Today marks over one month since terror fell upon the city of Christchurch, New Zealand. In the face of such ugliness, we saw a spectacular unification of people – from government, to survivors, and to society at large. Evil was ultimately trumped by compassion and kindness and while the events of that day will forever be etched in our memories, it’s the solidarity that will be remembered the most.
Once again, NZ Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has demonstrated a level of dignified governance second to none. Her government has announced the rollout of a special visa category offered to victims of the Christchurch terror attacks, as well as their immediate families. The Christchurch Response (2019) category will grant student, work or resident visa holders who were at the Masjid Al Noor and Linwood mosques on 15 March with permanent residency. Victims are able to apply for the visas as of today.
Ardern has admirably – and routinely – chosen to emphasise the strength and solidarity that arises after tragedy and, through such a response, has worked to make New Zealand a physical and metaphorical home to all. News of the special visa category also wasn’t married with widespread media coverage; we couldn’t find a tweet or an article about it. This only indicates Ardern is performing her governance with genuine intentions, not with the usual political rigmarole we see on the home front.
As well as symbolising inclusivity in a political climate that direly needs it, Ardern’s policymaking and governance post-Christchurch attacks represent a standard of leadership our own Australian leaders should be striving for.
Simultaneously, Ardern embodies a kind of leadership we, as voters, should be striving to support.
News of the visa comes after Melbourne’s decision to grant a crowdfunding effort for an image of Ardern painted onto a silo. More than $11k was raised to paint the mural, in which Ardern is pictured embracing victims’ families in a headscarf. It’s a humbling outcome to an act that caused a wave of unjustified criticism.
It took just one day for a crowdfunding group to reach their funding goal for a project to paint an iconic image of Jacinda Ardern on a silo in Melbourne. https://t.co/CmO3YjUEbA
— SBS News (@SBSNews) April 23, 2019
We can only hope that prospective Australian leaders can learn from Ardern that compassion is an election-winning quality.
Image Source: @SBSNews, @ALHIBAHTRUST.