New Zealand PM unfazed as earthquake hits during interview

New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern was left unrattled when an earthquake struck during a live TV interview on Monday morning.

The 5.8 magnitude shake left others running for cover – but a smiling Ardern barely skipped a beat when it hit at the parliament complex in Wellington just before 8am.

Glancing around the room, she told Newshub host Ryan Bridge: ‘We’re just having a bit of an earthquake here Ryan, quite a decent shake here.

‘But, um, if you see things moving behind me. The beehive moves a little more than most.’

When asked whether she was safe and happy to continue, Ardern said: ‘Yes, no, it’s just stopped.

‘No, we’re fine Ryan, I’m not under any hanging lights and I look like I’m in a structurally sound place.’

There were no reports of injuries or major damage from the earthquake, which was 23 miles (37km) deep.

The epicentre was 18.6m (30km) northwest of Levin, a city in the country’s North Island close to Wellington, according to GeoNet.

Ardern’s calm reaction impressed the public, with one person on Twitter describing her as ‘truly cool as a cucumber’.

Someone else wrote: ‘Yet another reason why Jacinda Ardern is the world’s favourite leader #unflappable.’

Another added: ‘How cool is #NewZealand’s PM @jacindaardern? Interview interrupted by a pesky #Earthquake but she carries on regardless…’

The New Zealand PM has also been praised for her quick response to the coronavirus crisis, with only 21 deaths and 1,504 cases in the country.

On Monday, she eased lockdown restrictions on public gatherings, announcing that people would be able to congregate in groups of up to 100.

The nation’s setting is now at level two, but authorities will consider a move to the lowest setting level one on June 8.

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