MEDIAWATCH: Jacinda’s Legacy

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Great legacy piece on Jacinda today from Kevin Norquay

On Thursday, Jacinda Ardern gives her valedictory speech and leaves Parliament, likely forever. How will history rate her turbulent period as prime minister? Kevin Norquay reports.

Jacinda Ardern was a political shooting star who lit up politics both here and overseas, but her leadership became increasingly shadowed by mistrust, misogyny and social media mayhem.

Judging her legacy is complicated. Life in politics rarely ends well. Elections simply move you one step closer to the misery of rejection at the ballot booth, or enforced retirement.

In both cases, there will be more who celebrate your demise than say thanks.

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As a politician, Ardern was a populist success; the most popular PM in recent history, both in the polls and at the ballot box. And yet, she was also very unpopular, a target of online hate and virulent protest, which followed the arrival of an invisible and insidious enemy, Covid.

Her “be kind” front-and-centre handling of Covid won plaudits, allowing her in 2020 to form the first majority government since the first MMP election in 1996. ​

As the pandemic dragged frustration, anxiety and division grew, with turbulence and public anger that academics maintain has not been seen since the 1981 Springbok tour.

Unlike 1981, the enemy was invisible, not touring the country to play rugby. For those who had lost their jobs to vaccine mandates, suffered anxiety, seen their businesses fold, Ardern was a visible target.

…who was kind enough to ask my opinion…

The left-wing commentator, Martyn ‘Bomber’ Bradbury, editor of The Daily Blog, says Ardern’s greatest strength – empathy and kindness – was also a political Achilles heel.

“To my mind, there are two Jacindas – the one with superhuman emotional intelligence in moments of crisis that had us bonded in solidarity to one another, and the super cautious domestic policy Jacinda who, despite having our hearts soar from the rhetoric of transformation, always managed to disappoint in delivery,” he says.

“There are only so many ‘good first steps’ before you accept you are jogging on the spot. In the end her kindness exacerbated anger because when you are hurting, having someone smile at you makes you angrier.”

Bradbury called it “neo-kindness”.

“The level of toxic social media hate algorithms spewed against her demeaned us all as a people. She saved us from a mass death event, yet we turned on her,” he says.

“The day she stood down, we gasped as a country at how we ended up breaking her.

“When China tries to tell the history books that their authoritarian model and state coercion was the best way to defeat Covid compared to the weak democracies of the west, New Zealand can proudly hold its head up and point to our results based on being open and frank with our citizens and trusting in them to act in the common good.

“We could only do that because we had Jacinda as our leader. History will remember her boldness and we won’t forget it either. We will just wish she did so much more.”

…she really was an extraordinary Prime Minister…

Bradbury says it is important to properly farewell and thank Ardern, hailing her for her ability to inspire women.

“Her legacy is that she made every woman I respect and love stand two inches taller. Her leadership as a woman was authentic female power at its most humanly powerful. Kindness was a strength, not a weakness,” he says.

Kiwi’s wince when we are asked ‘do you know’ once someone finds out you are a New Zealander.
The wince is that reflective exasperation at the perception NZ is so tiny we know everyone.
Hilariously we always do!

“When international visitors ask if I know Jacinda, I laugh and admit she babysat my daughter once and that I worked with her partner as a Radio DJ,” he says.

..even managed to get a shout out to Clarke into it!

She was a remarkable Prime Minister and we are a lesser people for the way she was driven out in the end.

History will remember her boldness and we won’t forget it either.
We will just wish she did so much more.

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110 COMMENTS

  1. Mixed – She was not Judith Collins…thank Goodness. BUT, she enjoyed, look at her interviews, dividing Kiwis against each other over the Covid epidemic…bloody awful

    • Jacinda was not doing the dividing, those who insisted & still persist in the false views regarding vaccines caused the division.

        • Your right Nathan, though by saving Queenys arse she saved yours although I seriously don’t think it will ever register with you.

