Jacinda Ardern – the intuitive leader

Great leaders have good instincts for their time.

Jacinda Ardern has a long way to go to prove herself as a good leader overall, there is a lot of things for her Government to do before she gets there. But in how she handled the Christchurch mosque massacres she has proven to be an adept intuitive leader under pressure.

Toby Manhire (Guardian) – Jacinda Ardern: ‘Very little of what I have done has been deliberate. It’s intuitive’

I have been asking Ardern about her immediate response to the attack, which from the outset put a clear emphasis on inclusivity and solidarity. Succinctly, steelily, the prime minister framed what had happened in her own terms. It felt very deliberate: was it?

Not so much, Ardern says. “Very little of what I have done has been deliberate. It’s intuitive. I think it’s just the nature of an event like this. There is very little time to sit and think in those terms. You just do what feels right.”

That’s how it came across (to I think most people) – as natural and genuine, and not contrived as many politicians seem to be.

Ardern says she has been taken aback by the volume of press coverage over the past weeks, the scrutiny of her every word. “The conversations about it afterwards – I’ve read these pieces where people have analysed the likes of this [speech],” she says, waving the A4 sheet of notes in her hand, grimly laughing. “This was my first press conference. The second press conference I wrote on my phone on the way to Wellington.”

It’s obvious she wouldn’t have had much time to prepare.

Towards the end of her Waitangi speech, she had quoted Michael Savage, the venerated Labour statesman who led the party to government for the first time in 1935: “We don’t claim perfection, but what we do claim is a considerable advance on the past.” It’s a line that Ardern had rolled out in at least three big recent speeches, and felt, in part, like a plea to dial down the Jacindamania – a call to pragmatism.

“I am a pragmatic idealist,” she told me. “I will always strive for better. But I am pragmatic about how much time that sometimes takes.” The optimism tends to win out. “The alternative option is that we come out and say, for instance, on child poverty, that we’ve got these really minimalist targets. And have people say, ‘Where’s your ambition?’”

It’s a long article, worth reading to get a better understanding of how Ardern ticks.

I keep wondering what she could do as a leader if she had a stronger support crew in her Cabinet and her party. Maybe they will improve, inspired be their leader.

Manhire concludes:

At Waitangi in early February, I had asked Ardern about the international attention she had attracted – for being young, for being a new mother. It just wasn’t something she thought about, she said, hardly at all. Of course she needed to project New Zealand’s voice, but her focus was on domestic priorities. Today, in the most appalling circumstances imaginable, she has the world’s ear. What would she like to see other nations, other leaders, draw from New Zealand’s experiences?

“Humanity. That’s it. Simple,” she says, nodding her head. “People have remarked upon the way we’ve responded, but to me there was no question. You need to remove some of the politics sometimes and just think about humanity. That’s all.”

I hope that more of our politicians do more humanity and less politics.

 

Leave a comment

41 Comments

  1. Alan Wilkinson

     /  7th April 2019

    As I linked yesterday, folk being bankrupted by the Left’s railway works in Auckland are not seeing much humanity.

    Reply
    • Duker

       /  7th April 2019

      Are you saying the Auckland City railway tunnel wasnt given the go ahead by National government ( who pay half? the costs)
      I dont know why in the budget there isnt a spare ‘mill’ to compensate the worst affected shop keepers

      Reply
      • Alan Wilkinson

         /  7th April 2019

        Probably because the Left are spending it all on their railway train sets.

        Reply
        • Kitty Catkin

           /  7th April 2019

          There wasn’t much intuition about the Youth Camp.

          Or, as you say, the people being bankrupted by the various rail things; anyone could have seen that coming.

          Nor was there much intuition about KiwiBuild and whether the taxpayer should have to buy these houses.

          The various ‘free’ things are obviously coming out of taxpayer money. If someone has a free doctor or dentist visit, someone’s paying for it.

          I think that we need politicians who can run the country efficiently and make use of what is, after all, our money. .

