Tracy Watkins on Jacinda Ardern

Tracy Watkins, in her last column as Stuff’s political editor, on Jacinda Ardern:

As for Ardern, her legacy is still unfolding, and so far hers has been the most extraordinary story so far. Labour’s unprecedented, 11th-hour resurrection under her leadership; and her incredible international reach, set her apart from any other leader in recent times.

That presents huge opportunities – and big risks.

The opportunities lie in Ardern’s huge reservoir of political capital, and her supporters are looking to her to use that to lead a truly transformative government.

The risk lies in failing to deliver on those expectations, and they may be unrealistically high – not just domestically, but among her admirers globally.

It’s tempting to think that Ardern’s legacy is already written.

But politics moves so fast these days that crystal-ball gazing is turning into a mug’s game.

Despite the hissing and spitting at Kiwblog and Whale Oil, Ardern has shown some real leadership on some things, most notably the Christchurch mosque massacres, and her follow up in Paris this week.

But she does have to prove she can live up to her ‘transformative’ rhetoric and deliver some significant transformations this year, A lot is likely to depend on the budget due next week.

She will also be hoping some of her ministers learn enough and improve enough to start delivering more.

And she will be hoping that the scandal waiting to happen NZ First manage to survive the term not just without any major embarrassments, but also that they survive the next election.

And also that the Greens survive the next election.

Arden has done a lot well, most notably turning round a failing Labour around in the last election camp, and negotiating governing arrangements with NZ First and Greens.

She has done remarkably well, and still looks strong, but her fate as Prime Minister may be in the hands of her two support parties as much as anyone’s.

 

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30 Comments

  1. Corky

     /  19th May 2019

    It would be a tragedy if Jacinda lost the next election. While I personally believe she and her government are on their way to wrecking the country, both politically and socially, the fact is National don’t deserve a sniff of the treasury benches. National has no vision. They practice pragmatic politics before any set of core moral principles – principles that should be opposing Labour at every opportunity.

    Reply
    • Zedd

       /  19th May 2019

      IF you actually bother voting.. maybe I’ll start taking you seriously.

      btw: MrT is not standing in Aotearoa/NZ in 2020.. just in case, you think.. he maybe !

      Reply
    • Corky

       /  19th May 2019

      I smell herb?

      Reply
  2. David

     /  19th May 2019

    Watkins is surprisingly blinkered as are most of the female gallery journalists, almost Mallard like in looking after a new Mum. I think Ardern is a lovely person and she did well over Christchurch but I think overall her and her cabinet have been pleasingly hopeless in being able to deliver anything.
    We are seeing the mirror image of Trudeau and Obama and to a smaller degree Macron, popularity is fleeting when the substance doesnt match the halo.

    Reply
    • Kitty Catkin

       /  19th May 2019

      I think that she’s as shallow as a soup bowl.

      She is good at the dramatic gesture and photo ops, but those are not what’s needed to keep a country running.

      She’s like a firework that makes an impressive noise and show but soon fizzes out.

      Reply
      • harryk

         /  19th May 2019

        ‘shallow as a soup bowl’

        By gum lad when we was kids we was too poor to own soup bowl we ‘ad to drink soup from shoe but did we complain nooo eee lad we was poor but honest except grandpa ‘e was right bastard an’ grandma did jig on table when Zulus speared ‘im …

        Reply
        • Kitty Catkin

           /  19th May 2019

          Soup from shoe ? Luxury !

          We didn’t ave owt like soup, sitha; we had to drink mud from a puddle if we wanted soup and wait for t’sun to warm it if we wanted hot. But we wor happy, we had nowt to complain of. Not like the nesh young ones t’day…ee, they don’t know they’re born, them lot.

          Reply
  3. Alan Wilkinson

     /  19th May 2019

    So far Ardern has done very little which is good because most of Labour policy is bad.

    The jury waits to see if that can continue.

    Reply
    • David

       /  19th May 2019

      Thankfully the cabinet are to inept to implement any of their insanity and Ardern prefers doing other things to managing her legislative agenda.

      Reply
      • Alan Wilkinson

         /  19th May 2019

        Cullen will be buried with his Capital Gains Tax. Be interesting to see if any other captains want to go down with their ship.

