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Earthquake interrupts New Zealand’s Jacinda Ardern in live interview



  • New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern was speaking live on TV when a 5.8 magnitude earthquake hit on Monday morning.
  • Ardern seemed unflustered, noting to the interviewer: “We’re just having a bit of an earthquake here, Ryan. Quite a decent shake here.”
  • Ardern said not to worry if it looked like the building was moving behind her, and smiled as she said she could continue the interview.
  • Some are drawing parallels between her cool response towards the earthquake and her leadership as New Zealand declared success over the coronavirus.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern appeared unflustered as she was interrupted by an earthquake during a live TV interview on Monday morning.

Ardern was speaking to Newshub’s AM Show, a morning news show, just before 8 a.m. when a 5.8 magnitude earthquake hit near the town of Levin.

Almost 40,000 people felt the earthquake, The New Zealand Herald reported, and many rushed to reach cover. No major damage or fatalities have been reported.

Ardern was giving the interview an hour away in Wellington, the country’s capital, but seemed unflustered.

As the earthquake hit, she interrupted the interview host, Ryan Bridge, to note while smiling: “We’re just having a bit of an earthquake here, Ryan. Quite a decent shake here.”

Jacinda Ardern

Ardern smiled as she noted that an earthquake was taking place.


She added that Bridge shouldn’t worry “if you see things moving behind me,” as the parliament building she was speaking from, called the Beehive, “moves a little more than most.”

She continued the interview after the shaking stopped, saying while smiling: “We’re fine”

“I’m not under any hanging lights. I look like I’m in a structurally strong place,” she said.

You can watch the moment here:


Ardern later told reporters that her first thought when the earthquake hit was: “Are you serious?” 

A 5.8 magnitude earthquake can damage buildings that are not well constructed, and is typically felt by everyone in the area. Typically only a few hundred earthquakes of this intensity take place a year.

Ardern’s cool response to the earthquake has won her praise, adding to her image as a seemingly unflappable leader.

Many connected her collected response to the praise she has received for how her country has handled the coronavirus pandemic.

New Zealand said in April that it had eliminated community spread of the virus.



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