What Can We Learn from Jacinda Ardern During the Covid-19 Crisis?

Abyan Faisal Putratama
5 min readMay 9, 2020
Illustration of covid-19. Photo: via Pexels

The world has been hit by the covid-19 pandemic ever since the 2020 year started. Not only it impacts the health of people, but it also affects some other things such as economy, social life, and stability of politics. This pandemic also shows how well or bad a country leader tackles this crisis situation. Many of male leaders shows their lack of capability to overcome this issue.

For example, in Indonesia, when countries started to implement lockdown and mass social distancing, Indonesia’s still campaigning their hospitality and not giving a serious act to embrace this pandemic. Instead, the government insist that Indonesia free from this virus and even the Transportation Minister, Budi Karya Sumadi (BKS) makes jokes which he stated that people of Indonesia immune to the covid-19 because they eat “nasi kucing”.

On the other hand, female leaders, such as Jacinda Ardern and Angela Merkel are trying their best to handle this situation.

New Zealand (NZ) Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern, is one of the prominent leaders that shows how good her policy regarding to covid-19 matter. NZ first reported their first case on 28 February 2020. It’s been almost 3 months since the first reported case, but the number of infections can be controlled which now confirmed cases by 1,142 people infected, 1,368 recovered, and 21 deaths.

Moreover, according to Reuters, on May 5 2020, New Zealand government claimed there are no covid-19 new cases for 2 days in a row. Jacinda’s administration now planning to ease their tight regulations towards this issue. So, what could we learn from her leadership?

Communication Skills

During this situation, clearly people are being panic and feel paranoid because it’s unclear whether this situation will over soon or it just might get into more dangerous condition. That’s being said, the leader ways to deliver the current situation is crucial in order to help the citizen stays calm and prevent them to feel stressful.

Jacinda is an excellent examples of good speech deliver are. According to The Atlantic, the way she delivers a message is astonishing. Because, the content of the message is clear and her speech isn’t similar like someone that trying to lecture other people.

Hence, she uses the technology wisely to assure her people that she’s with them and her administration capable to overwhelmed the pandemic covid-19 crisis.

Rather than using a conservative way of delivering a speech, Jacinda commonly use Facebook Live Chats to be more relax, but yet still attractive and enlightening. The way she picked a more “homely” outfits and live from her home, also is one of the strategies to make people stays at home.

Further, the way she answers questions from a journalist, that rather attacking the journalist, she’s tried to answer openly and transparent.

Early Preemptive Action

One of the essential keys to minimize and reduce the positive cases of Covid-19 is applying the social distancing strict rules, to avoid direct contact with the people that already infected, people who doesn’t have the symptoms, and healthy people.

In fact, implementing the lockdown earlier as possible will help a country to avoid a greater and long effects of the covid-19, especially in the economy sector. The 39-years old New Zealand Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern, since the beginning, undertake a strict measure to fight back the virus.

Based on CNBC article, her administration already closed its borders since 19 March. Furthermore, on March 23, she’s imposed more curb regulations which called level 3 lockdown. In this level, any events and gathering are prohibited and business that the sector is not essential to fight the covid-19 were closed as well.

2 days after she implement the level 3 lockdown, her government raised the level into level 4, which means more rigorous rules. In fact, Jacinda asked and urged people not to contact with other people, unless it’s their own family that live together.

After a month of level 4 lockdown, she’s lowering the lockdown level to 3 again, means now the resident can travel inside New Zealand if necessary and several businesses are allowed to open again.

In line with her action, as per 9 May, according to data based on Health Ministry of New Zealand, the total number of confirmed cases in total is 1,142, recovered 1,368, and 21 deaths.

New Zealand act and measurement so far, is effective to reduce and stop the virus to spread aggressively. Because of her remarkable moves, public trust towards the leadership of Ardern is bigger than 80%, cited from the Guardian article on 25 April, 2020.

Promoting Scientific Insight.

Obviously, science is the essential knowledge to understand and overcome this covid-19 pandemic. A government should rely and believe on science expertise, because without them, it would be impossible to restore the situation back to normal.

Ardern is the leader that shows, scientific knowledge is important for the people to understand why this issue is really a problem.

In the BBC article, Jacinda Ardern always accompanied by Director General of Health, Ashley Bloomfield, that is responsible to give scientific insight in her press conferences.

“From the outset he has carefully and calmly communicated many complex health issues around Covid-19 paving the way for government decisions,” says Sarah Robson, a senior journalist at Radio New Zealand.

“Because he had clearly communicated the trajectory, we were on in terms of the increase in the number of cases, when Jacinda Ardern said we were going into lockdown, people understood why.”

Jacinda as well, reach out the science community in New Zealand in which professor of the Faculty of Science at Auckland University, Shaun Hendy, said this cooperation gives them advantage, compare to other countries.

At the end, almost all countries in the earth are impacted by this pandemic greatly. However, the way how government prepare and response towards the issue, is essential so that the country can bounce back again from the crisis.

Nevertheless, New Zealand Prime Minister, is one of the example, what a leaders should behave and act during this time, so the people may hold into hopes that at one moment, sooner or later this pandemic will gone.

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