Saturday, September 29, 2018

New Zealand on the world stage

The video above is of New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s speech to the United Nations. The nature of the speech made some people describe her as the “anti-Trump”, but this is unfair. She was articulating New Zealand values and New Zealand’s vision for the world, and if other countries find their leaders lacking, that has nothing to do with us, or our prime minister.

For me, one of the highlights came near the end of her speech:
I for one will never celebrate the gains we have made for women domestically, while internationally other women and girls experience a lack of the most basic of opportunities and dignity. Me Too must become We Too. We are all in this together.
This is a powerful statement in support of of women’s empowerment, which is so desperately needed in so many countries, but also of fundamental human values. This is what New Zealand stands for.

While the United Nations speech got most of the headlines here, Jacinda also delivered the keynote address at the International Conference on Sustainable Development:

This speech echoes some of the things she said in the UN speech, but this one was more pointed. “Politics is a place that you can address injustice,” she said. That is one of the most fundamental values of the New Zealand Labour Party that she leads, and it’s what I have always believed, no matter what party I supported. Beyond that, she sets out a vision of an entirely new way of measuring a country’s success, one that can pave the way forward, and out of the mess that all Western nations find themselves in.

Our prime minister is a breath of fresh air, espousing both progressive and human values—New Zealand values—and she has done us proud on the world stage. It was a successful visit.

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