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NZ PM Jacinda Ardern sends Australia another team of firefighters to tackle killer bushfires

An additional 22 firefighters will be deployed from New Zealad to help tackle Australia's bushfire crisis, Jacinda Ardern has announced.

The New Zealand prime minister confirmed the move Friday, as clouds of smoke from fires burning across Australia's east crossed the Tasman Sea and reached the South Island.

Ardern shared a photo of hazy skies over New Zealand as she vowed to help Australia during its calamitous bushfire season that has so far claimed the lives of at least 18 people and has destroyed millions of hectares.

'It's been devastating to watch from afar, I can only imagine what it feels like to experience it directly,' she said in a Facebook post on Friday.

'I've been in contact with the Australian PM again this week to share our support and to offer whatever we can to help.

'Australia stood by us through some horrific moments in 2019, and we're here to do the same.'

 Ardern said the new team of firefighters will join the ongoing rotation of more than 150 New Zealanders who have been working at the fire fronts since October. 

The move was met with praise on social media as hundreds of Australians thanked the prime minister for her efforts.

'Thank you for your leadership and compassion; we look across the ditch with immense PM envy,' one woman said.

'Thank you Jacinda. Whilst you are there send over some leadership advice to our PM who is in great need on learning how to respond to a country in a crisis. We all wish we had a leader like you in Oz,' another added.

The announcement came as Prime Minister Scott Morrison continued to face backlash over how he's handled the crisis.

Morrison was heavily criticised before Christmas when he took a Hawaiian holiday as bushfires ravaged the country.


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