Coronavirus: The Atlantic praises Jacinda Ardern for putting New Zealand 'on track for success' in fight against COVID-19

Jacinda Ardern's handling of the COVID-19 pandemic has received praise from another major international publication - US magazine The Atlantic.

"New Zealand's Prime Minister may be the most effective leader on the planet", an article published on Monday on the magazine's website reads.

The story details how Ardern is "forging a path of her own" by employing a leadership style focused on empathy and "putting the country on track for success against coronavirus".

Writer Uri Friedman looks at how the Prime Minister combines formal stand-ups and "policies that have produced real, world-leading results" with a more casual "comfy-clothes" style of communicating with Kiwis using social media like Facebook Live while in a sweatshirt.

By taking decisive action early on in the outbreak, the country has put itself in a strong position to win the battle against COVID-19 and stamp out the virus, the article argues.

"The success, of course, isn’t all Ardern’s doing; it’s also the product of an impressive collective effort by public-health institutions, opposition politicians, and New Zealanders as a whole, who have largely abided by social-distancing restrictions," Friedman adds.

Despite its general positivity, the article did note the fact the Government has increasingly faced accusations of overreaction and pressure to ease the lockdown.

The article comes on the back of a number of other recent positive reviews of Ardern's performance.

Earlier this month CNN turned its spotlight on New Zealand's response in a segment carrying the banner "Lessons in leadership: New Zealand's virus response". 

CNN senior international correspondent Ivan Watson said the country was "setting a very ambitious goal, trying to eliminate the disease completely from its shores", adding that Ardern had "shown her softer side" to the country, and referencing the fact she had spoken on Facebook Live broadcasts in a sweatshirt.

The Washington Post also looked New Zealand's handling of the crisis, in an article written by acclaimed Kiwi journalist Anna Fifield, who currently serves as the Post's Beijing bureau chief.

"From the earliest stages, Ardern and her team have spoken in simple language: Stay home. Don't have contact with anyone outside your household 'bubble'. Be kind. We're all in this together," Fifield wrote.

She said the country's response had been "notably apolitical", and that those efforts "appear to be paying off".

Not all international press has been favourable though.

Political commentator Dr Bryce Edwards, writing for The Guardian, recently noted that the country's political system was being weakened by the Government's top-down decision making process.

"One of the ironies of putting the country into lockdown is we now have a system in which democracy is being debased," Dr Edwards wrote. "Civil liberties have been significantly curtailed, Parliament adjourned, and the normal operations of the media are greatly restricted, meaning less public access to information."

He added: "That means the combination of civil society, media and the parliamentary system that normally keeps a check on Government and authorities is now seriously's also dangerous for democracy and decision-making while the crisis is unresolved."

Dr Edwards referred to criticism levelled at the Government by Newshub journalist Michael Morrah, who has argued that "getting clear, timely answers to questions has frequently been an arduous and deeply frustrating process" and that there "appears to be a massive disconnect with what the public is being told, and what is actually happening on the ground".