Ardern’ed victory!

Few days ago Labor Party in New Zeland won outright parliamentary majority and in the process another term as Prime Minister for Jacinda Ardern ( https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-54519628 ). The victory appears to be hard-earned (I prefer the similar sounding Ardern’ed) as the Ardern-led Government has had to deal with, in this term, a terrorist attack in Christchurch, a natural disaster when the White Island/Whakaari volcano erupted, and COVID-19 pandemic too.

Sound familiar to Northerners on the other side of Pacific?

It’s instructive how the NZ Government handled the terrorist attack and COVID-19 pandemic in their country. In the aftermath of the terrorist attack the Government first acknowledged a need for action and, within a short time, issued a ban on possession of semi-automatic weapons and assault rifles. The Government has also garnered praise for its handling of the COVID-19 cases and for success in measures taken to contain the spread. Obviously it has come with a price. Travel and tourism would have taken a big hit and the country is in recession now. For a country with ~ 5 million total population a major outbreak would have been a great setback. Yet, with good implementation of safety measures the country is back to as-close-to-normal-as-possible at this time. I do not follow NZ news regularly. Obviously terrorist attack points to existence of some individuals or fringe groups intent on creating racial/religious tension in society (which can be expected in any country). It’s the response to such tragedies that makes a big difference. Likewise COVID-19 related measures likely caused hardship to people while making the country safer. It’s also likely some mistakes were made and lessons learned in an evolving situation ( https://www.usnews.com/news/best-countries/articles/2020-10-23/pandemic-leadership-lessons-from-new-zealands-elections ). Going by the result of general election – a resounding majority for the incumbent, the people have approved the performance. That’s not to say everything must have been done perfect. The lesson to learn, in a functioning democracy, is that if the leaders share known facts people understand and are also more forgiving of honest mistakes made. No economy can survive being shut for a long time and it’s not easy to balance safety with minimal economic impact. It’s good to see transparency and sincerity still matter. Wish it could be replicated on a bigger scale by other countries too 🙏