Ardern does more homely interviews

Reinforcing her image as a celebrity focussed politician, Jacinda Ardern has struggled with a number of real issues over the last fortnight, but has managed to find the time for magazine type interviews.

Amanda Hooton really lays it on in 48 hours with Jacinda: warm, earnest, accessible – is our PM too good to be true?

She spends the next 10 minutes doing a series of unscripted, perfect-first-time clips for social media. Then, obviously changing her mind, she pulls her dark floral shift dress off.

She’s wearing a modest black slip underneath, but still, I’m glad I’m not Charles Wooley. She puts on the pink T-shirt, then records a welcome to Splore. Smiling into the camera, she apologises that she can’t be present in person, and says she’s looking forward to seeing someone dressing up “in a brown wig, Labour rosette and pregnancy gut”.

So, fruit juice, partial strip, self-parody. We’ve seen and heard a great deal about Ardern since she became prime minister last October, but clearly, there’s more to the world’s youngest elected head of government (until she was pipped by the new 31-year-old Austrian chancellor in December) than meets the eye.

Let’s not forget that Ardern performed a political miracle last October. Amid an international climate of disastrous defeats for social democratic politics – the US, UK, France, and Italy have all rejected their centre-left parties in the past 18 months alone – this 37-year-old woman led the Labour party to victory after almost a decade in the political wilderness, having taken over the leadership less than eight weeks earlier.

…[lengthy puff piece]…

ime will tell whether she has the political intelligence, endurance and luck to navigate this; if she has the ability to lead the nation safely through the shoal waters of 21st century politics.

Still, in a world in which we’re increasingly expected to accept alternative facts, and indefinite strongman rule, and threatening, isolationist policies from world leaders, it’s nice to be offered something – and someone – different to believe in. As Ardern puts it, barefoot in her modest house: “I don’t think too much about the magnitude of the job.

I just immediately skip to, ‘Let’s get the plan going.'”

And in perparation for her frist trip as PM to England Ardern features in the Guardian’s Jacinda Ardern on life as a leader, Trump and selfies in the lingerie department

It’s just gone lunchtime in New Zealand’s largest city and Jacinda Ardern arrives at her two-bedroom suburban home after a primary school meet and greet.

The 37-year-old prime minister of New Zealand and poster woman of progressive politics is sitting in the passenger seat of a blue Subaru, craving a muesli bar and wearing woollen shoes that look like slippers.

This time last year Ardern was known as a young opposition MP with a passion for eradicating child poverty – in fact she could rather bang on about it. She had a well-stocked whisky cabinet, frequently popped up at music gigs, and would return journalists’ phone calls within minutes, at pretty much any hour of the day or night.

Fast forward and Ardern is now the leader of the country, six months pregnant and seeking advice on how to juggle milk bottles and briefings from Barack Obama.

And struggling to deal with a cranky Foreign Minister with his own agenda, Young Labour camps, an MP from a a coalition partner party threatening an opposition MP, defending a Minister responsible for the resignation of a popular journalist, and stuffing around while allies take strong action over the alleged Russian poisoning scandal.

Fast forward to the end of the article.

Ardern appears to envision an increasingly independent country – contemplating a possible break from the motherland, seeking a louder voice on the world stage, and embracing New Zealand’s unique Pacific history and identity.

“On major issues, on things like climate change, or even nuclear issues, our view has been, and should be important,” she says. “[I’ve] never felt that diminished New Zealand’s view just because we are small and geographically isolated.

“I think our approach to life is the same approach in politics. We’re a very pragmatic people, perhaps because of our isolation, we tend to be pretty inventive as well. We’re not ones to say something is too hard, so when we’re confronted with challenges, be they big or small, we tend to tackle them head on, and without much question – we just get on with it.”

Ardern has been pretty inventive when it comes to getting celebrity style magazine publicity, but there are already serious doubts about her handling of hard issues.

“We just get on with it” may look like a good sound bite, but Ardern and her government have a long way to go to prove that they can walk the talk.

26 Comments

  1. Alan Wilkinson

     /  March 31, 2018

    So nothing on Ardern’s new bff, Vladimir?

