New statistics have shown that New Zealand now has the most powerful passport in the world, and it seems there's a big reason as to why...

It's safe to say that many people are envious of New Zealand right now.

And much of that is down to the leadership of their Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern.

Ardern became Prime Minister in 2017. 

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And she immediately stood out from the rest.

For instance, when it comes to how world leaders have responded to the pandemic...

Ardern's approach is certainly one of the most celebrated, especially when it comes down to how fast she acted.

The way she's navigated the pandemic has been heavily praised...

According to Vogue, a recent poll found that Ardern is the country’s most popular leader in a hundred years, with ninety-two percent of respondents saying they support the measures she has implemented.

But, let's put the pandemic aside for a second.

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There are a whole host of other factors that have led Ardern to be held in such high regard.

Take her response to the Christchurch shootings last year.

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On 15 March 2019, New Zealand, for the first time in its modern history, witnessed a horrific terrorist attack on the Muslim community.

Fifty-one people lost their lives.

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Ardern, who is agnostic, held a press conference to deliver a message to bring her country's citizens together. “They are us," she said of the victims. “New Zealand has been chosen because it was safe, because it was no place for hatred or racism. Because we represent diversity, kindness, compassion, home for those who share our values. Refuge for those who need it." Then, addressing the shooter, she said: “You may have chosen us – we utterly reject and condemn you."

Her next move?

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She immediately implemented tighter gun laws across the nation.

The move drew in widespread praise.

And has been used as an example of how leadership should be done.

New Zealand has also become the latest country to stamp down on period poverty.

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For Ardern, it's clear that achieving gender equality is at the top of her agenda. "Kindness, and not being afraid to be kind, or to focus on, or be really driven by empathy," she has said of what is at the core of her leadership approach. “I think one of the sad things that I’ve seen in political leadership is – because we’ve placed over time so much emphasis on notions of assertiveness and strength – that we probably have assumed that it means you can’t have those other qualities of kindness and empathy. And yet, when you think about all the big challenges that we face in the world, that’s probably the quality we need the most."

It's not hard to see why Ardern is so passionate about women's rights.

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She is only the third female prime minister of New Zealand, and at forty-years-old, the second youngest prime minister, and the youngest female prime minister.

Ardern recently announced that sanitary products will be free for young women in schools across the country from 2021...

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Ardern said that sanitary supplies for a monthly period were not a luxury, but a necessity, and that too many girls were skipping school because they weren’t able to afford pads and tampons. “We know that nearly 95,000 9-to-eighteen-year-olds may stay at home during their periods due to not being able to afford period products. By making them freely available, we support these young people to continue learning at school," she said at the time.

Before the COVID outbreak, Ardern also had to deal with a volcano eruption in New Zealand.

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And, she was once again praised for her empathetic approach to the disaster, which claimed the lives of sixteen people. Paying tribute to those who were tragically killed, she said: “Many people did extraordinary things to save lives, those who have been lost are now forever linked to New Zealand, and we will hold them close."

So, it's safe to say that in terms of leadership, New Zealand is faring pretty well.

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And it seems this week, there's been another string added to the country's bow.

According to The Passport Index, New Zealand now has the most powerful passport in the world.

via: Passport Index

The index ranks 193 United Nations member states and 6 territories by the number of countries their travel documents can gain them access to... and it seems like New Zealand came out on top.

As per the latest figures, New Zealanders are able to get visa-free access, e-visa, or visa-on-entry to a whopping 129 countries.

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That's currently forty-nine more countries than during the peak of the coronavirus pandemic earlier this year.

This puts the country ahead of Germany, Ireland, Austria, Switzerland, Luxembourg, Japan, South Korea, and Australia, whose passports give their citizens access to 128 countries.

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Meanwhile, people in the United Kingdom can only get into 126 countries at the moment, a decrease from 169 last year.

As for USA passport holders?

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The mobility score here in the states only recovered by fifteen percent to ninety-two countries.

Speaking to Stuff, Hrant Boghossian from Passport Index said New Zealand's position is a testament to how well the government has dealt with the pandemic.

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"New Zealand's excellent handling of the Covid-19 crisis is reflected in its citizens quickly being accepted to travel to other nations," he told the site.

He continued:

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"USA passport holders, for example, were able to travel to the same number of countries as New Zealand (eighty). Due to the poor handling of Covid-19, not many countries welcome American travelers and their Mobility Score has only recovered by fifteen percent to ninety-two countries."

So, there you have it.

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*Googles how to move to New Zealand* For more on how New Zealand has handled the pandemic, scroll on...