New Zealand’s Jacinda Ardern has clashed with a TV host during a heated interview about easing the country’s coronavirus lockdown.
Ms Ardern’s quick-witted quip to shut down persistent questioning by host Duncan Garner while appearing on The AM Show earlier this week has since gone viral.
With the country seeing two days of zero COVID-19 cases over the weekend, Mr Garner repeatedly asked Ms Ardern what it would take for her to agree to easing lockdown rules.
To which Ms Ardern replied: “I didn’t realise you were an epidemiologist – congratulations on your new qualification”. She then appeared to laugh.
“If you wanna get personal then that’s fine, but I’m just asking a question,” Garner interrupted.
New Zealand eased restrictions to level three last week, allowing for some businesses to re-open, but they must not have contact with customers.
Ms Ardern said she is looking at the case numbers to give her guidance.
“When we move, we need do it confidently. We still have cases from last week that are under investigation and I take every single one of them seriously.
“We want to do it once and do it right instead of yo-yoing so people are out of work for a longer period of time.”
Garner had continually pushed the prime minister during the awkward interview, in which they frequently clashed, asking her what figure she is looking for to move the country to level two.
“All the international experts are saying that this is going to be the new normal for months and months and months,” he said.
Ms Ardern reiterated that she was focused on the economy.
“I am desperately concerned about people’s employment, I’m also desperately concerned about their lives,” Ms Ardern said.
“Our job is to make sure that we do the best thing for both and it just so happens our strategy is focused on both.
“So I am going to listen to the evidence and the advice and the data.”
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