          Reply
        • sorethumb

           /  7th April 2019

          You have to spend if you want to see the benefits of diversity Allen?

          Reply
  2. Jay3

     /  7th April 2019

    We didn’t hear a peep out of Ardern when Labour decided to vilify an entire Chinese ethnic group in an attempt to blame them for problems in the housing market. There certainly wasn’t much humanity on display there. Good on her for displaying empathy for the victims of the Christchurch attacks, but the near deification of the PM by diehard Labour supporters and a variety of her acolytes in the media has become ridiculous. Who knows, maybe things will change, but her performance leading the Coalition Government so far has been anything but great as policy failures continue to mount.

    Reply
    • Duker

       /  7th April 2019

      ‘1 in 5 central Auckland homes sold to overseas buyers, Govt ban vindicated says Parker”
      https://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=12066355
      Lost out on sales commissions from overseas owners jay?

      Reply
      • Blazer

         /  7th April 2019

        ‘In the Waitemata region, 450 properties were sold to foreign buyers. That amounted to 19 per cent of the sales in the area, which includes the Auckland CBD, inner city suburbs and Waiheke Island.’

        yes what a shame National didn’t have the..data *sarc*…the Chinese were not vilified at all…most of them knew exactly how accurate the statement was.

        Reply
        • Kitty Catkin

           /  7th April 2019

          Given that the list of names included ones like Patel, it wouldn’t be too hard to tell how accurate it was.

          There are many UK names (Ling, Ching) that sound Chinese but are not. Ching is Cornish.

          Reply
        • Alan Wilkinson

           /  7th April 2019

          7% in Auckland, 3% in NZ, a spend up before the ban took effect. Appears to include resident visa holders and corporates.

          Parker b.s.

          Reply
          • Alan Wilkinson

             /  7th April 2019

            Oh, and 50% of kiwibuild houses were built privately and then taken over by the scheme in another b.s. P.R. move.

            Reply
            • Duker

               /  7th April 2019

              All kiwibuild houses are built by private builders…Judith has been lobbying Twyford to make sure her constituents get a share. In many cases the builders were on land developed by Housing NZ before being onsold in blocks.
              Hello…there isn’t a ministry of works to build houses anymore with architects and Carpenters on the payroll.
              The country can’t keep up with housing demand if only 5% of houses are ‘starter homes’ and what ever way it happens if that moves to say 15-20% then home buyers will be grateful and builders extremely grateful as they have guaranteed cashflow from Kiwibuild buying in bulk and then onselling

          • Duker

             /  7th April 2019

            19% not 7%. You are including title changes that weren’t real sales. Eg estates family trusts and matrimonial settlements etc which can be a large portion of ‘transactions’ through the titles office

            Reply
            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  7th April 2019

              7% in whole of Auckland. 19% in one area in one period. I’m only reporting what the article said. It’s low on context detail.

  3. Corky

     /  7th April 2019

    Fate..what a capricious god. Jacinda would have finished her term as PM, probably at the next election and reverted to relative anonymity.

    Now the world is her oyster. So many doors will open to her. However, she will need to be careful with what offer she accepts. Being intuitive during a crisis is not the same as being able to do a critical international job on the world stage.

    Reply
    • duperez

       /  7th April 2019

      I can’t understand the talk of Jacinda Ardern going to the United Nations.
      Critics for a period have even been on about her doing things simply as posturing to tee up a job there. How many people around the world aspire to get a big time job there? How many of them women?

      In the infinite variety of possibilities globally in life why a focus or a mention at all on the UN? Did getting a job at the UN only become a thing because Helen Clark went there?

      Did we talk about Muldoon or Bolger, Shipley or Key chasing some grand position at the United Nations?

      Reply
      • Blazer

         /  7th April 2019

        3 of those 4 have been disowned by Nats supporters.

