Australians are begging New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern to “invade” the country and take the reins from Scott Morrison as anger over his reaction to devastating bushfires continues to increase.
Frustrated Australian residents called on Ms Ardern to “please send leadership” days after Mr Morrison was heckled in the streets of Cobargo, in NSW’s southeast, which was flattened by fire.
“Can you please invade Australia? I for one would welcome our New Zealand overlords. Please send leadership,” one person wrote in a reply to Ms Ardern’s most recent Instagram post about the Australian bushfires.
She expressed her grief over the widespread effect fires were having and pledged her ongoing support and willingness to provide further support.
“It’s been devastating to watch from afar, I can only imagine what it feels like to experience it directly,” Ms Ardern’s post read.
“Next week New Zealand will send another team of 22 firefighters and logistical support to join the rotation of more than 150 kiwis that we have had working alongside our Australian counterparts since October.
“I’ve been in contact with the Australian PM again this week to share our support and to offer whatever we can to help. Australia stood by us through some horrific moments in 2019, and we’re here to do the same.”
‘Please toss our PM’
The heartfelt message was welcomed and praised by people in Australia, with many asking her to step in as the country’s leader.
“Please just toss our PM out and come here,” another added.
“Please do that. You would have fixed everything by now,” someone else wrote.
“Could we borrow you as well?” another said.
Father and son Robert and Patrick Salway lost their lives fighting bushfires in Cobargo earlier this week, days after a volunteer firefighter died in a truck crash involving a "fire tornado" on the Victoria-NSW border.
Eight people have died since Monday, taking the NSW bushfire death toll since July to 16, including three firefighters.
At least 449 homes have been destroyed on the south coast since New Year's Eve, with the number expected to increase as people returned to their properties.
Feelings about Ms Ardern’s leadership in comparison to Mr Morrison were also shared to Twitter.
One man quipped how Australians could “enter the new decade comforted and proud to have a truly people-focussed prime minister – one who has the guts to step up when needed, selflessly leading with compassion, honesty, integrity and humility – living so close to us in New Zealand”.
The tweet was re-shared more than 1000 times and attracted more than 70 replies – most applauding the man’s position and contributing further jokes of their own.
Fury was first aimed at Mr Morrison in connection to the bushfire crisis when he failed to call-off his family holiday to Hawaii.
He ended up cutting it short and apologised to Australians he had upset by being away during the latest bushfire emergency: “I apologise for that.”
On Friday he received a less hostile reception on arrival in the East Gippsland community of Lucknow with a shopping bag of groceries to meet bushfire survivors and volunteers.
The prime minister's contributions included energy drinks, a box of cereals, tinned fruit and biscuits.
Lynn Wallwork lost her home in the fires at Sarsfield and spoke to the prime minister.
“It's a tough road ahead,” Mr Morrison told her.
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