During the pandemic, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern repeatedly declared her government to be her citizens’ only source of truth on COVID-19 and the vaccines.
Her insistence that the experimental shots were effective at stopping infection and transmission – Ardern herself is among countless “fully vaccinated” world leaders and public figures who have tested positive for COVID-19 – is false.
Yet, last November her response to a question from a reporter who cited data from Israel and the United Kingdom demonstrating the ineffectiveness of the vaccines was to shut down the news conference, declaring she would take questions only from “accredited media.”
Now, in an address to the United Nations in New York City, Ardern has made it clear that she regards the freedom of speech exercised on the internet as a “weapon of war.”
The prime minister announced a new initiative, in partnership with companies and non-profits, to address “mis- and disinformation online,” calling it a “challenge that we must as leaders address.”
Ardern, in her address Friday, admitted there’s a concern “that even the most light-touch approaches to disinformation could be misinterpreted as being hostile to the values of free speech that we value so highly.”
“But while I cannot tell you today what the answer is to this challenge, I can say with complete certainty that we cannot ignore it,” she said. “To do so poses an equal threat to the norms we all value.”
The prime minister then rattled off a list of issues for which establishment politicians and media have created a narrative they largely are unwilling to debate, dismissing any counter-narratives as “conspiracies” or “racist.”
“After all, how do you successfully end a war if people are led to believe the reason for its existence is not only legal but noble? How do you tackle climate change if people do not believe it exists? How do you ensure the human rights of others are upheld, when they are subjected to the hateful and dangerous rhetoric and ideology?” she asked.
She described online speech that conflicts with the government’s narrative as a weapon.
“The weapons may be different but the goals of those who perpetrate them are often the same. To cause chaos and reduce the ability of others to defend themselves. To disband communities. To collapse the collective strength of countries who work together,” Ardern said.
She told the leaders they should not “feel disheartened,” because “for every new weapon we face, there is a new tool to overcome it.”
They have “the means” to stop free speech online, she said, they “just need the collective will.”
Reacting to the speech, Glenn Greenwald, co-founder of The Intercept, called Ardern “the face of authoritarianism – even though it looks different than you were taught to expect.”
“And it’s the mindset of tyrants everywhere,” he wrote on Twitter. “This is someone so inebriated by her sense of righteousness and superiority that she views dissent as an evil too dangerous to allow.”
During a news conference in March 2020, Ardern said that anyone who hears a “COVID-19 rumor” should go to the government’s pandemic webpage, “otherwise dismiss anything else.”
“We will continue to be your single source of truth,” she said.
In November 2021, Ardern shut down an outdoor news conference when she was asked why she was still pushing the vaccine despite government data from Israel, the U.K., and other places showing it to be ineffective at stopping infection and transmission.
Ardern refused to answer the question, saying the journalist was not from “accredited media.” She told reporters the news conference would be moved indoors where, presumably, unacceptable media members could be kept out.
Biden combats Americans who ‘weaponize’ information
The Biden administration, after “pausing” its plan in May to establish a Disinformation Governance Board described by critics as “Orwellian,” declared it would continue to combat “disinformation.”
The board’s executive director, Nina Jankowicz, once branded parents who voice their concern to school boards about the teaching of Critical Race Theory as disinformers “weaponizing” the issue “for profit.”
In March, Biden’s surgeon general demanded that the major social media companies submit detailed information about the COVID-19 “misinformation” on their platforms.
In February, as WND reported the Department of Homeland Security issued a bulletin naming the “proliferation of false or misleading narratives” regarding COVID-19 and the 2020 election as among the top terror threats.