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New Zealand's Prime Minister Crowds Interpreter but Isn't Rattled by Earthquake During Bumpy Press Conference

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Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern introduces a new traffic light system when dealing with Covid-19 onwards the Banquet Hall in Parliament on October 22, 2021 in Wellington, New Zealand.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern introduces a new traffic light system when dealing with Covid-19 onwards the Banquet Hall in Parliament on October 22, 2021 in Wellington, New Zealand.

Rpbert Kitchin/Getty

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is commenting on a rather bumpy press conference.

After addressing journalists last week about the country's COVID-19 response, Ardern, 41, moved away from the podium to make way so Deputy Prime Minister Grant Robertson could speak. While doing so, she inadvertently crowded out a sign-language interpreter, who was forced to move aside.

The awkward moment went viral, with some social media users criticizing Ardern — though in footage the prime minister can be seen making room for the interpreter and offering a deferential nod and a smile.­­­

The interpreter moved back in front of the camera behind the prime minister, hoping to avoid any disruptions to viewers relying on her for information.

"She was to my left and I was trying to not get in the way of my colleagues and cross over them and maintain social distance," Ardern told reporters on Tuesday, according to Newshub.

"But of course, in doing so, I cut her off — not intentionally, as you can imagine," Ardern continued, 'and I apologized to her at the time."

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During the same press conference, a 5.9-magnitude earthquake briefly rumbled and visibly shook the room. The prime minister (not for the first time) paused and gripped the podium but kept her cool.

"Sorry, a slight distraction," she said with a smile to a reporter in the room. "Would you mind repeating that question?"

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