‘Sorry, slight distraction’: Jacinda Ardern is unfazed as earthquake interrupts press conference

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New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern was interrupted by a mid-term earthquake heralding the country’s plans for a post-Covid future.

The 5.9 earthquake rocked parliament in Wellington on Friday as Ardern held a press conference on the country’s new vaccination targets.

The shaking started halfway through a reporter’s question at the press conference. Ardern gripped her podium as the shaking began, before turning back to the reporter with a smile: “Ah, sorry, a slight distraction – would you mind repeating that question?” “

According to Geonet, the 5.9 magnitude earthquake struck at a depth of 210 km in the center of the North Island. Geonet, which collects reports from the public on the earthquakes, said 25,000 people had reported having quivered. No significant damage was recorded.

Small earthquakes are a regular experience in New Zealand, especially Wellington. Geonet has recorded more than 1,350 magnitude 4 earthquakes in the past year.

Friday’s tremors were mild enough that the Deputy Prime Minister wondered if they were in fact particularly strong winds. Ardern said at the end of the conference: “I must say, [finance] Minister [Grant] Robertson just told me he wanted to check if it was wind or not – he wasn’t entirely convinced it was an earthquake. I would expect such a statement from the member for Wellington Central.

Ardern has been struck by earthquakes before in live interviews, with furniture shaking noticeably around her.

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