          • National are Squeaky Clean – and yet, over 90% of Kiwis had Covid, despite the former PM – this would not happen if you have the jab…also, which Statistics are you using? The Government Statistics?? too many questions over their data sets…

        • 0.1% of the 2,236,114 covid cases died. 2550 in total. One of the lowest in the world.
          You need to try harder with your right wing narrative Bob, rather than your usual bullshit posts offering no statistical data or evidence. But you already know that don’t you.

          JACINDA SAVED US!

          • National are Squeaky Clean – Using WHO statistics…really? THat is not a good idea, they (WHO) are corrupt…also, Africa has an extremely low jab rate, AND Covid death rate…explain this if you can

            • No, not Who fuckwit do your own research.
              You are very lazy with your posts and cry conspiracy ( right wing) where there is none!

          • Gosh there’s no hope for you NSC you are unable to grasp the basics.
            Your emotions have replaced what little commonsense you had.
            Jacinda saved no one.

  2. She was indeed a remarkable Prime Minister and she was celebrated as such here and even more so abroad.
    Her spectacular failure as Prime Minister demonstrates that she was human.

    The capability of rational thought is what makes us human but rational thought can be used to justify good and bad in equal measure. Rational thought not challenged is akin to anarchy.

    Silencing critics bad for all of us.

  3. A big plus for covid and jointly managing the Ch massacre with the Muslim leaders other than that I see her time a big failure to be instrumental in any change of direction for those at the bottom. Now the wheels are really falling of the Labours lies of a open and trustworthy government . She quit before she was pushed but she does deserve a thank you and our best wishes in her future married life.

    • Trevor Indeed. Remember kneecapping the Commissioner for Vulnerable Children, against all advice. Remember Te Puapua, a lengthy agenda developed in secret and required reading for supporters of democratic government.

      • He Puapua was set up to formulate a set of
        recommendation concerning UNDRIP initiated under the Natz John Key govt in 2010.

        The He Puapua report isn’t govt policy and can reject or implement aspect of their findings. The right scaremongering tactics again similar to the Co-governance initiated and implemented by the Natz Chris Finlayson Ben Thomas & co….

        • Yet, we cannot debate this matter. Not even allowed to comment on it in comments to opinion pieces that barely sees daylight.

          And when you do comment on what is in the report you are called all kinds of nasty names.

          The common understanding seems to be (and this is what Hipkins tells us from the pulpit of truth) that anyone who has gone to the trouble of reading the report is either a racist, iwi elite or lacks the ability to understand what they have read.

  4. True left-wing politicians are prepared to risk and give their lives for the cause.
    Che Guevara, Mao Zedong, Joseph Stalin, Fidel Castro. Executed, multiple attempted assassinations, multiple family members executed.

    Jacinda stepped down because of a few negative social media posts – and what the heck was she doing on social media anyway?

    Here is someone who was 9 years in opposition, yet did not have a plan to solve child poverty when she came into power. That is pathetic

    • That say so much of what is wrong in our political debate.
      Those people are left wing politicians. Left wingers, dear comrades, study what these people stood for and then understand what it is that you support.

  5. 100000 plus “machine guns” lost into the ether, that’s Ardern & Nash’s legacy. That & increased gang shootings. Safer communities, not.

  6. I voted for John Key in 2014 as the circus created by Kim Dot Com all of a sudden made the election about foreign control and influence etc. It was a policy-free election. Then in 2017 I lost faith in National as they denied we had a housing crisis. Seeing the video of a dad with his daughter living in their station wagon swung me to vote for Labour. Then, almost within weeks of being announced as PM, Ardern granted an exclusive interview with Mediaworks (her partner’s employer) announcing her plans to become the second ever world leader to give birth. This interview would have been set up well in advance, and it was a major exclusive for Mediaworks. That was the first time I thought something was a bit off. Then NZ suffered its worst international terrorism attack since the Rainbow Warrior bombing. Same scenario repeated – a devious foreign national plans out a detailed attack on a soft target with next to no security. (This attack would have not been possible in most other Western countries.) Ardern’s reaction was to lay blame with all the gun owners of NZ. (Bear in mind the terrorist also considered using bombs and/or setting Mosques on fire.) That’s when I lost faith in Arden’s judgement. Lastly, I remember Ardern going live on TV and telling Kiwis that even though we had Covid cases down to single figures per day, she was a ‘perfectionist’ and just another fortnight in Level 3 lockdown would be what the doctor ordered. This decision is probably what broke the will of many Auckland small business owners. In summary, I’m at fault for voting for Arden because I lost faith in John Key’s National. However, I will never vote Labour again in my lifetime.

