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Following comments by Donald Trump that New Zealand was dealing with a “big surge” of new Covid-19 cases, Kiwis have snapped back with some light social media trolling under the hashtag #NZhellhole, which has trended at number two on New Zealand Twitter.
When did this all start?
In mid-August the US President began calling out New Zealand in his campaign speeches, arguing that America wasn’t the only country battling a Covid outbreak. His words on New Zealand’s Auckland cluster – which arose after the country had gone more than 100 days with no community transmission – were derisive. They were also untrue: on the day he first made them, New Zealand recorded nine new cases of Covid-19 while the US reported nearly 42,000.
“The places they were using to hold up, now they’re having a big surge,” Trump said at an airport rally in Mankato, Minnesota. “They were holding up names of countries and now they’re saying whoops!
“Do you see what’s happening in New Zealand? They beat it, they beat it, it was like front-page news because they wanted to show me something,” Trump said.
How did New Zealand respond?
The prime minister, Jacinda Ardern, disputed Trump’s claims and hit back with a barrage of statistics debunking his “big surge” label. She said the situations in the two countries were “not comparable” with just 22 people at the time having died from Covid-19 in New Zealand, compared with more than 170,000 in the US, the highest death toll in the world.
“It’s not just whether you have cases, it’s how you choose to deal with them as a nation, and I am personally very proud of how New Zealanders have taken to the battle with Covid-19,” Ardern said.
New Zealanders jumped on social media and began tweeting images of the country’s renowned beauty, using the ironic hashtag #NZhellhole. People tweeted the Southern Alps, Hobbiton and Milford Sound, as well as more intimate pictures of their spring backyards, local beaches and Fathers’ Day picnics.
Captions took the tone of complaints – tongue firmly in cheek – about the fresh air, lack of traffic, and the birdsong.
How popular has it become – and has Trump noticed?
Thousands of people have joined in, with the hashtag trending repeatedly on New Zealand Twitter in the last month. The enduring popularity of #NZhellhole suggests it may be helping Kiwis enjoy and appreciate their own backyards, with the borders remaining firmly closed and many having to adjust to a more confined and domestic way of life.
There’s no sign yet that Trump has spotted the posts but he has been tagged in many of them.
Source: The Guardian
Keyword: #NZhellhole: how Kiwis are hitting back at Trump’s Covid taunts | New Zealand