A busy day for Ardern in Paris

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern achieved her main aim in Paris, a signed ‘Christchurch  Call’ agreement between 17 countries and also the major tech companies based in China. See: Tech companies, 17 Governments sign up to ‘Christchurch Call’

But in getting there Arden had a very busy day.

Henry Cooke (Stuff): Jacinda Ardern’s big day in Paris ends with her getting what she wanted

She held six one-on-one meetings, hosted two more large ones, gave two speeches and two press conferences.

The Prime Minister spent Wednesday in a whirlwind of events as she finalised the Christchurch Calla set of non-binding commitments governments and tech companies are making to fight online extremism.

The pledge was made exactly two months after the terror attack in Christchurch, in which 51 people were murdered and the massacre livestreamed on Facebook.

Ardern sees this pledge as the second half of the immediate response to the attack, after banning the guns used in the attack within weeks.

One more step towards trying to make the country and the world safer. Obviously not all acts of terrorism will be prevented, and not all spreading of hate and violence online will be stopped, but it must be a move in the right direction – towards a more decent Internet and a more peaceful world.

It will need top be an ongoing effort. And going by the effort she put in so far, Ardern will do everything she can to achieve some level of success.

Her agenda in Paris on Wednesday:

The Prime Minister began her day with a swift bilateral meeting with King Abdullah II of Jordan at the OECD Palace, the red carpet literally rolled out for royalty.

Right after that she hosted a tech roundtable with 30 or so representatives of the various tech companies signing on. The cavernous tapestried room, which had tables arranged in something much closer to a square than a circle, featured Ardern, several chief policy officers, and the co-founder of Wikipedia.

Twitter co-founder and CEO Jack Dorsey was not present, but was due to meet Ardern at the next stop.

Dorsey is four years older than Ardern, but looked much younger as he slunk into the room to shake her hand, with wavy 2008-emo hair and a full beard.

After Dorsey, the Prime Minister and a bedraggled group of reporters following her finally arrived at the Élysées Palace where 250 local and world journalists had received accreditation to cover the main event.

Ardern was greeted by French President Emmanuel Macron at the door, who embraced her with a la bise – basically two quick kisses on the cheek, and asked her how she was…The two disappeared into the palace for a long lunch…

Next up was another bilateral meeting with Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg. Norway experienced a similar attack to New Zealand in 2011, but Solberg was not in office at that point.

Then came the proper meeting, the tech representative and world leaders all in one gilded room facing each other across a table. Ardern sat flanked by Macron and Senegal PM Mahammed Dionne. UK Prime Minister Theresa May sat beside the European Commissioner Jean-Claude Juncker on one end of the table – one imagines the pair were just pleased to talk about anything but Brexit, even if it was extremist terrorist content.

A karanga was delivered and Ardern then spoke at length about the need for tech companies to take responsibility for the huge power they now wield.

“I know that none of you want your platforms to perpetuate and amplify terrorism and extremist violence. But these platforms have grown at such pace, with such popularity, that we are all now dealing with consequences you may not have imagined when your company was just a start-up. Your scale and influence brings a burden of responsibility,” Ardern said.

When the closed-meeting finally ended, Ardern and Macron emerged for the kind of press conference where four questions take up 30 minutes.

A short stroll away from the palace, at a building Napoleon built for his sister, Ardern had a brief meeting with UK Prime Minister Theresa May, followed by another press conference for the itchy New Zealand journalists, who had breakfast shows that were just coming on air.

So a very busy day for Ardern, who was making the most of her visit to Paris where a number of world leaders and tech company representatives had gathered.

And from the coverage I saw, Ardern acquitted her aims with aplomb, representing Aotearoa New Zealand very well. She keeps doing very well on the international stage.

Widespread praise makes pride in Ardern’s performances obvious, despite the efforts of a small number who show their displeasure regardless of what Ardern achieves or does.

People who rise to be very good leaders are able to please most of the people most of the time.

If her Government here in New Zealand can get up to speed and deliver on some significant policies, whoever leads National will be powerless to compete, and relatively powerless after next year’s election.

From the Beehive:



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  1. Corky

     /  17th May 2019

    I watched the news last night and was so embarrassed. Jacinda had a Maori lady do a karanga while making pukana eyes. She was supported by a Maori man. For me the setting was inappropriate and smacks of the PM ‘show boating’ again. She needs to learn Maori culture is not appropriate for all occasions.

    • duperez

       /  17th May 2019

      Maybe you could contact her to see if you can join the team as a cultural ambassador and adviser. 😊

    • Corky

       /  17th May 2019

      Calling Pickled Possum. The hive is selling you out. 😀

  2. harryk

     /  17th May 2019

    More showboating than a Mississippi paddle steamer. The Internet and Jurisdiction Policy Network is Paris based, as is the FATF [Terrorism and money laundering Financial Action Task Force]. This is how France uses multilateral diplomacy for soft power influence. If Ardern had been truly leading she would establish a multilateral body in NZ. This way she’s merely serving French interests, succumbing to French influence and soft power. In return she gets naming and bragging rights as a bit player in a French influence operation.

    ‘Widespread praise makes pride in Ardern’s performances obvious’

    Politicians have no resistance to flattery – ‘excessive and insincere praise, given especially to further one’s own interests.’

    Can’t the NZ media find a single retired diplomat who can explain what’s really taking place?

    • Kitty Catkin

       /  17th May 2019

      Financial Action Terrorism Task Service Organisation would make a great acronym, which FATF isn’t unless pron. fattiff.

  3. Kev

     /  17th May 2019

    Now we find out from Barry Soper doing some actual work that all these tech and world leaders were already going to Paris for other matters.
    Seems like woman of the moment Ardern was a celebrity add on for the mighty leaders of Jordan and Senegal, as well as under fire Macron and Trudeau getting some cheap publicity shots!

    • Duker

       /  17th May 2019

      so Soper says there was a prexisting event in Paris
      ‘In the first instance, he decided he needed to grandstand in his capital and upstage two tech conferences, one involving G7 digital ministers, being held in Paris on Thursday (NZT).

      Macron wasn’t involved in the conferences so he created one of his own”

      France is and more specifically Macron is this years G7 president

      thats how these things are done. Why not run these things together,
      ‘In this context, the informal “Tech for Humanity” meeting of Digital Ministers, on 15 May in Paris, will seek to reflect on the requirements and values essential in digital innovation and the role that these technologies can play in combating inequality. This meeting comes ahead of the Biarritz Summit and the first international scientific forum on “AI for humanity” that France announced in 2018 and will host in late October 2019.
      Three main themes will be on the agenda:
      Combating online hate speech ;-Paris
      Development of artificial intelligence technologies and their contribution to combating inequality later this year Biarritz
      Reflection on the strategy of the G7 at the advent of the data economy and the need to build trust in digital technologies such as 5G- TBA

      Soper is just trying his own grandstanding

  4. harryk

     /  17th May 2019

    ‘…Ardern was a celebrity add on for the mighty leaders of Jordan and Senegal, as well as under fire Macron and Trudeau getting some cheap publicity shots!’

    Conferences are the lifeblood of Paris, which always has a busy diplomatic schedule – business as usual. That’s one benefit from establishing multilateral bodies in your capital city. France lets Ardern name one of it’s routine events ‘Christchurch Call’ in return she endorses the French agenda. Good lurk eh. What’s blog policy on sheep jokes?


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