  7. inspire women? has Jacinda ever even just explained what a women is and if they are one?

    • So she wasn’t a real PM or a real woman because she didn’t talk specifically about her genitalia?
      Was that a silicone baby bump ?

      Woman’s new job criteria on intro to her workplace colleagues is to announce what makes her a woman then to head off to her minimum wage job which doesn’t pay for period products, give enough parent leave, after she has been a victim that morning of the gamut of IPV, or stressed with insufficient child care funds because her employer pays her a rate less than the same worker elsewhere…

      Oh wait , JACINDA improved those !

      • Men now birth children. Not sure what you are talking about but did they ever announce their she/her pronouns? If not, you are gendering Jacinda Ardern.

  8. Its wrong to say men are misogynists because men idolise woman it’s just the dating market is so fractured that more and more men are passing away as virgins. So 70 years ago something happened to relationships. Woman are having sex with a shrinking pool of males.

    Incels, the involuntary celibate are told that they’re scum. They don’t know how to talk to woman, they don’t know how to date or the logistics of having sex and get rejected every time so when they see a woman who is reasonably happy in a relationship it hurts them.

    I’m not trying to minimise the abuse Jacinda copped rather there are very good reasons why it happened that isn’t touched on except by super brains like Jordan Peterson who saw the crises of masculinity coming.

    I don’t know what the answers are but I know banning hate speech isn’t one of them. Neither is pressuring all males are guilty.

    Man hating is so structural no one can really see it not even a super brain like Jordan Peterson can see it when he says marxists are the devil for trying to bring down capitalism. I actually like the wonders of the culinary world so I’m not trying to bring it down rather regulate the excesses.

    Dead beat dad’s are boo’d constantly and the mothers cheered but when it comes out (and this is just a general example of the treatment of men) that the man isn’t even the biological parent they’re still boo’d anyway because they don’t want to support the child after fing out they’ve been con’d. About 30% of DNA testing shows that the male isn’t the father. Yet incels and dead beat fathers are the ones being blamed for cutting Jacinda’s career as PM short.

    I think if Jacinda really wanted to she could come back for another crack at being Prime Minister. I just think that her resignation let a lot of scummy people off the hook like as if National are going to reform welfare or oranga tamariki there stated policy is to make it worse.

  9. Jacinda’s legacy is leaving the country in economic ruin from pointless covid measures, shocking mental health statistics, appalling poverty for many, and, the Coup de grâce, woke ideology that has mentally damaged a generation of New Zealanders. Well done!

    • ‘mental health’ — the new code word for people who are just going through a rough patch and are a bit down. Just the worried well if you ask me. Who is the ‘woke’ person now.

      Speaking of ‘woke’, the ideology you bag is actually just treating LGBT people with a semblance of respect and dignity. Do you really want to go back to the days where people were sacked from their jobs if they were gay?

      The poverty would have been a lot worse under National. They dont want people having more money. Simple as as that.

      • No different to being sacked from your job for being old male or white because diversity (talkback radio being a great case study) there is always bigotry it’s just the lunatic rainbow branch of the left pushing it at the moment.

      • No Millsy treating LGBT people with respect was what gay activism was about before it went woke (the arrival of queer theory ideologues and corporate virtue signallers).

        If you think woke ideology supports LGBT people ask why homosexual has been redefined as same ‘gender’ attracted leading to the common case of lesbians being shamed for not wanting to sleep with Transwomen. It’s akin to 1980s jocks telling gay women that lesbians weren’t real and they hadn’t met the ‘right man’.

