Jacinda Ardern keeps her cool as earthquake hits New Zealand during live interview


Jacinda Ardern kept her cool as an earthquake struck as she was giving a live interview.

The 5.8 magnitude quake hit Wellington as New Zealand's Prime Minister was in the middle of a broadcast - but she was undaunted and calmly continued with the programme.

Wellington and nearby areas were shaken by a 5.8 magnitude earthquake with the epicentre 30 km (20 miles) northwest of Levin, a city close to the capital, and at a depth of 37 km, according to Geonet.

Her calm approach to the incident has only heightened her popularity as her approval rating soars following her handling of several crises - a mass shooting in Christchurch last year, a volcanic eruption in December and the recent coronavirus pandemic.

New Zealand's Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern kept her cool as an earthquake struck during a live interview

Ardern, who became PM in 2017, was speaking on a live TV interview at the time from the parliament building, called the Beehive.

"We're just having a bit of an earthquake here, Ryan...," she told the host of the show Ryan Bridge, as she, the camera and other things around her shook.

"Quite a decent shake here...if you see things moving behind me. The Beehive moves a little more than most," she said.

Ardern assured the host that she was safe and the interview resumed.

"We are fine, I'm not under any hanging lights and I look like I am in a structurally strong place," she added.

She reassured viewers during the quake that lasted 30 seconds

The video soon went viral on social media.

Although the quake caused no damages or injuries were reported, it lasted for more than 30 seconds and caused panic in Wellington with several people in offices and homes getting under their tables for cover.

Meanwhile, Ardern remains the one to beat as New Zealand heads toward a general election.

The leader of the main opposition party was ousted on Friday after opinion polls showed he was no match for her soaring popularity.

Simon Bridges was replaced by Todd Muller in an emergency caucus meeting of his centre-right National Party following a week of disastrous poll results.

Just 5% of New Zealanders supported Bridges, 43, as the country's leader in a poll published on Thursday, while support for the Nationals fell to the lowest in decades. The same poll revealed Ardern, 39, enjoyed the support of 63% of the electorate.

Ardern's popularity has shot higher in recent weeks with around 84% of New Zealanders approving of her government's handling of the coronavirus pandemic.

Another poll showed Ardern had become New Zealand's most popular prime minister in a century and her centre-left Labour Party led coalition would be handed a huge victory at the election on September.