Has NZ under PM Jacinda Arden defeated coronavirus? Waitangi Day saw 'what a Zero Covid strategy looks like'

As of February 12, the country had 44 active cases of COVID-19 infections, with only one case of community transmission


                            Has NZ under PM Jacinda Arden defeated coronavirus? Waitangi Day saw 'what a Zero Covid strategy looks like'
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Finance Minister Grant Robertson cook breakfast for the crowds after the dawn service at the Waitangi Treaty Grounds on February 6, 2021, in Waitangi, New Zealand (Getty Images)

A video of New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Arden at a party to celebrate the country's Waitangi Day is going viral and being appreciated as New Zealand continues to see low numbers in Covid-19 infections even as other countries struggle to bring it down. Prime Minister Arden and other ministers were part of the commemorations on the 180th anniversary of the Treaty of Waitangi's signing.

The Treaty of Waitangi was an agreement formed between the Europeans and the Maori on February 6, 1840, and is considered to be the country's foundational document. The Treaty was established to enable British settlers and the Maori people to live together in New Zealand under a common set of laws or agreements and aimed to protect the rights of the Maori to keep their land, forests, fisheries, and treasures while handing over their sovereignty to the British.

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Thousands of New Zealanders, Arden, and other leaders gathered inside and around Waitangi's te Whare Runanga or upper meeting house. The structure opened 80 years ago on Waitangi Day and represents the unity of Maori across Aotearoa. The service was semi-religious and conducted in multiple languages and was followed by a barbecue party. Also present were chief justice Helen Winkelmann, navy chief David Proctor, police commissioner Mike Bush and race relations commissioner Meng Foon.

The Waka land on the beach and a haka was performed on February 6, 2021, in Waitangi, New Zealand (Getty Images)

 

Arden offered a prayer for “the poor, the sick, those who suffer prejudice and those that are lonely” before reciting the national anthem. She said, "Today we pray for our people, our history, and our future. On this 180th Waitangi Day let us pledge to take us across the bridge between two peoples. Give us the courage to learn to walk comfortably in each other’s shoes."

A video of Arden at the event has since gone viral, with a tweet that said, "This is New Zealand. No masks, no lockdowns, no new cases — with PM Jacinda Ardern at a huge outdoor BBQ on a national holiday. What leadership looks like."



 

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Finance Minister Grant Robertson cook breakfast for the crowds after the dawn service at the Waitangi Treaty Grounds on February 6, 2021, in Waitangi, New Zealand (Getty Images)

 

A user wrote of the video, "This is what a #ZeroCOVID strategy looks like." Another shared, "I want what they have," while a user opined, "New Zealand is an isolated place just like PH but no our leaders kept on allowing visitors. Also their president is a woman, I heard someone said that the presidency is not for women thats total BS."



 

 



 

 



 

 

A user wrote, "You can't compare Great Britain and New Zealand, it's really unfair, there are so many variables that are completely different. For example, their leader is very good and listened to science whereas ours is properly shit and listened to Steve Bannon and Dominic Cummings." Another tweeted, "This could have been us but you had to vote for Jill Stein and write in Harambe."



 

 



 

 

New Zealand had its first case of COVID-19 in months when a traveler returned from South Africa in January 2021. According to the country's Health Ministry website, the country last recorded a community coronavirus transmission in November 2020. As of February 12, the country had 44 active cases of Covid-19 infections, with only one case of community transmission. According to the website, New Zealand has had 2,326 cases of COVID-19 since the pandemic first began.

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