2019 politician of the year – Jacinda Ardern and others

It’s that time of the year that journalists say which politicians have performed well and which have have performed not so well. Actually political journalists see a lot of politics and politicians so should have a better insight than the rest of us into who is performing well.

Jacinda Ardern had to deal with two major events that received world wide attention, the Christchurch mosque attacks and the White Island eruption. She was widely seen to have handled these very well, getting international praise (and a lot of praise nationally, with just some petty criticisms).

David Seymour, Chlöe Swarbrick and Simon Bridges also get some positive mentions.

Phil Twyford features most often inb negative mentions.

Audrey Young (NZH paywalled, ODT print): And my politician of the year is …

…nothing had the impact as Ardern reflecting both the anguish and strength of a broken-hearted country.

…She helped New Zealand come to terms with what had happened.

She not only rescued New Zealand’s reputation internationally, she enhanced it.

She united a world in grief and in thee process etched an unforgettable place for herself in it.

She has also led an international effort to reduce the chances of terrorists using social media to spread coverage of atrocities.

The Australian Crikey Award – And the 2019 Person of the Year is…

…the voting for 2019 Person of the Year has been the tightest on record. A mere 37 votes separate first and second place.

So first, an honourable mention to Greta Thunberg, who spent the year giving world leaders a well deserved shellacking for their inaction on climate change. The predictable barrage of hostility and petty insults from conservative politicians and media has left her unbowed.

But, ultimately, our readers — perhaps with a sigh of jealousy — opted for a leader across the Tasman.

“They are us”. Three words from a leader dealing with the immediate aftermath of a disaster, the likes of which her country had never seen. That first speech, before the full extent of the horror was known, summed up why New Zealand PM Jacinda Ardern topped this list:

Many of those who will have been directly affected by this shooting may be migrants to New Zealand, they may even be refugees here. They have chosen to make New Zealand their home, and it is their home.

They are us.

Ardern’s response to the unimaginable horror of the Christchurch massacre was more or less flawless in both tone and content. The dignity and solidarity she showed with victims was matched with the courage to act decisively on reforming New Zealand’s gun laws.

In a year where many leaders fled from scrutiny or cashed in on the kind of sentiments that lead to incidents like Christchurch, Ardern showed what leadership that pushes back against the worst parts of society really looks like.

The Whakaari/White Island disaster acted as a grotesque bookend on New Zealand’s year. The full extent of the response is still developing, but if the aftermath of March 2019 is anything to go by, those impacted would be justified in a quiet confidence they’re in good hands.

Audrey Young also details the negatives of Ardern’s Government – the embarassing “year of delivery” that was fairly mediocre, scrapping CGT plans,  the hopeless Kiwibuild fiasco, her lack of control over NZ First ministers, slow progress on health and poverty.

She also names other good performers:

Ardern’s two best performers have been Chris Hipkins, who knows how to get things done, and James Shaw, who persevered with an inclusive approach to establishing climate change architecture.

Hipkins and Shaw have been quiet achievers.  Shaw’s efforts may or may not help to save the planet, but they should at least save the Green Party from the threshold in next year’s election.

New Zealand First’s Tracey Martin deserves a special mention for a disarmingly frank approach to her job.

This approach deserves praise, and more prominence than what some of her party colleagues get.

Henry Cooke (Stuff): Jacinda Ardern found new heights of power in 2019 – and hit hard limits

Jacinda Ardern’s power and popularity reached dizzying heights this year in the weeks after the March 15 tragedy.

Over half of the country wanted her to be prime minister in early April according to one poll, and another had her party at more than 50 per cent support.

But the harsh limit of Ardern’s actual power in Parliament was brought into sharp relief not long afterwards, when Labour lost its decade-long battle to introduce a capital gains tax, a key tool in the party’s planned assault on high house prices.

It is housing which Ardern pointed to as the biggest problem in her “year of delivery” when talking to Stuff for an end-of-year interview.

Stuff: Greens reflect on year of climate change action

The Green Party has emerged relatively unscathed from 2019…

Co-leaders James Shaw and Marama Davidson are able to count big wins and few failures, confident they know their voters and know what they’ve delivered – even if the Government hasn’t, as they’re happy to concede.

Despite a promise to focus relentlessly on economic inequality, the Greens’ wins mostly sit on the greener end of the spectrum – specifically climate change.

