NY Times – do Ardern’s progressive politics work at home?

Jacinda Aardern has had very good media coverage for a small country leader, and she has generally acquitted herself very well, but not all media is fawning promotion.

New York Times: Jacinda Ardern’s Progressive Politics Made Her a Global Sensation. But Do They Work at Home?

In many ways — temperament, style and policy, among them — Ms. Ardern is the polar opposite of President Trump and other brash male leaders.

She has become a subject of global fascination for her progressive values, her youth and charisma, and her status as a new mother who has garnered more attention than any previous leader of this small Pacific country.

But even as her star soars abroad, Ms. Ardern increasingly faces challenges at home. Corporate interests are lining up against her agenda after the country’s business confidence rating dropped to a 10-year low in July; the confidence rating has since improved, according to new figures released this month, but it remains weak nonetheless.

There are risks to the economy and to the government’s spending plans and wish lists.

Important policies, including tax reform, are still being decided, and critics have cast doubts on Ms. Ardern’s ability to maintain discipline within her governing coalition.

Indiscipline and dysfunction have hovered at home while Ardern has been in New York.

Experts say New Zealand exemplifies the difficulty of enacting a progressive agenda at a time when politics are fractured and conservatives worldwide are emboldened. Ms. Ardern’s supporters say she must push even harder for transformative change.

“The gestures of kindness and care need to be matched sometimes with more concrete and meaningful aspects of kindness in practice,” said Max Harris, a fellow at All Souls College, Oxford, and the author of “The New Zealand Project,” a new book about the country’s politics. He added that true success for Ms. Ardern would require structural shifts in social and economic systems — and it remains to be seen whether Ms. Ardern can get it done.

Ardern has not been progressive (or revolutionary) enough for those on the far left.

Ms. Ardern came to power last October. After nine years of center-right government in New Zealand, voters chose Ms. Ardern and her party because of their promise of a better deal for ordinary people, especially the marginalized and vulnerable.

That’s a very simplistic view of how the election and formation of government played out. In part Ardern became Prime Minister due to the 7% support of a not very left wing at times NZ First, and many NZ First voters would have preferred that Ardern didn’t get the nod.

But her power is limited. In New Zealand, a party does not have to win an outright majority in Parliament to govern. Labour formed a governing coalition with minor parties and in recent weeks, disputes between Ms. Ardern’s party and the party of Winston Peters, the deputy prime minister whose support was crucial to her victory, have become more frequent, leading critics to argue that Ms. Ardern is not in charge of her own government.

That was highlighted again in her absence.

One of her most common refrains is: “This is the right thing to do.” She used that line this month when announcing that New Zealand would accept 500 more refugees per year starting in 2020, raising the country’s quota to 1,500. The phrase also appeared in her speeches announcing policies to freeze lawmakers’ pay and increase paid parental leave.

In an interview last month, she argued that values and government go together. “You can be pragmatic and grow an economy and improve well-being and do all of the things you have an expectation governments do, but do it with a bit of heart,” she said.

That remains an unproven and fairly vague plan.

In New York Ardern outlined in general terms how she things government should progress in New Zealand, but she still has a lot to prove in practice.

 

 

 

Leave a comment

50 Comments

  1. Blazer

     /  September 28, 2018

    only 4 threads on Ardern today..the Col has been in power for just under a year..and Murdoch press NY Times questions progress…laughable.

    Reply
  2. robertguyton

     /  September 28, 2018

    As Blazer notes, Pete has put up 4 posts about Jacinda, and she’s not even in the country!
    That’s how charismatic she is! Magnetic, fascinating, the centre of attention (Pete’s anyway).
    Like a moth to her brilliant flame, Pete comes!

    Reply
    • Alan Wilkinson

       /  September 28, 2018

      Well timed as I was too busy to comment and since she is just talk there is no need to.

      Reply
    • Kitty Catkin

       /  September 28, 2018

      Hardly, Any PM makes the news, it has nothing to do with them and their scintillating personality. I don’t feel that she is doing a particularly good job as PM. Look at the chaos in Cabinet and the camp fiasco.

      Pete doesn’t fawn over her as you do.

