As we swing over into week four – and what we hope is our last week at level 4 – I feel it appropriate to commend New Zealand’s leadership in this crisis. Years ago in the UK there was an ad on TV for an insurance company with the tagline ‘we don’t make a drama out of a crisis.’ (I can’t remember which company – possibly an ad fail – but I can remember that it made me giggle although, I’m ashamed to say, one scene was casually racist. Different times.) This tagline could easily be applied here in New Zealand today.
I haven’t searched extensively but I can see no criticism of the way our government has dealt with our current situation. Jacinda Ardern seems to be up there with Mother Teresa and Dr Ashley Bloomfield is, well, God. During their daily press conferences they are open, articulate, and engaging. No question is avoided and if one is asked to which they don’t know the answer they admit so, adding that they will find out and share the information. At no point do we get the feeling that something is being hidden from us, that there are schemes and machinations going on behind our backs.
The Prime Minister and the DG of Health are examples both of how people should work together, and how they should lead. They take responsibility for their decisions and the consequences thereof. They constantly refer to the other for clarification of a point, hand over a question they feel the other more capable of answering. Isn’t that one of the qualities of a good leader? One who knows when they don’t know and is happy that someone else in their team does? I think so. But it doesn’t always seem to be so. There are ‘leaders’ who refuse to acknowledge any intelligence other than their (questionable) own.
I’m not a fan of watching politicians. Mostly they seem to be pompous windbags who like the sound of their own voices too much. But I’m glued to the screen at 1pm every day (and, if I’m honest, slightly disappointed when it isn’t Jacinda and Ashley, even though I acknowledge that they need a day off sometimes). There are many who don’t trust their governments (and in at least one case I’m not in the least surprised – it would scare the sh*t out of me if I were a citizen there) but I really can’t see that here. We feel supported and appreciated, even under some of the harshest restrictions most will experience in their lifetimes. We feel we are in good hands.
Yesterday they both took a pay cut of 20%, acknowledging that it won’t affect the fiscal position of our country – and they do earn more than most New Zealanders. But, said Jacinda, it’s about leadership. There are some who could learn a lot from our leaders.
Finally, a whole series of tributes to Dr Ashley exist, including a petition to make him New Zealander of the year (yes, that’s a real thing). But this is one of the best. And funniest. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s1oeMnvCKfk&fbclid=IwAR1hRVPt4292tMMgna7RU_5IHlEje6DAbSVRuQakyOV3tTbln_KqPrFE_uY