I’ll be honest, this series hasn’t been very upbeat to date.
Firstly, we looked at Lebanon and the impact of the explosion in Beirut on the nation.
Then, we talked about Brazil and the devastating impact of their lack of leadership, leading to extreme loss during the COVID-19 pandemic.
So, today, I thought I would talk about arguably the best country in the world right now. That is New Zealand.
New Zealand’s response to the coronavirus pandemic has been the best in the world with only 1800 cases and 25 deaths in their population of 4.8 million. The World Health Organisation has even used New Zealand as an example of a country which has effectively communicated the pandemic to each community.
New Zealand, led by Jacinda Ardern, took an early and strict approach to combat COVID-19 as soon as the risk of transmission was witnessed around the world. The government implemented a stringent countrywide lockdown on March 26th and in early May, the virus was largely eradicated from New Zealand. Although another outbreak occurred, another round of strict lockdown stamped out the virus once again. Now, the government has allowed unrestricted gathering and no requirements for social distancing or masks.
Here is an image of the crowds at last weekend’s Bledisloe Cup game between New Zealand and Australia. Their life is now back to normal.
New Zealand’s courageous and effective approach to overcoming COVID-19 is set to have many long-term benefits. The nation is now giving business leaders confidence to invest, and New Zealand ranked strongly for political stability, the economic recovery, virus control and social resilience in Bloomberg’s market crisis management index. New Zealand is now the first choice for international investments, and that is huge for a small country.
There are many things that we can learn from New Zealand, but the primary conductor of the nation’s efforts was Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern. Her empathetic leadership and effective communication to the public enabled a sense of community and teamwork among New Zealanders as they overcame the virus. This was assisted by rapid, science-based risk assessment linked to early, decisive government action.
New Zealand suffered immensely during the opening months of the virus, but now their lives are back to normal, and their economy is open. I hope their approach can be an encouragement to other world leaders that it is possible to overcome the virus if they are courageous and decisive in their decision-making.
Congratulations New Zealand. We are jealous of your success, but you deserve it.