  2. PDB

     /  March 31, 2018

    I brought this up elsewhere – more fluff pieces like this (and the Guardian one released at the same time) that gloss over her ability to actually do the PM job competently could well reinforce in voter’s minds that she is but a MSM creation of no substance.

    Talking about NZ changing the world when she isn’t even on top of what is happening in her own party and govt isn’t a good look.

    Bridges has actually kept a fairly low profile amongst all the recent govt slip-ups which hides his current inadequacies & has probably seen his image improve in the public’s mind.

    • Gezza

       /  March 31, 2018

      Simon’s image needs a serious polish up. He’s lucky at the moment Jacinda’s being shown up as Ms Yackety Yak.

  3. David

     /  March 31, 2018

    The more of these puff pieces the better and I think it suits her premiership. I dont get the high expectations of her or what they are based on, like Trump voters we knew what we were getting and its a bit unfair and naive to hope for much substance or grit.
    She, ironically, is literally smile and wave.

    • Kitty Catkin

       /  March 31, 2018

      I’ll say,

      Familiarity breeds contempt.

      I don’t want a PM who behaves like a ‘celebrity’, I want one who has gravitas and mana. I could see trouble when all her new best friends want something and can’t have it. At nearly 40, she is too old to be acting like a teenager.

      • David

         /  March 31, 2018

        I do too KC. The point was that the 37% of people voted for what some have labelled an empty vacuous lightweight woman with not much substance except she can deliver a line. People got what they voted for.

        • Kitty Catkin

           /  March 31, 2018

          ‘I don’t think too much about the magnitude of the job,’

          Well, she bloody well SHOULD BE THINKING ABOUT IT !!!

          • Quite, Kitty. I think she is so far out of her depth already that she does not realise how deep it really is. A country, even a small one, is not the same as a bunch of fawning socialist teenagers, or a chip shop.

            Her idiotic assertion that NZ – one of the West’s Five Eyes – has no Russian spies was very telling. It was like the shopkeeper trying to tell John Cleese that the parrot was not dead.

    • Patzcuaro

       /  March 31, 2018

      You mean she is royalty, that is all they do, smile & wave.

    • Blazer

       /  March 31, 2018

      don’t know about puff pieces…major incompetence by Finlayson,has been almost totally ignored as the MSM goes full bore on its denigration of the…co alition Govt.Appalling bias.

  4. David

     /  March 31, 2018

    Well, these Women’s Weekly type things are how she got to where she is now, no surprise that under pressure she would retreat back to them.

    • Patzcuaro

       /  March 31, 2018

      I seem to remember John Key doing a few women’s weeklies as well. Is it their fault or our fault?

  5. Conspiratoor

     /  March 31, 2018

    I don’t see a problem. She’s backed by a team of superstars

    • Ray

       /  March 31, 2018

      Today’s best comment, a real lol.

      • Kitty Catkin

         /  March 31, 2018

        I can’t help noticing how unprofessional & badly groomed the new ones look. They don’t LOOK like ministers. Straggly hair, shapeless clothes, surely they can do better than this.

        • David

           /  March 31, 2018

          lefty,s they just dont care because its all about signalling.

          • Kitty Catkin

             /  March 31, 2018

            What they are signalling is that they don’t think much of the voters and Parliament; they don’t think them worth taking trouble with their appearance for. Appearance is all that people who don’t know them have to go by, and these ones are saying that they don’t have much respect for themselves or us,

            • Maggy Wassilieff

               /  March 31, 2018

              We are the hoi polloi, Kitty Catkin.
              We should know our station in life.
              The special/elite know what’s best for us, but first they must look after themselves.
              We’ll collect our trickle-down dribbles in a couple of years months when we head off to the electoral booths.

          • Patzcuaro

             /  March 31, 2018

            Signalling is below righties of course.

            • Gezza

               /  March 31, 2018

              Irony noted. You’re quite right too Patz.
              Righties positively radiate self-righteous thinking themselves.

    • Blazer

       /  March 31, 2018

      Brownlee,Smith,Bennett,Adams and Tolley…are hardly..oil paintings.

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