      She is not brilliant. Even her ‘degree’ is from a polytech, or so I have read. She is a lightweight, and as soon as she leaves the UN, she will be forgotten. All this kindness talk is no real use when it comes to running a country. Kindness won’t help the economy and pay the bills.

      Having a bawling baby interrupting the UN is just selfish and discourteous to everyone else there.

      Reply
    • It’s called topical, I’d have done the same if English was PM and when Key was in New York, but i don’t think you’d have gushed so much then, you’d be more likely to have complained about the amount of coverage they got. And it’s good to keep a record of what she is saying so it can be matched against what she actually does when she comes back home.

      Do you think Ardern can deliver on all her rhetoric? She’s set herself and her government some fairly high ideals to aim for.

      Reply
      • Blazer

         /  September 28, 2018

        they are called aspirational …think positive.

        Reply
      • robertguyton

         /  September 28, 2018

        Come on, Pete, take of your Eeyore suit, Jacinda’s a wonderful woman and her reign has the strong potential to be extraordinary, given her skills and emphasis on heart-felt caring for everyone. Stop your nay-saying and put your efforts into supporting her in her sincere attempts to make the world a better place. You all know she has that aim but some of you are too flinty and cynical to commit your support to such a nice woman as Jacinda. Stop your Boagin’ and bung-pulling and help float New Zealand’s boat!

        Reply
        • Gezza

           /  September 28, 2018

          It’s a good move for her personal brand anyway. If things turned to custard here there’ll be offers from the UN and maybe elsewhere overseas, I’m sure.

          Reply
        • She’s proven to be good at dealing with the media and making speeches, but hasn’t yet shown she has the leadership skills to run a coalition government successfully, which is more important than getting on the telly a bit.

          It’s not cynicism, it’s withholding judgement until she has earned praise on what is the most important parts of her job. So far she has been very mixed.

          Reply
      • David

         /  September 28, 2018

        Its a good point you make Pete, she is going well overseas, again with a charmed path as she has had all her life without putting much effort into anything. Not her fault and generally people have low expectations of her so its perhaps best the media dont big her up too much in case she she has to rise to any occasion.

        Reply
  3. Gezza

     /  September 28, 2018

    And in the NYT article’s comments so far:

    DRS
    New YorkSept. 28
    PLEASE don’t ruin my plan B country. When the Bernie and Warren types ruin this country, those with the means to escape will need options.
    . . . . . . . . . . . .
    J
    John L
    ManhattanSept. 28
    @DRS Not to worry, there’s not too much need for Sanders or Warren reforms in New Zealand. New Zealand already has a primarily public funded system for delivering healthcare that delivers superior results to the US at about half the cost.

    From the tenor of your comment, I doubt you’d be happy in New Zealand, think more like Texas.
    . . . . . . . . . . . .
    Slow fuse
    oakland califSept. 28
    We have had leaders who were guided by compassion such as Abraham Lincoln,and Franklin Roosevelt. It did not make them or are country weak. They sought to unite us in response to catastrophe. Being kind,civil,and compassionate does not necessarily make you weak,rather it might make you stronger
    . . . . . . . . . . . .
    Aotearoa
    SingaporeSept. 28
    Please, Ardern is a sly Labour pawn try to look good in media only. She knows how to use shallowness of media intellectualism and media preference of portrayal, esp. American’s hollywood sensationalist medias. Her real motto is “image making first, competence 2nd”. It has only shown nowadays of her true capacity-party scandals, rising prices, low business confidence, and missconfirmation of economic fundamentals-, a 3rd after Trudeau and Pedro Sanchez who themselves are experts of political image making but low quality administrator and statesman.
    . . . . . . . . . . . .
    John L
    ManhattanSept. 28
    @Aotearoa Prime Minister Ardern has inherited an economy that includes a huge housing speculation bubble, fueled by massive, unsustainable amounts of private debt. This bubble was largely the result of a deliberately engineered immigration scheme by former Prime Minister John Key and his government, that flooded the country with low skill immigrants in conjunction with permitting foreigners to speculate in real estate. This housing bubble goosed aggregate GDP, so Key could claim his leadership resulted in growth. It was as cynical as it was imprudent. Auckland, the epicenter of this housing bubble and population increase is now scrambling to fund the infrastructure necessary to support it and young New Zealanders can’t afford to live there. John Key, ever with an eye for the main chance abruptly resigned December 2016, before most voters fully understood the con he’d perped on Aotearoa/New Zealand. He now sits on the board of Australia New Zealand bank, one of the institutions that profited most handsomely from lending into the housing bubble.

