Jacinda Ardern to be remembered for pandemic-era policies that 'saved thousands of lives' according to former PM

Helen Clark, praises Ardern for her governance during endless crises and the era of social media to the bemusement of the rest of the world.

Jacinda Ardern to be remembered for pandemic-era policies that 'saved thousands of lives' according to former PM
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Former New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark has praised the controversial pandemic-era policies of Jacinda Ardern, who has recently stepped down as the country's leader, for "saving thousands of lives".

According to Clark, Ardern's leadership during the pandemic will be one of the most significant aspects of her legacy. Clark also commended Ardern's ability to govern in the age of social media and endless crises, stating that "leaders like Jacinda don't come along too often, and we've lost one."

Ardern was set to deliver her valedictory speech on Wednesday after serving as prime minister for just over five years. Clark, herself a former Labour prime minister, told Morning Report that although she was happy for Ardern to have some free time, she was also saddened by her departure. Clark said, "You can't help feeling sad about her going. We've lost one [leader]".

Ardern acknowledged on Tuesday that she hoped her departure would "take a bit of heat out" of the conversation. Clark believes that the "relentless barrage of populism and division" has been generated by former US President Donald Trump and his supporters got to Ardern, stating that "conspiracies took hold, and suddenly you know, as the pandemic wore on here, I think the sort of relentless barrage from America… played out on our Parliament's front lawn, and it's very, very vitriolic and divisive."

New Zealand has come under global scrutiny for its authoritarian approach to pandemic management and the government's influence over the media and key institutions.
But in the country's elite academic circles the former leader is lauded as one of the nation's greatest leaders.

Political scientist Bronwyn Hayward of the University of Canterbury also praised Ardern, stating that her Christchurch Call to eliminate extremist content will have a long-lasting impact on not just New Zealand, but the world.

Hayward believes that Ardern was the first global leader to "really understand" how what happens online can "spill over into the real world" while critics point to concerns of mass online censorship.

She added that Ardern understands that democracies are under attack, and the front line is social media, a narrative often pushed by progressives in the United States.

Clark noted that one of the significant differences between Ardern's time as prime minister and her own is the existence of social media. According to her, she did not have to deal with social media during her time as prime minister. Clark joked that she didn't even know what Twitter was, stating that they used to have texts and pagers.

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