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'Are you serious?' - Jacinda Ardern laughs off earthquake striking mid-interview

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says her immediate reaction to an earthquake rattling her during a live TV interview was "are you serious?!"

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The Prime Minister says she kept going with the interview rather than seeking cover because there isn’t much shelter in the room Source: 1 NEWS

Ms Ardern was in the middle of a live interview on MediaWorks' The AM Show this morning when a magnitude 5.8 earthquake struck near Levin.

More than 36,000 people reported feeling the shaking, largely in Wellington and central New Zealand.

Addressing the moment during her post-Cabinet press conference today, Ms Ardern laughed off the shake.

She says her immediate reaction to the quake was "are you serious?!"

The Prime Minister chose to keep going with the interview rather than seeking cover, partly because she says it's not easy to tell the severity of a quake in the Beehive.

"There's not a lot to drop, cover and hold under in that precise spot - in fact, in this room," Ms Ardern says.

"It's not always easy to get a real sense of the magnitude of an earthquake in here because of the base isolators.

"You can tend to move a little bit more than the quake implies, in terms of strength."

There haven't yet been any indications of damage at Parliament due to the quake, Ms Ardern says.

Read More:
'A nasty jolt' - Wellington rocked by early morning quake

The earthquake struck at 7.53am and was around 37km deep. 

It's been followed by more than 45 aftershocks, ranging from 'weak' to 'light', GeoNet reports.

Within the last year as Prime Minister, Ms Ardern has led the country through the fatal Whakaari/White Island volcano eruption and the worldwide Covid-19 pandemic.