    So hey, when you describe “shallowness”, “image making first, and competence 2nd”, you’ve got the correct descriptives, but you’re applying them to the wrong figure in New Zealand’s politics.

    Try again.
    . . . . . . . . . . . .
    George S
    New York, NYSept. 28
    I wish Ms. Ardern and New Zealand all the best, but the often synthetic “excitement” she generates is often a media and activist driven fiction, focusing on youth, charisma and motherhood. All well and good, I suppose, but when you’re the national leader of your country at some point that window dressing and “aww” stuff falls to second place when you still have to make the tough decisions – and that applies whether one is a male or female.
    . . . . . . . . . . . .
    John L
    ManhattanSept. 28
    @George S All good and well, so how to you rank Trump according to the criteria you cite?
    . . . . . . . . . . . .
    George S
    New York, NYSept. 28
    @John L

    Pretty dismal, too…what’s your point?

    I was just addressing this article, with the “global sensation” headline…sensation for actually DOING what? That’s my point. TV star, mogul, had a baby…all well and good, but those do not make one a good leader of a country is all I’m saying.
    . . . . . . . . . . . .
    ManhattanSept. 28
    Another politician with more style than substance, ideology than action. But she’s a media darling so the perception becomes the reality.
    . . . . . . . . . . . .
    Halfmoon, NYSept. 27
    Ms. Ardern seems a refreshing alternative to what we have here. All politicians experience challenges and difficulties when attempting to implement policies they believe in. Her more gentile approach bespeaks true “genuineness”, not the artifice of that quality aggressively promulgated by Mr. Trump and his supporters.
    . . . . . . . . . . . .
    maere forbes
    new jersey. USASept. 28
    @John Figliozzi I Agree. Yet its amazing after watching 11/9 that we cant as a country just enjoy the moment of this womans female approach to goverment. She has to be torn down with doubts of her ability. So USA ends up with trumpism ruling this country

    Reply
    • Blazer

       /  September 28, 2018

      John L..sums up the 9 year National calamity well.

      Reply
      • Gezza

         /  September 28, 2018

        I just had a read. It’s not bad, eh? 😀

        Reply
        • Alan Wilkinson

           /  September 28, 2018

          It’s rubbish. Could have written the same about the Clark govt. Had exactly the same housing bubble.

          Reply
          • Gezza

             /  September 28, 2018

            And that would be rubbish too?

            Reply
          • Blazer

             /  September 28, 2018

            b/s..if housing doubles under Clark,Key calls it a crisis that he will address and then lets it double again…ask yourself.He made big money out of it.
            Apparently parliamentarians have an average of 3 properties each.
            Some like Amy Adams more.

            Reply
            • Corky

               /  September 29, 2018

              ” He now sits on the board of Australia New Zealand bank, one of the institutions that profited most handsomely from lending into the housing bubble.”

              Imputing cause and effect without proof.

              . ”John Key, ever with an eye for the main chance abruptly resigned December 2016, before most voters fully understood the con he’d perped on Aotearoa/New Zealand.”

              Ditto.

            • Blazer

               /  September 29, 2018

              what more proof do you need..the facts are there and indisputable…the commentator would not have been aware of Key and co’s distaste for Kiwi Bank EITHER.

            • Corky

               /  September 29, 2018

              That’s not proof…that’s a commentators opinion..that may or may not be correct.

              Talking of commentators, once again we see, what in my opinion, is a way better class of pontificator than the average Joe in Aotearoa. I made a similar comment about Japanese interviewed on the street.

  4. Alan Wilkinson

     /  September 28, 2018

    Meanwhile Venezuela shows progressive politics really working at home.

