An international treasure…

My living heroine is Jacinda Ardern! If I could invite anyone famous to dinner it would certainly be Jacinda (closely followed by Mary Berry!!). I would absolutely love to meet Jacinda, I think she is an amazing woman and an incredible role model. However, I imagine if I was ever lucky enough to meet her, I wouldn’t know what to say to her!! (I doubt this is something I need to worry about as the likely hood of meeting her is very slim).

I have been lucky enough to visit New Zealand once and loved it, the country and the people. The Kiwis really take care of their country…I toured both islands and never came across any litter on the streets and everyone was very friendly. The scenery is breathtaking and I have to say I felt at home. I would love to live in New Zealand but as this is not on the cards, I definitely hope I can visit again and this time take my girls with me to show them what an incredible country it is.

Since becoming the Prime Minister of New Zealand, Jacinda has became a first-time mum, has graciously led New Zealand through its worst ever terrorism attack, a deadly volcanic eruption and most recently, Covid-19. Her leadership throughout these challenges has always been calm and human, whilst having the people of New Zealand at the heart of her decisions.

In relation to the current pandemic, most countries are still living under severe restrictions and have been now for nearly a year. However, New Zealand is currently living life pretty much as normal again. Children are at school, sports stadiums are at full capacity, parties can be had including weddings and social distancing is not required. The main limitation that has stayed in place is that borders remain closed to foreigners.

I remember watching Jacinda’s announcement to New Zealand, telling the country that there were no longer had any active Covid cases and how she did a little dance in celebration! I had tears of happiness in my eyes.

My experience of politics in the UK is one of mistrust and scepticism, never believing what politicians say or that they give a shit. A far cry from Jacinda who comes across as a truly warm human being.

Despite minor hiccups along the way, New Zealand spent less than 3 months in a full lockdown and their response to the pandemic has been among the most successful. This has been attributed to the hard and early actions taken (along with other countries including China and Thailand). To date, New Zealand which has a population of approximately 5 million, has only had had 26 deaths compared with the UK which has a population of approximately 66,500 million, but has had in excess of 86,000 deaths and undoubtedly this number will increase.

New Zealand’s approach to the lockdown has been very different to many countries including the UK. Their stance has been ‘to go hard and go early’ and that the lives of New Zealanders were paramount. Compare this with the UK where the governments approach has been supposedly to prioritise both health and economic considerations, leading to Boris Johnson saying in one of his speeches that more people will lose loved ones before their time. I’m not quite sure what front-line health professionals would say about the UK governments so called priority of the peoples health nor what the thousands of people who have lost a loved one would say!

Despite New Zealand now being in a much better position than many other countries across the world, the virus still entered the country in the same way it has done across the world and continues to, by way of returning New Zealanders. Most recently this has included 6 cases of the new highly infectious variants. However, New Zealand’s approach has so far kept the virus at bay because every returning New Zealander heads straight into managed isolation facilities.

I find it interesting how little mention of New Zealand’s success is mentioned in the news and how I’ve not seen anything on social media. Yet on New Years eve when most celebrations across the world were cancelled, New Zealand had their usual firework display and the streets were filled with joyous crowds. You can’t blame them really can you?! I imagine now, more than ever, everyone living in New Zealand feels as though Jacinda has got their back, that she genuinely gives a damn and cares about the well-being of everyone.

What an amazing country to live in!!

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