        Reply
  4. Zedd

     /  19th May 2019

    “Let’s do this !”… go you good thing !! 😀

    after 9 looooooooong years of the Tories.. what a breath of FRESH air Jacinda is ! 🙂

    Reply
    • Alan Wilkinson

       /  19th May 2019

      Hot air mostly, Zedd. Popular with airheads.

      Reply
      • Zedd

         /  19th May 2019

        Mickey mouse would have been preferable to B English/3 more years of Nat-act (IMHO)..

        So Jacinda is ‘Streets ahead’ 🙂

        Reply
        • Alan Wilkinson

           /  19th May 2019

          What has she done differently apart from talk?

          Reply
          • Blazer

             /  19th May 2019

            if as you infer, she has done nothing different…you would be very supportive of her.

            Reply
            • Zedd

               /  19th May 2019

              tautoko Blzr.. Key/english were definitely ‘All talk & NO action’

              Jacinda has at least tried to make a difference: cancelled Tax-cuts to Top 10% for a start, Stopped sell off; state houses, Winter energy pymts (beneficiaries), Med-cannabis & reeferendum & SOOOO much more to come 🙂

              May I suggest, you actually stop all the negative vitriol Alan & just accept that Natl actually LOST the election.. NOW; Lab/NZF/Grns are ‘getting on with it’ rather than just a ‘talk-fest; as you claim 😦

            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  19th May 2019

              I thought you would have noticed I have been moderately supportive of her – so long as she avoids implementing any Labour policy.

            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  19th May 2019

              @Z, the referendum is really just parking the issue but it’s a token. Let’s wait for the Budget on tax and see if she adjusts the bracket creep or just milks it. Housing is a horrible farce while they refuse to face facts. Most of the social indicators have got worse since she took office, not better but the media have abdicated their responsibility for holding her to account in favour of fawning over their pet Lefty.

            • Zedd

               /  19th May 2019

              ‘…..I have been moderately supportive of her – so long as she avoids implementing any Labour policy.’ sez AW

              meaning ??
              ….she should follow Key/english.. all talk but NO action. I think this is why NZF went with Lab-Grns, to actually do something, besides INANE rhetorical nonsense/misinfo. ?! :/

            • Duker

               /  19th May 2019

              “the media have abdicated their responsibility for holding her to account ”
              The media s job is to sell ads to make money for shareholders, they sell eyeballs.
              Stuff story today
              “Young couple stay at parents when cant find rental’

              Holding govt to account is opposition job. When did you think ‘holding to account’ was someones job outside parliament

            • Kitty Catkin

               /  19th May 2019

              They have two large dogs and refuse to part with them. Dogs that size are expensive to keep and, of course, owners are reluctant to rent houses to people with large dogs. I would be.

              There’s an excruciating piece about Clarke Gayford on the same page; fawning, admiring, totally boring. It wouldn’t even be interesting if one knew him. It ignores the fact that he spent four months as stay-at-home father before he went fishing again. It’s bum-crawling to say the least.

  5. Dennis Horne

     /  19th May 2019

    Labour will take one look at Australia and do a “Key” — smile and do nothing that upsets the punters.

    Democracy will usher in the end of Western civilisation.

    Reply
    • Dennis Horne

       /  19th May 2019

      The social media crack-down is a sideshow.

      Labour bailed out on a capital gains tax and its goals for reducing greenhouse gas emissions will not translate into a plan.

      Politics 101: Waffle wins the day.

      Reply
      • Kitty Catkin

         /  19th May 2019

        You forgot KiwiBuild.

        And the youth camp scandal where Labour was shown to be allowing underage teenagers to have access to liquor with no adult supervision. Why was nobody charged with this ? It is against the law, after all.

        Reply
        • Kitty Catkin

           /  19th May 2019

          The fine is $2000. If people give young ones alcohol, they are supposed to supervise and make sure that it’s used responsibly.

          Reply
  6. She'llBeRight!

     /  26th May 2019

    Metaphorically, Ms Ardern is a cheerleader type of leader. Contrast the contribution of the team captain or the coach in terms of winning the game. She wins the crowd. But does this country need a cheerleader at the helm? Some people see strength in strategic skill, technical competence, team leadership as vitally important. They want a general, not a cheerleader who dances to the popular tune to raise the cheers on the sideline.

    Reply

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