Thursday, August 02, 2018

Jacinda Ardern: One year as Labour Leader

One year ago yesterday, Jacinda Ardern became Leader of the New Zealand Labour Party. On October 26, 2017, she became the 40th Prime Minister of New Zealand. The video above from the New Zealand Labour Party gives a flavour of what the past year’s ride has been like. Add one more thing: Today she resumed her duties as Prime Minister after taking six weeks of maternity leave.

Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Winston Peters ceased being Acting Prime Minister when he left New Zealand on an official trip last night. He did a fine job as Acting Prime Minister, as I knew he would. I’m not a fan of Winston or his party, however, I’ve always pointed out to others that he’s always been a responsible and reliable member of every Labour Government he’s been part of. I never had any doubt about him. [See also: “PM in a pin-striped suit: Peters' reign comes to an end” By Jane Patterson at Radio New Zealand (RNZ)]

Jacinda is starkly realistic about her situation. “I'm not going to pretend that I have the same lot as every other woman," she told RNZ. "I'm privileged, I'm very, very lucky," she added. She also is determined that the government she leads will benefit all New Zealanders.

She appeared today on RNZ's Checkpoint with John Campbell, and it’s worth watching (video below). The interview gives some sense of where she’s coming from, what she hopes for, and how energised she is.

I’ve met Jacinda Ardern. I chatted with her as we walked through Birkenhead during the 2014 campaign. I could tell she was the real deal. She’s also close friends with one of my friends, who I greatly admire and respect, Richard Hills. He’s always spoken about her with respect and told me about how good she is not directly, but by talking about what she does and says. Because I respect him, I grew to respect her even more.

And, to address the elephant in the room, I cannot imagine the current US President being received as well  as as our Prime Minister. She's liked and respected by world leaders throughout the Western Alliance, something the current occupant of the White House certainly can’t claim. But New Zealand is a small player on the world stage, so does that matter? Maybe not. What she does for New Zealand does matter, to us, and she’s only been Prime Minister for nine months. Plenty of time to prove the inevitable critics wrong.

Happy Anniversary, Jacinda—and welcome back!


rogerogreen said...

"I cannot imagine the current US President being received as well as as our Prime Minister." That is SUCH a low bar!

rogerogreen said...

I keep discovering how much worse he is EVERY week, often with multiple examples

Arthur Schenck (AmeriNZ) said...

Yes. Some of that is just an accident, I think—just him being him. However, it also has the effect of wearing down his opponents so that we become too weary to keep up the fight. Then, he wins. But the other aspect is that he has some truly despicable people in his regime doing evil things. So, worse every week is kind of normal for him. 😕

Arthur Schenck (AmeriNZ) said...

Well, yeah, especially considering that real leaders wouldn't want to be popular only with authoritarian dictators and despots.