        Reply
      • Corky

         /  7th April 2019

        You may have misunderstood. I wasn’t talking of the UN..hence my comments.

        Reply
        • duperez

           /  7th April 2019

          If you mean my comment, I don’t think I misunderstood. Ms Ardern has, in a way of speaking, been in the job for five minutes and people are talking about what her future holds and where she’s heading next. Quite specifically the UN gets mentioned.
          You say ‘a critical international job on the world stage.’ She’s got a critical job on a national scale to handle at the mo’.

          Reply
          • Corky

             /  7th April 2019

            Er, no. Please don’t try to spin things. I was thinking more alone the lines of the WHO, or a third world corporate posting to provide a human face to the corporate operations..something like that. Other people may be being thinking UN. I’m not.

            ”She’s got a critical job on a national scale to handle at the moment’.”

            Yes, she has. She also has a team behind her. Admittedly most are deadbeat hacks; but still a team nevertheless. She won’t have a team behind her when she leaves politics.

            Reply
    • Blazer

       /  7th April 2019

      what recent examples of statesmanship on the world stage by a NZ politician can you cite?

      Reply
  4. adamsmith1922

     /  7th April 2019

    She wore a headscarf, she hugged some people,she looked concerned,she emoted. She did not lead. The shootings were an atrocity, but crisis I think not.My personal view is that she was not tested, she just responded with emotion. She and her minders are now milking this for political purposes,aided by a supine media.

    Reply
    • Blazer

       /  7th April 2019

      what recent examples of statesmanship on the world stage by a NZ politician can you cite?

      Key getting hammered on Hardtalk!Bol.

      Reply
      • adamsmith1922

         /  7th April 2019

        Key is irrelevant and a deflection. Ardern did not demonstrate statesmanship at all. Your comments are an example of your bias.

        Reply
    • Kitty Catkin

       /  7th April 2019

      I didn’t see it as political leadership so much as natural compassion, felt by almost all of us. As PM, she was given most of the publicity, of course. I wore a scarf, but would never expect to make the news; who’d be interested ? But the real leaders were those who did practical things, I think, like the woman who made 50 bouquets for the graves and the police who arrested the killer 36 minutes after he walked into the first mosque…and the man who took him on and said that anyone would have done it (nobody I know thinks that they could have and I know that I couldn’t)

      It wasn’t political leadership as it would have been in the case of a war or financial crisis.

      Reply
      • adamsmith1922

         /  7th April 2019

        Precisely,and based on her administration’s record to date, her lack of leadership and competence is demonstrated daily. Emotion and empathy are not leadership. Ardern is, like Trudeau,Macron and Trump all style and very little if any substance. She has a very long way to go before she is a leader.

        Reply
    • sorethumb

       /  7th April 2019

      adamsmith1922
      In our multicultural society ethnic politics dominate. Adern is good at that but the economy gets shoved to the back.No more cow cockies versus red feds it’s community A versus community B?

      Reply
    • duperez

       /  7th April 2019

      Ah, she did not lead according to your book on what leading is? A very long way to go before she is a leader? My pick is she will never be even a reasonable leader by your definition and expectation.

      On the other hand when he’d finished his stint it was easy to find it said that (the irrelevant and a deflection) Key as a great leader.

      Reply
      • adamsmith1922

         /  7th April 2019

        I was not comparing her with Key, nor any other NZ politician,that is your comparison not mine.
        Empathy is not leadership. At present the verdict is that she is somehow a great leader and stateswoman. This is a media construct, because the media are looking for a counter Trump.
        My view is that Ardern is not that person. She is ‘leading’, a questionable description a government of incompetents and possibly worse.She does not lead nor administer,but she does do photo ops and endless interviews with sycophantic journalists
        Perhaps in your view that makes her a leader,but I do not.

        Reply
        • duperez

           /  7th April 2019

          A leader is what one wants them to be. That would include whichever qualities in whatever measure and mixture perceived by whomever.
          Empathy mightn’t be leadership. Merely having the attribute mayn’t be leadership. Having it and displaying at the appropriate time might be leadership. Does being empathetic at the right time make the full package for some people?

