An RT (Russia Today) article published on December 13 carried the sensational headline: “NZ says ‘yes’ to 25-person orgies as part of new Covid rules.”
The article goes on to explain:
“New Zealand’s prime minister has given some Kiwis an early Christmas present as she announced that newly relaxed Covid-19 restrictions, based on a ‘traffic light system,’ allow for orgies of up to 25 people.”
Later, referring to Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, it says:
“Having been asked to explain some of the finer details of the traffic light system, Ardern confirmed that everything from dating to sex parties is back on the table. ‘I can confirm that Tinder liaisons have reopened,’ she stated, adding, ‘it’s not strictly embedded in the traffic light system but um, it is a given, up to 25 actually, in a red area.’ ”
But in a video of the actual interview, it’s obvious that Ardern was merely joking. She never uttered the word orgy.
The video, from the New Zealand TV program “Seven Sharp,” was reposted on a TikTok channel called Renewsnz six days prior to the RT story. The actual interview took place even earlier, on December 3.
The reporter jokingly asks if “single people” in Aukland, which is currently still a high-risk “red zone” under the New Zealand pandemic restrictions, could date outside of their “bubble,” or if they must “keep their hands to themselves.”
Ardern (at 3:25) says, “I can confirm that Tinder liaisons have reopened,” to which the questioner replies, “Great news ... for my friend.”
Labour Party leader Ardern garnered praise for her handling of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, when she swiftly implemented lockdowns that drastically restricted the spread of the virus, keeping initial cases and deaths very low.
In 2021, however, the country confronted new challenges largely due to an outbreak of the delta variant. The Guardian reported in November that a new wave of infections has had a negative hit on Ardern and the Labour Party’s popularity, in contrast to 2020.
Still, to date the country of about 5 million people has reported only 47 deaths from COVID-19 and fewer than 13,000 cumulative cases.
In response to the new outbreak, as well as the omicron variant, the government initiated a “traffic light” system, which categorizes different areas of the country as red, orange or green and tailors recommended countermeasures such as distancing, face coverings and gatherings based on vaccination status.