Ardern belatedly fronts up on major issues, still ‘absolutely vague’

Jacinda Ardern has benefited from carefully orchestrated PR and a largely compliant media, but she fronted up, sort of, on two contentious issues this week.

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Ardern is very much the shopfront of the coalition government and until the week before the Budget, it was very much a photo-shopped government.

There was almost a paranoia about the Prime Minister being seen to be facing criticism. Cameras were only invited when it came to events where the PM was likely to get a warm reception. Students, the Waitangi tour, tertiary students, the Pride Parade, arts and culture events.

Meetings with critics of Government policy have happened but behind closed doors. There has been nothing similar to watching former National Prime Ministers get torn to shreds in question and answer sessions with the unions or lambasted at Waitangi. In fact, former PM John Key loved little more than a hostile audience.

Appearing only in front of friendly audiences is not sustainable for a Prime Minister so this week proved a welcome reprieve from saccharine photo ops.

Prime ministers are judged on how they handle a disaster as much as how they handle the books.

Ardern has largely got away with promoting a celebrity type image and avoiding awkward issues, but she departed from the PR script this week, a bit.

Dealing with it meant this week Ardern finally fronted up to dragons – those who are not Labour’s natural constituents.

It started with her meeting with abut 15 farmers in the Waikato to talk about M. Bovis and ended with her meetings with gas and oil sector bosses and workers in Taranaki to talk about the Government’s decision to stop issuing new exploration permits in the future.

It was the first time she had publicly met with either group.

During the campaign, she had promised to meet with farmers after the election. She did meet with farming sector leaders on the quiet twice at regular quarterly meetings that successive Prime Ministers have had with farming representatives.

Ardern could also be fairly criticised for not going to Taranaki sooner and for the lack of proper consultation over the oil and gas decision with the sector or workers involved.

Not only that, she made her oil and gas announcement in front of an unusually unrelated university student audience.

Yesterday she visited with some cash and a vague plan with a vague title by way of reassurance: “Just Transitions.” But at least she visited.

One of Ardern’s trademarks is using strong sounding phrases to say not much in particular – being ‘absolutely vague’.

She has little time to transform her image right now. She may have to wait until after her maternity leave to show whether she can be real leadership material rather than being a vague and ditsy celebrity style politician.

That’s just a few headlines. Ardern absolutely peppers her speech with the term.

Oxford: absolutely

  1. With no qualification, restriction, or limitation; totally.
    1.1 Used to emphasize a strong or exaggerated statement.
    1.2 [with negative] None whatsoever.
    1.3 Used to express and emphasize one’s assent or agreement.
  2. Not viewed in relation to other things.

 

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20 Comments

  1. David

     /  May 27, 2018

    She certainly learned the Tony Blair lessons, just bombard the public with empty sound bites and never try and deliver anything real.

    Reply
    • PDB

       /  May 27, 2018

      No doubt she can’t wait to get to the next major MSM distraction of her floundering govt – the birth.

      No doubt MP’s like Twyford can’t wait either.

      Reply
      • Davis, I pu it to you that Tony Blair, ghastly man that he was, had a far more extensive vocabulary, was far more erudite and had less of the fifth form debater delivery than Ms Absoloodely Ardern.

        Reply
  2. Ron Chamberlain

     /  May 27, 2018

    I sent a letter to MPs about people who have 12 children in this day and age, this happened 100 years ago, who is supposed to care for them? Plus the strain on the Health system from people who are obese, and with other medical problems, who care little for their own health then queue up for stomach staple. Is it not time for some to take responsibility for their own problems, and not expect the Taxpayer to pick up the tab, for endless demands while doing nothing to help themselves ?

    Reply
    • Gezza

       /  May 27, 2018

      How many MPs have replied & what did they say?

      Reply
    • PDB

       /  May 27, 2018

      You might as well have sent letters to the moon.

      The common belief now is that people have the right to do whatever they like (no questions asked & without having to do anything in return) and also the right to expect the taxpayer (more often than not described as the ‘government’) to pick up the tab for them.