    Reply
    • Blazer

       /  September 28, 2018

      don’t be cute Al..you must know what the C.I.A and other U.S black ops are up to there.

      Reply
        • Blazer

           /  September 28, 2018

          no surprise Maduro is quite paranoid.
          Venezuela have the monied elite who want him dead.
          Chavez was kidnapped by a CIA engineered plot and only released because some high ranking military responded to the mass protests.
          Step 2 is always crippling sanctions..U.S foreign policy 101.

          Reply
          • Gezza

             /  September 28, 2018

            The Saudis screwed Venezuela. Chavez and Maduro weren’t up to managing their economy.

            Reply
            • Blazer

               /  September 28, 2018

              externa lpressure to bring the barrel price down exerted by those good friends of the U.S ..Saudi Arabia.

              Hard to manage an economy when Uncle Sam is strangling it.

            • Gezza

               /  September 28, 2018

              Yes, well, if the world lets the US keep control of global finance that’ll always be a problem.

            • Blazer

               /  September 28, 2018

              trying to stop them…is a death wish.Its not the american people ..its our old friends the Wall St bankers who own all the politicians.

            • Gezza

               /  September 28, 2018

              Well, exactly. Is China still trying to set up an alternative system. Russia, Turkey, some EUs and basically any country getting slapped by US sanctions to bully them have an impetus to look at whether Wall Street/USgov should have this kind of stranglehold. US led sanctions kicked Japan off in December 1941.

            • Pink David

               /  September 28, 2018

              Fracking is what revealed the profound stupidity of Venezuela’s economy. Texas now produces three times the oil of Venezuela. And they have toilet paper.

            • Gezza

               /  September 28, 2018

              They need it. They’re full of it.

            • Pink David

               /  September 29, 2018

              Yes, full bellies indeed. No Maduro diet in Texas.

            • Gezza

               /  September 29, 2018

              Alex Jones’s state. Say no more.

            • Griff.

               /  September 29, 2018

              Fracking is a scam.
              It is run on borrowed money that it can not cover.
              https://www.wsj.com/articles/wall-streets-fracking-frenzy-runs-dry-as-profits-fail-to-materialize-1512577420
              Hence the push by mr swamp to rise opec oil prices .
              It is gonna crash.
              The EU and china are talking about dumping the us dollar for trade .
              Best thing that could happen might stop the usa’s military industrial complex spending so much on death.

            • chrism56

               /  September 29, 2018

              That comment about fraccing is pretty stupid even by your low standards Griff.
              The hydraulic fracturing of tight formations, particularly shales is a proven technique to improve permeability and yields of wells. The fact is that .a lot of wells have been drilled by people expecting massive returns (which is behind the paywall that you didn’t read)
              No one knows what energy prices will do. History is littered with predictions of ridiculous energy costs that never eventuated. However, energy security, which the US now has from all those wells) is a different matter. Not being dependent on world markets is a very stabilising influence. That is why the current government’s policy is so stupid.

  5. Corky

     /  September 29, 2018

    ”In an interview last month, she argued that values and government go together.”

    No, ideologies and governments go together. Jacinda is a globalist. Globalism and socialism go together. Socialism doesn’t thrive within a Western country with isolationist tendencies.

    Reply
    • Blazer

       /  September 29, 2018

      don’t know what to make of those conclusions…were you drunk and standing on your head when you…formed them?

      Reply
      • Griff.

         /  September 29, 2018

        No it is just corky’s normal style
        The head thing may be part right .
        Except it involved a lot more energy.

        Reply
        • Corky

           /  September 29, 2018

          Still sore about the taxi driver, Griff? The one who last night took one look at you and decided to follow company policy… drive on by if the potential customer looks feral.

          Reply
          • Griff.

             /  September 29, 2018

            Have not been in a taxis for years corky .
            I dont drink that much .
            My entire life I have been the sober driver for others .
            Dont judge others by your own failings .

            Reply
      • Corky

         /  September 29, 2018

        Sounds like you are still recovering from last night. Still, full marks for stringing a sentence together. Talking of sentences…Jacinda will need to offer the public more than sentences..starting with teachers…they are the folk who supposedly guide our vulnerable young.

        Reply

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s