On top of this, in May 2019, Jacinda joined France's President Emmanuel Macron to lead the Christchurch Call to Action, a coming together of 48 countries, the European Commission, two international organisations, and eight tech companies with the goal of eliminating terrorist and violent extremist content online.
She met with responders after the Whakaari/White Island eruption
Another tragedy hit New Zealand when Whakaari/White Island erupted on December 9 2019, eventually taking the lives of 21 people.
Jacinda Ardern met with first responders in Whakatāne following the eruption, where she recognised the emergency service personnel for going above and beyond the line of duty: "They have done an incredible job under devastating circumstances."
Later, in an address to Parliament, speaking to the families of victims, she said: "I say to those who have lost and grieve – you are forever linked to our nation and we will hold you close."
The Government provided assistance for the Whakatāne community’s immediate needs through the Whakatāne District Council Mayoral Relief Fund.
She took action on climate change with the landmark Zero Carbon Bill
Under Jacinda Ardern's leadership, our Government passed the Climate Change Response (Zero Carbon) Amendment Bill. This landmark legislation is at the centre of the Government's work to reduce our net carbon emissions to zero by 2050 and protect future generations of Kiwis from the potential impacts of climate change. The Act passed with unanimous support. In the House, Jacinda told MPs New Zealand was “on the right side of history”.
She launched New Zealand's first Wellbeing Budget
Jacinda worked with Finance Minister Grant Robertson to deliver New Zealand's - and the world's - first Wellbeing Budget in 2019. The Budget signalled a new approach to the way governments work, by placing the health and wellbeing of people at the heart of what we do.
“Today’s Budget shows you can be both economically responsible and kind. We are turning the corner on issues others have written off as too hard for too long – while keeping the books in order.”
Following the positive reception to our 2019 Budget, in 2020 Jacinda Ardern and Grant Robertson delivered the second Wellbeing Budget, focused heavily on supporting New Zealand's recovery from COVID-19 by creating jobs, helping people into training, and backing businesses.
She implored world leaders to work together at the United Nations General Assembly
In 2019, in the wake of the March 15 terror attack, Jacinda urged other world leaders in attendance at the UN General Assembly to shift away from attitudes of nationalism, to instead recognise how all nations depend on one another. "What if we no longer see ourselves based on what we look like, what religion we practice, or where we live," she asked, "but by what we value? Humanity. Kindness. An innate sense of our connection to each other."
She fought to close the gender pay gap and put free period products in schools
Addressing pay inequity for women was something Jacinda campaigned on before we entered Government. With the passing of the Equal Pay Amendment Bill in July 2020, she made good on Labour’s campaign promise by making it easier for employees to raise a pay equity claim.
Under Jacinda Ardern's leadership, the Government also has begun providing free period products in schools for those who need them, starting with 15 Waikato schools and expanding to all state and state-integrated schools on an opt-in basis in 2021.
She was the first Prime Minister to march in a Pride Parade
Jacinda Ardern attended the 2018 Pride Parade alongside Finance Minister Grant Robertson.
She said: "Let’s all recommit to keep doing the work that’s required and make sure that we show that international solidarity so that everyone can celebrate who they are, no matter where in the world they live."
She introduced key policies to make lives better for Kiwis and their families
Among the long list of achievements under Jacinda’s leadership are the Families Package, child poverty reduction legislation, the Winter Energy Payment, extended paid parental leave and rolling out free, healthy lunches in schools.
These are only a few examples of the many ways the Government has made progress for New Zealanders. The full list is so long that when Jacinda was challenged to run through the Government’s achievements in just two minutes after two years in office - even she couldn’t get through the list in time!
Watch the video here.
...And she kept her cool during an earthquake!
In May 2020, Jacinda Ardern was doing a live TV interview when a 5.8 earthquake hit the Beehive in Wellington.
When asked if she was okay to continue with the interview, without flinching, she glanced at the still-wobbling flag stands and coolly said: "I’m good. We're just having a bit of an earthquake here."
Do you have more examples of Jacinda Ardern's leadership to add to the list? Share to your friends on Facebook or Twitter and let us know!