      Reply
    • sorethumb

       /  May 27, 2018

      Good on you. Anton Blank was questioned on that issue re Maori and Pacifica his reply was that that was “unhelpful”

      Reply
  3. sorethumb

     /  May 27, 2018

    People will associate te reo on RNZ with the Adern government. In surveys about diversity etc one outlier is the English language. Some of that may just be practicality but language is also the central glue of society’ and concern goes beneath the surface.

    Apparently the history unit at Department of Internal Affairs have been working on national identity. Would be interesting to do a OIA request and see the game plan for the sheeple?

    Reply
    • PDB

       /  May 27, 2018

      Just remember the moko is for Maori only but the Maori language should be force-fed to all school children regardless if they are Maori or not.

      Reply
  4. Kitty Catkin

     /  May 27, 2018

    I find her annoying, to say the least, with her tossing her curls like a teenager and her grimacing, nodding and shaking her head (not to mention her policies and non-answers)

    BUT I don’t like it when cartoonists mock her teeth as this one has. Yes, the long straggly hair emphasises them, when it’s probably supposed to draw attention away from them, but the big teeth are beyond her control and mocking anyone’s appearance is nasty.

    Reply
    • It’s her forced earnestness, her restricted vocabulary and delivery that gets to me. She’s almost Trumpian “great” with her endless use of the word “absolutely” as an imperative. I’ve no beef with her looks as she simply cannot help the genetic mix she has been dealt. She can however do something about the almost petulant, bossy manner in which she delivers.

      Reply
      • Kitty Catkin

         /  May 27, 2018

        She’s like the games captain at a girls’ school.

        Her teeth don’t look so prominent when her hair’s back. She looks as if she’s still trying to look like the young MP that she was once. Long straggly hair looks unprofessional.

        That nodding and headshaking shouldn’t be so annoying, but it just IS. And the frown lines are so deep now that they will never, never go, In one of my Victorian girls’ books, an old gentleman on a train wishes that he could tell a girl (the heroine) who’s deep in thought with those frown lines between her eyebrows not to do it, as it’s a habit that’s easy to acquire and very hard to lose. He doesn’t, of course, but he was right about the habit,

        Reply
      • Kitty Catkin

         /  May 27, 2018

        Cartoons can exaggerate someone’s looks without needing to mock something like their buck teeth.

        Reply
        • It is the teeth that define her and a cartoonist can do little else

          Reply
          • Kitty Catkin

             /  May 27, 2018

            Well, yes, but they needn’t make her look like a chimp/

            The straggly, untidy hair defines her, too. It makes her look as if she thinks that she is still a teenager. I see now why they made us tie out hair back when I was at school, though I couldn’t then :

            Reply
            • Gezza

               /  May 27, 2018

              Her teeth don’t look so prominent when her hair’s back
              Can’t say I’ve noticed any difference – but also, when her hair’s pulled back, often it’s bunched up not very attractively on top at the front, her ears look too big, & her frown lines are more prominent when she furrows her brow. But what the heck does that really matter & does anybody ever comment on what a dickhead-looking haircut David Clarke has or why so many of Labour’s male MPs seem to have bald spots that really show up on Parliament tv? As a general rule, National’s male MP’s have better haircuts.

            • Kitty Catkin

               /  May 28, 2018

              It’s true; the streelish hair narrows the face. A schoolfriend had a large nose and finally realised that mother was right and having her hair hanging down emphasised it.

              Messy hair doesn’t look good on anyone.

              She looks a real frump at the moment, messy hair, old clothes, most unPM-like.

  5. Alan Wilkinson

     /  May 27, 2018

    I don’t care what she says, just what she does. Like Trump. Except she hasn’t done anything yet except kneecap the oil industry, pay off Peters, set up a million committees and produce a “hope we can keep cruising” budget.

    Reply
    • Gezza

       /  May 27, 2018

      Hmm. See, when, as a scientist, you say “a million committees” you cause every other assertion to be assumed to be a likely ridiculous exaggeration as well.

      Reply
  6. Blazer

     /  May 27, 2018

    eat your heart out…my lovelies!

    Reply

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