New Zealand PM Jacinda Ardern continues live speech even after earthquake

WION Web Team
New DelhiUpdated: Oct 22, 2021, 02:58 PM IST

New Zealand's Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern (file photo) Photograph:(AFP)

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Wellintgton and nearby areas were struck by a 5.9 intensity earthquake. PM Jacinda Ardern paused briefly but continued her speech

Incumbent rulers are often hated by citizens in most countries but New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has been an exception so far. From working even when pregnant to successfully managing pandemic situation in the country, she is often hailed as an ideal political leader.

She is in news again for continuing her live speech even when an earthquake interrupted the proceedings. She paused briefly, but then continued her address to the nation on coronavirus.

Wellington and nearby areas were shaken by a 5.9 magnitude earthquake with the epicentre 35 km (21.75 miles) south-west of Taumarunui in central North Island, according to Geonet. While the shaking was felt widely there were no reports of damages or injuries. The U.S. Geological Survey put the magnitude at 5.6.

Ardern briefly grabbed her podium when the shaking began, smiled, and told a reporter asking a question: "Sorry, a slight distraction ... would you mind repeating that question?"

She told reporters at the end of the event that Deputy Prime Minister Grant Robertson, who was also on the stage, was not entirely convinced it was an earthquake and wondered if it was just strong wind blowing.

New Zealand often experiences weak to medium intensity earthquakes as it lies on the seismically active "Ring of Fire", a 40,000-km (24,855-mile) arc of volcanoes and ocean trenches girdling much of the Pacific Ocean.

The city of Christchurch is still recovering from a 6.3 magnitude quake in 2011 that killed 185 people.

In 2016, a 7.8 magnitude tremor hit the South Island town of Kaikoura, killing two and causing billions of dollars worth of damage, including in the capital Wellington, which is on North Island.

(With inputs from agencies)