Prime Minister unbothered by press conference earthquake

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Jacinda Ardern stays calm as ground shakes during press conference earthquake

While announcing New Zealand’s plans for the future after lockdown, Jacinda Ardern had to contend with a force of nature to be heard. An earthquake measuring 5.9 on the Richter scale interrupted the post-Covid resolutions and had the PM gripping her podium as she made her announcements. Around the world per year, there are around 500 instances of the same magnitude as this press conference earthquake. 

Ardern was at the parliament building in Wellington talking to the press about the country’s new vaccination targets. The shaking took hold as a reporter asked her a question. She held her podium tightly and said: “Ah, sorry, a slight distraction – would you mind repeating that question?”

Geonet is a collaboration between the Earthquake Commission and GNS Science. They take in reports of earthquakes around New Zealand from the public. They say the press conference earthquake hit at a depth of 210km in the central North Island and no significant damage was recorded. Small earthquakes are a common occurrence in New Zealand with more than 1,350 over a magnitude 4 in the past year.

Ardern said at the close of the conference: “I have to say, [finance] minister [Grant] Robertson just said to me that he wanted to check whether or not it was wind – he wasn’t entirely convinced it was an earthquake. I would expect such a statement from the MP for Wellington Central.”


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Written by

Claire Gordon

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