Also from Stuff: The biggest political moments of 2019, from tragedy to farce

The Spinoff – New Zealand politics in 2019: we pick the champs and the flops

Champs:

Alex Brae

  1. David Seymour
  2. Chlöe Swarbrick
  3. Adrian Orr

Linda Clark:

  1. Jacinda Ardern
  2. Simon Bridges
  3. Andrew Little/Jan Logie

Emma Espiner:

  1. Winston Peters
  2. Shane Jones
  3. Shane Jones’ hat

Morgan Godfery:

  1. Jacinda Ardern
  2. Pania Newton
  3. Christchurch

Liam Hehir:

  1. Jacinda Ardern
  2. James Shaw
  3. Simon Bridges

Stephen Jacobi:

  1. Jacinda Ardern
  2. James Shaw
  3. Todd Muller

Annabelle Lee:

  1. Māori midwives and Ngāti Kahungunu
  2. Marama Davidson
  3. Jacinda Ardern

Toby Manhire:

  1. Jacinda Ardern
  2. Simon Bridges
  3. Chlöe Swarbrick

Danyl Mclauchlan:

  1. Simon Bridges
  2. Jacinda Ardern 
  3. James Shaw

Shane Te Pou:

  1. Andrew Little
  2. Chris Hipkins
  3. NZ First

Claire Robinson:

  1. Jacinda Ardern
  2. Simon Bridges
  3. David Seymour

Trish Sherson:

  1. New Zealanders
  2. James Shaw
  3. David Seymour

Ben Thomas:

  1. Jacinda Ardern
  2. James Shaw
  3. David Seymour

Flops:

Alex Brae

  1. John Tamihere
  2. Justin Lester
  3. The Capital Gains Tax refusal from Labour

Linda Clark:

  1. Phil Twyford
  2. Alfred Ngaro’s Christian Party
  3. Garrick Tremain

Morgan Godfery:

  1. The National Party social media team
  2. Simon Bridges
  3. The Greens

Liam Hehir:

  1. Phil Twyford
  2. Winston Peters
  3. Shane Jones

Stephen Jacobi:

  1. Jami-Lee Ross
  2. Clayton (“we are the law”) Mitchell
  3. Protectionists, isolationists, conspiracy theorists

Annabelle Lee:

  1. Grainne Moss and Oranga Tamariki
  2. WINZ
  3. Strike Force Raptor

Toby Manhire:

  1. Phil Twyford
  2. The NZ Labour Party
  3. Small parties

Danyl Mclauchlan:

  1. Shane Jones
  2. Phil Twyford
  3. Nigel Haworth

Shane Te Pou:

  1. Phil Twyford
  2. The National Party
  3. Iain Lees-Galloway

Claire Robinson:

  1. Winston Peters
  2. Trevor Mallard
  3. Jacinda Ardern

Trish Sherson:

  1. The year of delivery
  2. Phil Twyford
  3. Working Groups

Ben Thomas:

  1. Phil Twyford
  2. David Clark
  3. Chris Hipkins

 

Leave a comment

23 Comments

  1. Zedd

     /  22nd December 2019

    Champs:
    Jacinda (Lab. GOVT)
    Marama/James (Grns)
    Winston (NZ1st)

    Losers:
    Simon (opposition)
    Paula (opposition)
    Jamie-Lee (cut off)

    🙂

    Reply
  2. duperez

     /  22nd December 2019

    Like the Sportsperson of the year thing this exercise is shows the weird need of people to rank and compare everything. And of course a media eager to capitalise. I remember Paul Holmes seemingly trying to popularise this way of having us think about people and what they’d done: “Yes, but out of 10, how would you rate this?” Black and white.

    It’s just journalists saying which politicians have performed well and which have have performed not so well? Yes? From their perspective.

    They see a lot of politics and politicians? Yes. So they should have a better insight than the rest of us? Yes, but insight is more than just seeing and ‘should have’ is different than ‘do have.’ And then on top of that come the demands and limitations of their sphere and the inevitable personal foibles.

    Reply
  3. Alan Wilkinson

     /  22nd December 2019

    Got to be Boris. Threw the baggage overboard, got the UK ship of state off the rocks and heading to open water.

    Reply
  4. Pink David

     /  22nd December 2019

    Interesting to see how many people rate Jacinda Ardern highly for leadership, then rate what she leads as a flop.

    Reply
  5. alloytoo

     /  22nd December 2019

    Jacinda read a prepared script and we called it leadership?

    2019 was the year of non-delivery across the board.

    Reply
    • Blazer

       /  22nd December 2019

      after 9 years of ‘Bill the Borrower’ and Shonkey Tonks ,NZ finally making progress in most areas.

      P.M a politician lauded internationally…Simple Simon and Putrid Paula…eat your…hearts…out.

      Reply
      • Kitty Catkin

         /  22nd December 2019

        The overseas fawners don’t have to live with her.

        Reply
        • Blazer

           /  22nd December 2019

          how has your life changed for the worse since we got rid of the Govt the few?

          Reply
          • Gerrit

             /  23rd December 2019

            Paying a huge increase in levies (taxes) = less disposable income to spend as one wishes to enjoy life.

            With increased charges everywhere, life is definitely changed for the worse.

            And with more to come even the lint in the back pocket is not safe.

            This government has a few months to really give the trade able sectors working poor some attention or, like the Democrats in the USA and Labour in the UK, face the voters wrath.

            The “deplorables” need some attention.

            Spotted on Chris Trotters blog, this is worth 30 minutes of your time.