          I don’t think I compared her to Key. I compared the bestowing of the status of ‘great leader’.

          Reply
  5. sorethumb

     /  7th April 2019

    How accepting are we of cultural and religious diversity?
    The topic:
    On Friday afternoon 15 March 2019, 50 people peacefully praying in two mosques in
    Christchurch were gunned down and killed by a lone shooter. Many others were injured.
    This represents the worst mass killing in New Zealand’s history, and the ninth worst in the
    world in recent times.
    New Zealand’s outpouring of grief has been unprecedented and there have been
    immediate cries for the reform of New Zealand gun laws and a refocusing of government
    resources on internal white supremacist elements.
    Three days later, on Monday 18 March, we launched a poll, canvasing a nationallyrepresentative sample of New Zealanders’ opinions about these and other matters.
    Key results:
    The key results are as follows:
    ◆ Respondents were polarised in terms of whether they felt New Zealanders are
    ‘accepting of cultural and religious diversity’.
    ◆ Almost one-in-five respondents (17%) categorically stated that New
    Zealanders are not ‘accepting of cultural and religious diversity’.
    ◆ While over twice as many (43%) believed New Zealanders are accepting, over
    one-third were undecided (38%).
    Therefore, 55% either held the view that New Zealanders are not ‘accepting
    of cultural and religious diversity’, or were unsure.

    Click to access Media%20release_New%20Zealanders%20Opinions%20about%20Issues%20Arising%20from%20the%20Friday%2015%20March%20Mosque%20Shootings_21-03-19.pdf

    However, slightly fewer than half were positive about the influence of Asian cultures and traditions and only four in 10 were positive about the impact of immigration from Asia.
    p36

    Click to access 1179_POA_2018_FA_WEB.pdf

    major differences about how much knowledge.

    It’s Nativism: Explaining the Drivers of Trump’s Popular Support
    https://www.ipsos.com/en/its-nativism-explaining-drivers-trumps-popular-support

    Jacinda may not be so popular save with that way inclined?

    Reply
    • ◆ While over twice as many (43%) believed New Zealanders are accepting, over
      one-third were undecided (38%).
      ◆ Therefore, 55% either held the view that New Zealanders are not ‘accepting
      of cultural and religious diversity’, or were unsure.

      It could also be expressed as 81% either held the view that New Zealanders are ‘accepting
      of cultural and religious diversity’, or were unsure.

      But none of those mean very much concerning how accepting are we of cultural and religious diversity. It doesn’t measure how many people think we should accept cultural and religious diversity.

      Reply
      • sorethumb

         /  7th April 2019

        Emanuel Kalafetalis 

        “What one of the other panel members said about the level of acceptance of diversity among the public. It was 17%. I actually look at it slightly differently because we measure NZr’s opinions of whether they think NZrs are accepting of other cultures and religions using scale and it ran from total acceptance to no acceptance. The perfect result we all want is that Nzrs are totally accepting, but we don’t actually get that we get a lot of people at each end of that scale and the way I look at it in addition to the numbers who said Nzrs are not accepting of different cultures and religions you need to take into account the number of people who sat on the fence. When you do that over a third weren’t prepared to say. So if you take them into account, I think Nzrs are polarised. You have half and half saying they are accepting or they are unsure and not accepting”
        https://www.radionz.co.nz/audio/player?audio_id=2018687630

        Reply
      • sorethumb

         /  7th April 2019

        I agree it is a round about way of asking a question: asking for a subjective impression of how others feel. But perhaps that is a useful proxy?

        Reply
        • Useful proxy for what? It was pretty much a pointless question, and the high percentage of uncertainty reinforces that. Asking people what they think that other people think is in the main meaningless.

          I think that a lot of people haven’t really thought much about it.

          Reply

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