US magazine says PM 'may be the most effective leader on the planet'

Author
NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Mon, 20 Apr 2020, 11:24AM

US magazine says PM 'may be the most effective leader on the planet'

Author
NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Mon, 20 Apr 2020, 11:24AM

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has received fresh plaudits for her handling of the Covid-19 pandemic, this time from respected US magazine The Atlantic.

In an article headlined: "New Zealand's Prime Minister may be the most effective leader on the planet", the magazine highlights Ardern's empathetic response to the crisis as a key driver of her popularity and our successful efforts towards eliminating the virus.

Former Prime Minister Helen Clark was interviewed for the piece, saying Ardern "doesn't preach at them; she's standing with them".

"They may even think, 'well, I don't quite understand why [the government] did that, but I know she's got our back'. There's a high level of trust and confidence in her because of that empathy."

Clark goes on to praise Ardern as a "communicator" and claims: "This is the kind of crisis which will make or break leaders. And this will make Jacinda."

The article draws direct comparisons between Ardern and other world leaders, with Clark noting she differs from embattled US President Donald Trump.

"Trump does his briefings, but that's a different kind of show," Clark said. "On no occasion has Jacinda ever spun out and attacked a journalist who's asked a question."

While the article is largely effusive in its praise of Ardern's abilities as a leader, it does call into question her readiness to deal with the ongoing challenges presented by Covid-19.

Victoria University's Van Jackson told The Atlantic that he worries about how younger leaders will cope with the massive shock to global systems.

"Strategic decision-making and crisis decision-making are very different," he said.

"The world is going to be changed, largely for the worse, in the coming years. A great depression seems all but inevitable. China's strategic opportunism knows no bounds. Dictators everywhere are using the pandemic to solidify control of societies. Multilateral institutions aren't delivering as promised. Getting through this crisis intact is just one step in a longer process toward a brave new world."