New Zealand PM Jacinda Ardern’s Live Interview Interrupted By 5.8 Magnitude Earthquake

by : Cameron Frew on : 25 May 2020 08:16


New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern was rudely interrupted in the middle of a live interview… by an earthquake. 

The PM had been appearing on The AM Show this morning, May 25, discussing news related to the country’s post-pandemic plans after several days of zero new cases.


However, her interview was briefly put on pause when the earth began to shake. Unsurprisingly, Ardern kept her cool throughout the quake.

New Zealand Quake Jacinda ArdernThe AM Show

Ardern was speaking from Parliament in Wellington when the 5.8 magnitude quake struck just before 8am. As it hit, the PM calmly said with a smile: ‘We’re just having a bit of a quake here, Ryan… quite a decent shake. If you see things moving behind me, the Beehive moves a little more than most.’

After the show’s host implored to check she was safe to continue the interview, Ardern replied: ‘I’m not under any hanging lights, I look like I’m in a structurally sound place.’

New Zealand Quake Jacinda ArdernThe AM Show

Today’s earthquake specifically struck around 30km north-west of Levin at a depth of 29km, as per GeoNet, the country’s seismology agency. The tremor lasted for around 30 seconds and felt by thousands of New Zealanders, even knocking items off people’s shelves – thankfully, there’s been no reports of major injuries or damage.

Soon after at the daily press briefing, when asked what she was thinking during the quake, the PM replied: ‘Are you serious? That was what was going through my head.’

Ardern is a political leader associated with handling issues with ease, whether it be the outbreak or the fallout of the 2019 Christchurch shooting. On her live response to the quake, one user wrote: ‘I’d praise her coolness under pressure, but I just assume the very earth itself knows not to mess with her at this point and stopped out of respect.’


Another user tweeted: ‘Handling an earthquake like she handles everything else: perfectly.’ A third viewer from the UK added: ‘Always good to have someone who’s cool and calm at the helm in a crisis, New Zealand has Jacinda Ardern, unfortunately we have Boris Johnson…’

New Zealand sits on the prolific Ring of Fire, a Pacific hotspot for volcanic and earthquake activity. Across the country, it’s estimated there are more than 15,000 earthquakes every year, albeit only 100-150 can actually be felt.

Back in 2011, an earthquake in Christchurch killed 185 people, as well as injuring anywhere between 1,500-2,000 people and causing significant structural damage to the city.

Christchurch New ZealandPA Images

In New Zealand, there have been 1,504 confirmed cases of the virus with 21 deaths. While normality is slowly resuming for people across the country, Ardern is playing it safe for now. ‘We do still have risk, we do still have people travelling into the country… We do still have cases active in New Zealand, so we can’t be complacent,’ she said.

As the ground shook, Ardern stood firm – if that’s not a metaphor for her political tenure, I don’t know what is.

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Cameron Frew

After graduating from Glasgow Caledonian University with an NCTJ and BJTC-accredited Multimedia Journalism degree, Cameron ventured into the world of print journalism at The National, while also working as a freelance film journalist on the side, becoming an accredited Rotten Tomatoes critic in the process. He's now left his Scottish homelands and taken up residence at UNILAD as a journalist.

Topics: News, Earthquake, Jacinda Ardern, New Zealand, prime minister


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    The AM Show

  2. GeoNet

    Recent Quakes