US paper’s mighty Ardern article

Jacinda Ardern is the kind of leader the United States is crying out for says a New York Times editorial after the New Zealand prime minister moved swiftly to ban military-style weapons in the wake of the Christchurch massacre.

Within a week of the murder of 50 Muslim worshippers, allegedly at the hand of an Australian white supremacist, the 38-year-old announced the ban on all semiautomatic weapons as well as a sales restriction to prevent stockpiling before the new laws could be brought into effect.

"The attacker on 15 March took a significant number of lives using primarily two guns," Ms Ardern said on Thursday.

The New York Times editorial noted a weapons ban is policy the US has failed to enact after countless mass shootings on its home turf.

"That attitude stood in stark contrast to the way the National Rifle Association and its political allies in the United States have resisted any restrictions on weapons like the AR-15, the semiautomatic rifle used in several mass killings," the piece said.

"In New Zealand, it took one mass shooting to awaken the government."

But the ban wasn't the only display of leadership praised by the publication as "what leadership looks like in time of crisis".

The editorial reserved adoration for Ms Ardern who donned a headscarf and visited victims' families, speaking with genuine compassion and without script.

"Let New Zealand be a place where there is no tolerance for racism. Ever," she told grieving families.

"We cannot know your grief, but we can walk with you at every stage."

The New York Times noted Ms Ardern's comments to parliament where she called out social media sites for their role in spewing hate and images of violence.

"We cannot simply sit back and accept that these platforms just exist and that what is said on them is not the responsibility of the place where they are published," the New Zealand prime minister said.

"It cannot be a case of all profit, no responsibility."

While the New York Times editorial questioned what action could be taken against Facebook and Twitter, it admired the stance.

"She made clear that she believed that those social media platforms, like gun manufacturers and dealers, bore some responsibility for the carnage visited on Christchurch and so many communities in recent years," the editorial said.

"After this and any such atrocity, the world's leaders should unite in clearly condemning racism, sharing in the grief of the victims and stripping the haters of their weapons.

"Ms. Ardern has shown the way."

The New Zealand leader received adoration of a different kind over in the United Arab Emirates where the world's tallest building displayed an image of Ms Ardern.

The 829-metre-tall skyscraper in Dubai was lit-up with the small country's prime minister with UAE prime minister and vice-president, Sheik Mohammed, tweeting a message of support to the country on the other side of the world.

"New Zealand today fell silent in honour of the mosque attacks' martyrs," the tweet read.

"Thank you PM Jacinda Ardern and New Zealand for your sincere empathy and support that has won the respect of 1.5 billion Muslims after the terrorist attack that shook the Muslim community around the world."

Continue the conversation on Twitter @James_P_Hall or james.hall1@news.com.au


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