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New Zealand PM: Holds Press Conference for Children

Updated: Aug 14, 2020

Exclusive | Georgie Chantrell-Plant reveals how Jacinda Arden has engaged the generations of the future by holding a press conference just for children. | Societal and Consciousness

Photo by Kelly Sikkema

In the midst of the current pandemic, we are endlessly surrounded by press conferences and international uncertainty. However, New Zealand PM, Jacinda Arden, has taken a refreshing standpoint.

Heavily inspired by Norweigan PM, Erna Solberg, by holding a press conference about Coronavirius, but with children asking all the questions on what is needed to protect themselves and their family members.

A lot of the time, the opinions of children are often pushed to the side, but what this conference highlights is the vital importance of the next generations views and questions, after all, it is their future and inheritance that's at stake.

A Call to Action

Arden took to Instagram to post about the press conference and the motivations behind it with the caption:

“Kids ask a lot of questions most of the time, and right now they understandably have plenty about COVID-19.That’s why we put on a press conference just for children and their questions.”

The post has prompted a wave of support and admiration from the public, praising the initiative behind the conference.

Transparency between governments and their populations is necessary in times like these, but it is often lacking, especially for young people. This dedicated broadcast for the children of New Zealand is a big step towards the realisation of how important communication and openness is for all groups in society.

Children are the least likely group to be severely affected by Covid-19, and show fewer symptoms than their elderly relatives, who are at a considerably higher risk. They can still catch and transmit the virus, but their symptoms are significantly milder.

However, they can still be impacted and left confused by the threat of not seeing grandparents or other relatives for long stretches of time, and even the loss of loved-ones in such tragic circumstances. It's important that they understand the nature of the virus, and what are the best ways to stop the spread, rather than being overlooked just because they are a low-risk group.

A Helping Hand

The PM was flanked by scientist Dr Michelle Dickinson, who specialises in science communication for children, and microbiologist Dr Siouxsie Wiles, who works tirelessly to provide advice and tips on how to help stop the spread of Covid-19. Dickinson hailed the conference as a “Total Success”, taking pride in helping the young people of New Zealand understand the virus better by using her skills to “contribute to helping.”

This conference shows the importance of wider communities banding together in order to prevent further spread of the virus. By allowing the younger generation to voice their concerns and questions, they are offered a bright light in a somewhat murky world.

Information and facts are needed more than ever in the endless narrative of advice and recommendations, and involving children in clear and scientifically correct discussions about the disease could prove to be paramount in helping combat Coronavirus.

What Next for Arden

Jacinda Arden’s approach to the virus so far has been the introduction of a relief package of $11.9 billion, wage guarantees and tax relief and those in isolation. At the time of this conference, New Zealand only had 28 reported cases of the virus, but still implemented increased border restrictions. This number has now increased to past 450 cases.

Arden is now implementing a nationwide lockdown anticipated to last for a month at the least. In her state address given on Monday to announce the measures, she implored, “Kiwis - go home”, as she stated that she is “not willing to place the lives of citizens in danger.” She leaves the citizens of New Zealand with one final instruction, instilling some much-needed hope: “Be strong, but be kind.”


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