            Reply
            • Blazer

               /  23rd December 2019

              ‘Paying a huge increase in levies (taxes) = less disposable income to spend as one wishes to enjoy life.
              With increased charges everywhere, life is definitely changed for the worse.’

              very vague there Gerrit…

              you would be a fan of raising GST to 15%,incresing petrol levies by 17c a litre,doubling the price of Real Estate of course…..that equates to???

            • Gerrit

               /  23rd December 2019

              Blazer, What is your point?

              Saying National did it too, so it makes what Labour does now, OK?

              I dont think any politicians equates the need to leave some lint in the back pocket to (and to quote Labour) the “wellbeing” of the voter.

              Neither do politicians equate the need to have inequality between those in the tradeable tax paying sector to those in the state bureaucratic non tradeable non tax paying sector.

              No political party will make getting up to go to work, in a tax paying role (be it self employed or salaried or waged), a greater priority then the “wellbeing” of the tax spending non tradeable sector worker.

              So again there is not a single politician that deserves the title “politician of the year”.

            • Blazer

               /  23rd December 2019

              @Gerrit…very interesting vid btw.
              Given your comments about the tradeable sector,I can’t see how things have got worse under the COL Govt!

              As you know the FIRE economy was stoked up under the Natz ,because it made GDP look good.
              Real growth in the tradeable sector has been neglected for years.

              9 years to do something against 2 years of addressing issues that the great’ financial managers’ put in the too hard basket.

          • Gerrit

             /  23rd December 2019

            Again Blazer, you are still playing party politics. This transcends left or right, they did nothing for nine years refrain (or in the case of the Clark/Cullen government, left the cupboard bare and the state coffers empty).

            Labour will suffer in 2020 if they don’t take on board the concerns of the “deplorables”. It has nothing to do with “fixing” wrongs, it is all about addressing the plight of the marginalised tax payer.

            What we have is one political party looking after the interest of the wealthy 1% whilst the other looks after the 1% in varies alpha listed minority communities and tax users.

            Neither seem to look after the 98% in between.

            Reply
          • alloytoo

             /  23rd December 2019

            Increased taxes and higher inflation.

            Reply
    • duperez

       /  22nd December 2019

      Which PMs read prepared scripts and we called it leadership?

      Reply
  6. Gerrit

     /  23rd December 2019

    Interesting statistic in the “deplorables” documentary.

    Only 3% of UK Labour MP had working class experience (worked for wages at some stage).

    97% were university educated liberals.

    Not sure how this statistic sits in New Zealand but this divide between the university common room elitist and smoko room “deplorable” is proving worldwide to be a divide that needs bridging.

    I cant think of one MP in New Zealand (least of all Ardern) that straddles the divide and is ready to take this country forward.

    Thus I don’t have a single MP worth naming “politician of the year”. .

    Reply
    • Blazer

       /  23rd December 2019

      Only 3% of UK Labour MP had working class experience (worked for wages at some stage).

      love to see the Tory stats for a comparison.

      Reply
      • Gerrit

         /  23rd December 2019

        So would I. It is not till we lump all politicians together as not serving the people that we may get change. It is no longer about left or right.

        I have no great respect for either or all of the political parties. They are filled with people who don’t have the foresight to see what the voters need.

        Hence I would like to see term limits (for me 3) to how long any single person can be an MP. That way we get people who have at least some experience in the real world.

        We simply need to get away from career politicians who are there not for the voter but for themselves and their reelection.

        Whilst reluctant to see a four year term, I can see merit in having a four year term with mid term elections where we vote for the list MP’s separately from the electorate MP’s.

        That way any political party has to be keener to heed the voters wishes or face having to renegotiate another government under MMP every two years.

        Reply
        • Blazer

           /  23rd December 2019

          it comes down to is ‘Jack as good as his…master’.

          Reply
          • Gerrit

             /  23rd December 2019

            Blazer, wrong; for it comes down to politicians being answerable to the voter and carrying out the wishes of the electorate.

            Jack is the master, the politician the servant.

            Too many politicians tell us what to do, none listen to what the voters want.

            So if the voters want a second tunnel in Wellington or a four lane road between major centres then it is the politicians job to make this happen.

            Or if the voters want a cycle lane from here to there, the politicians need to make that happen.

            And ALL politicians are answerable to, subservient to, and dependent upon, the political party they belong to. The concern or wants off the voter is of secondary importance to the MP’s in regards what the party wants.

            This happens not just a national governance level but local as well.

            Reply
        • Pink David

           /  23rd December 2019

          “Hence I would like to see term limits (for me 3) to how long any single person can be an MP. That way we get people who have at least some experience in the real world.”

          Agree. I’d also have a rule that no one can run for office before 30. You want people to have that experience before they run for office, and it reduces the chances of people becoming career politicians from school to retirement.

          Reply
    • Pink David

       /  23rd December 2019

      “Not sure how this statistic sits in New Zealand but this divide between the university common room elitist and smoko room “deplorable” is proving worldwide to be a divide that needs bridging.”

      Yeap. This is also repeated in France. it’s led by people who are all produced by the Grandes Écoles, while the ‘working class’ are on the streets in visi vests.

      Reply

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