Last Updated on May 27, 2022
Jacinda Ardern, the far-left Prime Minister of New Zealand, received a standing ovation after linking strict gun control to the protection of democracy during a commencement speech at Harvard University. Under Ardern, New Zealand cracked down on gun ownership in response to the 2019 Christchurch mosque massacre.
“We knew we needed significant gun reform, and so that is what we did,” Ardern said. “But we also knew that if we wanted genuine solutions to the issue of violent extremism online, it would take government, civil society and the tech companies themselves to change the landscape.”
In response to the Christchurch massacre, New Zealand prohibited citizens from owning practically all semi-automatic firearms with the exception of rimfire rifles and anything .22 caliber or less. Guns that New Zealanders can actually own must also have a magazine that holds 10 rounds or less.
Ardern argued that disarming her citizens was a way of defending democracy and personal freedoms.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern gets a standing ovation when discussing how New Zealand passed laws to ban “military-style semi-automatics and assault rifles.”
— Bloomberg Quicktake (@Quicktake) May 27, 2022
Under Ardern’s leadership, New Zealand would go on to enact some of the world’s most draconian COVID measures. New Zealand pursued a “zero COVID” policy through early 2022 that imposed strict lockdowns on its citizens over minimal case numbers.
Unvaccinated citizens were later effectively barred from society, something which Ardern openly admitted to last October.
“So you’ve basically said, you probably don’t see it like this, but two different classes of people — if you’re vaccinated or unvaccinated. You have all these rights if you are vaccinated —” NZ Herald‘s deputy political editor Derek Cheng asked Ardern. “That’s what it is, yep,” the Labour Party leader replied.
“Actually, what has become clear to me, is that [vaccine certificates] are not just a tool to drive up vaccines. They’re a tool for confidence,” Ardern said, failing to mention that COVID-19 vaccines have failed to stop the spread. “People who have been vaccinated will want to know that they are around other vaccinated people. They’ll want to know that they are in a safe environment.”
After touching on gun control at Harvard, the New Zealand Prime Minister went on to claim that big-tech companies will play a massive role in countering “disinformation” and “extremism.”
“I’m not here to argue that social media is good, nor bad,” she said. “It’s a tool. And as with anything, it’s the rules of the game and the way we engage with it that matter. That means recognizing the role they play in constantly curating and shaping the online environments that we’re in — that algorithmic processes make choices and decisions for us, what we see and where we are directed, and that at best this means user experience is personalized and at worst it means it can be radicalized.”
“How you choose to engage with information, deal with conflict, or confront debate; how you choose to address being baited, or hated — it all matters,” she told the graduates, according to The Harvard Gazette. “The issues we navigate as a society will only intensify. The disinformation will only increase. The pull into the comfort of our tribes will be magnified. But we have it within us to ensure that this doesn’t mean we fracture.”
“The time has come for social media companies and other online providers to recognize their power and to act on it,” Ardern went on to say.
The prime minister was Harvard’s first commencement speaker since the pandemic began in early 2020.