Ardern interview on Russia

From an interview of Jacinda Ardern on Q & A:


Was it Russia?

Jacinda Ardern: Corin, I’ve been very clear in avoiding saying it was Russia.

But that doesn’t…will you actually say that Russia is responsible?

Jacinda Ardern: We are in exactly the same position as our allies, we stood up in the Hague and avoided saying it was Russia. We have been clear in our statements on this that we’re avoiding saying it was Russia. We’ve made sure the UK is clear on our position as well that we’re avoiding saying it was Russia.

Will you consider sanctions?

Jacinda Ardern: That’s something that we’re avoiding saying.

So you’re not ruling out the possibility of sanctions?

Jacinda Ardern: This is the purpose of why we’re staying in touch. We’re not ruling anything in or out. We are unequivocally equivocal.

If you consider Russia is responsible, why are you talking about a free trade deal?

Jacinda Ardern: We talk a lot. All the time. Many conversations.

So are we not doing a free trade deal with them? Winston says we are.

Jacinda Ardern: As I’ve pointed out in recent times and as He-Who-Shall-Not-Be-Named himself says, we’re avoiding saying we’re not doing a free trade deal with them and hinting that we will in the future.

So because of the attack you will not now do a free trade deal with Russia?

Jacinda Ardern: We’ll avoid saying that we won’t and hint that we will in the future.

Why was a Russia deal even in the coalition agreement?

Jacinda Ardern: At this point I’ll blither a bit and end it by avoiding saying it was Russia. Ask another question.

You said that Values were going to be a driving force in how you make your decisions. Why’d you put Russia in the coalition agreement?

Jacinda Ardern: We’re still going to obey the letter of the sanctions. We can just work around them.

The point is that that’s not the same as taking a principled stand. The Nats wanted an FTA – it didn’t want to put it on hold but it did, because of the whole principled stand and Values thing. You on the other hand agreed in the coalition agreement to put it back on the table.

Jacinda Ardern: I have to correct you there. They put the FTA on ice and applied travel sanctions but there was still trade. No-one has said that we would not apply the sanctions, but we’ll do the still trading bit and put the FTA back in the oven. The coalition agreement says “striving towards”. Here this means we’re sort-of not really maybe reheating it. Because we stand alongside our partners.

So you’re not saying they’re completely off the table? Or maybe you are saying that? It’s got me fucked.

Jacinda Ardern: Right now, I’m avoiding saying either way. Or both ways.

You would have heard the UK going WTF? Which is it?

Jacinda Ardern: The only point that He-Who-Shall-Not-Be-Named made is one that I will now describe as immaterial. I am here to make the point that I am avoiding saying it was Russia.

Are we prepared to sacrifice EU/UK trade deals to flirt with Russia?

Jacinda Ardern: I’ve consistently said that we say we prioritise the EU agreement but we don’t name them in the coalition agreement. Just Russia. Who we’re avoiding saying an FTA is off the table with. When we named Russia in the coalition agreement, and didn’t name the EU in that agreement we were not thinking at all about Russia. We were totally focused on the EU. We had not officially resumed FTA talks with Russia, just unofficially. And now I’m telling you we will hint about resuming them in the indeterminate future.

Have you spoken to Winston Peters ever about why he’s pumping for a Russia FTA? Especially when he always votes against FTAs? Did you ask? It seems very odd that Russia is specifically singled out as the one to spoon.

Jacinda Ardern: I’m very clear on the fact that he didn’t tell me a thing and in fact we haven’t even spoken at all in the past week so I’ll talk about fairness. Of course, I’ll avoid saying it was Russia.

Who sets foreign policy in your government?

Jacinda Ardern: Aah..errr…Wi..thee…Us! Collectively! Of course both of he-who-shall-not-be-named have a role to play. And myself. I’m playing a role now.

Winston’s staying all sorts of stuff that’s completely out of sync with you lot.

Jacinda Ardern: I would dispute that. The language has all involved double meanings so we can interpret it in a way that suits us and the Values we work around. Rather like the phrase “flying Emirates”. We have all consistently avoided saying Russia did it.

Winston’s been less hinty that it was the Russians than you.

Jacinda Ardern: At this point I would like to hint some more, without actually saying the Russians did it. That’s a simple statement of fact. Hope this clarifies.


From Full interview: Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern sits down with Corin Dann after a challenging week for her leadership – by Oligosomanigripnata, headed “A bit of paraphrasing” (as should have quickly become obvious).

10 Comments

  1. Patzcuaro

     /  March 19, 2018

    Putin’s behaviour in this matter has been reprehensible, it is state sponsored terrorism. I hope that the perpetrators are apprehended and that NZ helps in the process of bringing them to justice in any way it can. It appears that Putin is foing a bit of muscle flexing around election time, putting his opponents on notice.

    It was a pity that the British government was not a bit more helpful when the French government carried out state sponsored terrorism in NZ

  2. Blazer

     /  March 19, 2018

    There is no one who can say with certainty that..Russia was responsible.That doesn’t help the…programme ..though.

  3. David

     /  March 19, 2018

    That is brilliant

  4. An actual news report from RNZ: NZ govt considers further measures against Russia

    The Prime Minister isn’t ruling out further measures against Russia over the UK nerve agent attack, including the expulsion of diplomats, after the government halted all efforts to restart trade talks.

    Asked if New Zealand might follow Britain and expel staff from Russia’s embassy in Wellington, Jacinda Ardern also said she could not rule further actions in or out.

    “We’re keeping in close contact with our partners in this situation as further evidence comes to light.

    “We’re now assessing what further evidence is coming to light and making sure that we’re being responsive which is why we’re looking at making further statements.”

    https://www.radionz.co.nz/news/political/352731/nz-govt-considers-further-measures-against-russia

  5. david in aus

     /  March 19, 2018

    “Have you spoken to Winston Peters ever about why he’s pumping for a Russia FTA? Especially when he always votes against FTAs? Did you ask? It seems very odd that Russia is specifically singled out as the one to spoon.”

    Very odd, isn’t it?

    Winston has a habit of supporting lobby groups that provide donations: racing, fishing.

    Also, Russia has a habit of corrupting people and organizations.

    As in the association of Trump and Russia, no proof yet, but it the smell doesn’t go away.

    Is investigative journalism still alive in NZ?

    • Gezza

       /  March 19, 2018

      Is investigative journalism still alive in NZ?
      Whaleoil seemed like our last hope.
      Still, Newsroom’s looking promising.

  6. Gezza

     /  March 19, 2018

    As paraphrasing goes, that’s not too far off the mark.

  7. Strong For Life

     /  March 19, 2018

    “unequivocally equivocal”. What does that mean? Bob each way?