When did Jacinda Ardern become New Zealand's Prime Minister and what has she said about the Christchurch terror attack?

When did Jacinda Ardern become New Zealand's Prime Minister and what has she said about the Christchurch terror attack?


JACINDA ARDERN is the 40th and current Prime Minister of New Zealand and is also the youngest female head of government on the planet.

She has just claimed a landslide general election victory, but when did she take office and how did she beat coronavirus in the country?

Who is Jacinda Ardern?

Jacinda Kate Laurell Ardern was born on July 26, 1980, in Hamilton, New Zealand, the daughter of a police officer and a school catering assistant.

She joined New Zealand's Labour Party and became an active member in the Young Labour movement at an early stage in her life.

When she graduated from the University of Waikato with a degree in politics and public relations, Ardern moved to London to work as a senior policy adviser to Tony Blair.

She returned to New Zealand to become the youngest MP in its parliament in 2008 where she quickly rose through the ranks to become leader of the opposition by August 2017.

Although the National party won the highest share of the vote in the 2017 general election, it did not have enough seats to govern alone.

Instead, a coalition was established between New Zealand First and the Labour Party, naming Jacinda Ardern Prime Minister on October 26, 2017.

She is the third female Prime Minister of New Zealand and in June 2018 she became the second elected head of government in history to give birth while in office.

Ardern's political views have been described as progressive, social democratic and feminist.

Although she was raised a Mormon, she left the church in 2005 because it conflicted with her support for gay rights.

Ardern has been in a relationship with broadcaster Clarke Gayford since 2013, and during the Easter 2019 weekend he proposed.

Their daughter, Neve Te Aroha, was born on June 24, 2018.

Her spokesman confirmed they got engaged over the holiday weekend.

Speculation surrounding their engagement was rife after a journalism intern spotted a ring on Ardern's finger.

How did she help beat coronavirus in New Zealand?

New Zealand are among the few countries that have all-but swept away coronavirus from their shores.

Jacinda Ardern and the NZ government have been praised for their quick reactions to dealing with the killer bug.

They imposed a lockdown on March 25 when they had 205 positive cases and no deaths.

By comparison, Boris Johnson initiated lockdown measures two days earlier when the UK had 6,650 new cases and 335 deaths.

Just 13 people have died so far in the Oceanic country, with the Prime Minister being personally briefed on each death.

But vaccine expert Helen Petousis-Harris at the University of Auckland has said that the virus "doesn't have superpowers."

She added: "New Zealand got everything right.

"Decisive action, with strong leadership and very clear communications to everybody."

Ardern now hopes to end total lockdown before May, with an easing of measures should the elimination progress be maintained.

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