'Empathy in a crisis' - Jacinda Ardern's Covid-19 leadership praised by international media

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is receiving international praise for her Covid-19 response and leadership.

Jacinda Ardern Source: Getty

In an article by The Atlantic titled "New Zealand’s Prime Minister May Be the Most Effective Leader on the Planet", its author Uri Friedman praises her leadership style that is “focused on empathy”. 

“Her leadership style is one of empathy in a crisis that tempts people to fend for themselves,” he wrote.

“Her messages are clear, consistent, and somehow simultaneously sobering and soothing.”

Friedman also praised the Prime Minister’s Facebook Live chats for being both “informal and informative”.

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Jacinda Ardern said it would assist with the country's contact tracing regime. Source: 1 NEWS

“The success, of course, isn’t all Ardern’s doing; it’s also the product of an impressive collective effort by public-health institutions, opposition politicians, and New Zealanders as a whole, who have largely abided by social-distancing restrictions,” he said.

Van Jackson, an international relations scholar at Victoria University, said in the article the Alert Level system allowed people to get “ready psychologically for a step-up in seriousness” in comparison to US President Donald Trump’s “‘What will I do today?’ approach”.

Meanwhile, a Financial Times opinion piece titled "Arise Saint Jacinda, a leader for our troubled times", said Ms Ardern offered lessons in leadership.

“Ms Ardern has been a model of compassionate leadership in this crisis,” wrote Pilita Clark.

She also praised New Zealand’s “smart policies” including the funding of wider footpaths to help with social distancing, home-school TV channels and the country’s efforts to improve access to laptops and the internet.

“Yet the main point is not just that she is caring and outwardly normal. She is also clearly competent at a time when so many others are not,” Clark said of Ms Ardern.