Jacinda Ardern addresses the media. (Getty Images)
Jacinda Ardern addresses the media. (Getty Images)

PoliticsMarch 19, 2020

‘Unless you hear it from us it is not the truth’ – Ardern on the lockdown rumours

Jacinda Ardern addresses the media. (Getty Images)
Jacinda Ardern addresses the media. (Getty Images)

Throughout the day rumours have swept the country that NZ is on the brink of a lockdown. This afternoon, Jacinda Ardern has addressed them.

The prime minister, Jacinda Ardern, has urged New Zealanders to beware rumours circulating online.

“This is not unique to New Zealand. In the midst of what is a global issue, as you would expect, there are a number of rumours that circulate,” she told media in Rotorua.

“I am present on social media, I see it myself. I cannot go around and individually dismiss every single rumour I see on social media, as tempted as I might be. So instead I want to send a clear message to the New Zealand public: We will share with you the most up-to-date information daily. You can trust us as a source of information.”

One particular message has spread rapidly this morning, claiming to come from a parliamentary insider with knowledge of plans for a lockdown. Another version involved rumours said to have emanated from the Police.

Ardern said she was aware of the rumour. Asked about it by media in Rotorua, she said, “That’s the kind of thing that adds to the anxiety people feel … Do not panic – prepare. When you see those messages, remember that unless you hear it from us it is not the truth.”

Ardern urged people to consult the official government site, covid19.govt.nz, which is updated with the latest information.

Asked this afternoon about the rumours, New Zealand’s director-general of health, Ashley Bloomfield said: “Someone mentioned that to me as I was on my way in here, and that’s not something that I’ve heard discussed by anybody.”

On whether a lockdown was an option, he said: “We’ve seen other countries do that. When they have tended to do that is when they have a very high proportion of cases with community spread.”

As of today, New Zealand has yet to report any community spread.

For more, see The Spinoff’s live updates here.

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Mad Chapman, Editor
Aotearoa continues to adapt to a new reality and The Spinoff is right there, sorting fact from fiction to bring you the latest updates and biggest stories. Help us continue this coverage, and so much more, by supporting The Spinoff Members.Madeleine Chapman, EditorJoin Members

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