PM Lee, in his Facebook post, said Ms Ardern had shown great dedication and leadership as prime minister, a role she took on after winning the election in 2017. He noted that she had steered her country through crises such as the Covid-19 pandemic and the Christchurch mosque attacks in 2019 which left 51 people dead.
He added that Ms Ardern has been a steadfast friend to Singapore and he had met her many times in person and at international fora and had also kept in touch regularly during the pandemic to “share experiences and exchange notes, and ensure that supply lines stayed open between our countries”.
As countries closed borders and stopped trade when Covid-19 hit, New Zealand had sent essential supplies to Singapore under a Declaration of Trade in Essential Goods for Combating the Covid-19 Pandemic, inked between both countries to expedite and facilitate the flow of essential supplies through air and sea ports during the pandemic.
Singapore and New Zealand had upgraded ties during Ms Ardern’s first official visit to Singapore in 2019, with the establishment of the SG-NZ Enhanced Partnership, and later in her next visit in 2022 had expanded the partnership to include cooperation in climate change and the green economy, noted PM Lee.
“I thank PM Ardern for her strong partnership, support and good humour,” he said.