While she’s known for being cool, calm and collected, Jacinda Ardern has a limit when it comes to disorderly behaviour.
And the New Zealand Prime Minister made her tolerance of anti-vax hecklers clear on Tuesday when she abruptly ended an outdoor press conference.
Ms Ardern and Māori-Crown relations Minister Kelvin Davis were in Northland giving an update about the nation’s Covid vaccine rollout when she was interrupted by American Shane Chafin, from far-right talk show Counterspin Media.
‘We are all completely on the same page when it comes to driving vaccinations, and this is an issue,’ Ms Ardern said before Chafin cut in, yelling: ‘Why are the vaccines not working in Israel?’
The Prime Minister tried to continue her speech as Chafin shouted over the top of her several more times, repeating the same question.
Eventually she paused, responding: ‘Sir, I will shut down the press conference if this continues’.
As Chafin continued to grill her, Ms Ardern tactfully advised she would only answer questions by ‘accredited members of the media’ – before pulling the plug on the event when he failed to desist.
‘We have someone who is disrupting your press conference today, so we will reconvene,’ she told reporters.
Ms Ardern then walked off the podium as camera crews packed up to move the public briefing inside a nearby building.
Chafin, who claims to be a pharmacist and features on Counterspin media as the show’s ‘chief medical officer’, referred to Ms Ardern as ‘prime sinister’ as she left the press conference.
Earlier during the stand up, Chafin also asked Ms Ardern how many Kiwis had died from Covid-19.
So far, 6.8 million vaccine doses have been administered across New Zealand, with 76 per cent of the population fully-vaccinated.
There has only been one death linked to rare Pfizer side effect Myocardistis, but the cause has not yet been determined by the coroner.
The incident comes as New Zealand recorded 126 new locally-acquired Covid cases on Tuesday.
There are currently 49 Covid patients in hospital across the country, with three in ICU.