        Reality check, most actual Transwomen are not trying to sleep with or shame lesbians but the ideology and the activists certainly are. This is one example of many, woke queer theory is a deeply homophobic ideology.

    • Totally agree Nitrium.
      New Zealand in a far worse position since Jacinda Ardern became Prime Minister.

  10. Jacinda gave me hope for the first time in my life that politics could be managed without an ego.
    Unfortunatly the beurocracy had her hands tied preventing the change she hoped for.
    Utmost respect for her valiant attempt to change how governance can be done with integrity. Turns out ….. impossible.

  11. Personally the covid response and what followed wasn’t the reason for failing JA IMO. I thought she did a pretty good job with Covid. Initially. I saw her as a fraud when she folded over a CGT. You would think as a righty I would have commended her stance, but having paid death duties as a former farmer I can see the need for everybody to pay their share. Using Winston as her excuse showed her as being a populist PM and I looked at her in a different light after that. She is a skilled orator and she used that skill to ovoid being accountable for the real issues of the day. A waste of her talent and a waste of a government mandate.

    • I’d like to know what talent she had that was wasted?

      One could argue that she had great empathy, but actual evidence suggests that this was either exaggerated or indeed, fake.

      She did say the right things during the CHCH dark hours but then missed the mark by blaming the wrong people. And the White Island incident, well her govt sued the people that put their lives at risk to actually save lives…hardly a nice person then?

      Sorry i’m struggling to find one redeeming quality that she had, let alone talent.

      • BG “… what talent she had that was wasted” ? She baked homemade scones for visiting celeb pop star Ed Sheeran but mightn’t have done it for children living in cars, carports, garages, sheds, and aunty’s wash houses ?

      • Her talent was her ability to take the people with her. Her fans adored her and even some from the right like me might have crossed the line into the red zone if she had kept her nerve. Her wish to be popular with a broader section of the public meant she too often chose the popular path as apposed to the right path. Apart from Covid she just couldn’t make policy decisions that might lose votes. The other dead weight around her neck was her government.

  12. Jacinda was great. Wound a lot of crybabies up. Loved it. Shame there won’t be a third term.

  13. Personally I wish she went harder on the power companies.

    COVID gave Jacinda a once in a life time oppurtunity to really transform this country, but she bottled it.

    • Bottled or did you mean botched?
      I actually miss her. I would have liked to see her handling of the Posie Parker thing.

      She had authority to deal with the “power companies” as her block owned the controlling majority of those companies.

      I think that we also will find that the ComCom investigation will show that the banking industry is generally healthy.

  14. Her pro-Maori stance (rightfully calling Maori Indigenous) hurt her culminated by wearing the Hijab in solidarity of the massacre by a white supremacist against the Christchurch Muslim community. The NZ pakeha electoral isn’t kind to Maori or Muslims.

    This is a major factor in the rise of ACT polling using anti-Maori sentiments to further their chances in our national election this year, funded and pushed by the Pakeha elite advocating policies attacking maori a vulnerable people in their own lands.

    Regardless if National was the govt concerning covid they no doubt would of push hash lockdown measures so basically the 2 parties wouldn’t be distinctive in this regard IMO.

    The Co-governance arrangements with maori initiated under the John Key govt was another issue that her govt hadn’t explain thoroughly however the systemic racism maori face in NZ is enough to turn this conversation into a red hot Maori hating bashing event, evident on TDB and other media sites.

    Learn your fucken history TDB commentators it spell out Co-governance clearly in the Maori version of the TOW article 2 which the majority of chiefs sign. No principles just straight out promises ‘Tino rangatiratanga’ continued control over their lands and resources.

    The very first NZ wars started in 1845-46 because of this broken promise recognized by an advocate of the TOW Hone Heke and Kawiti Te ruki. It was named the accidental war that drove settlers towards Tamaki Makaurau (Auckland) under the Umbrella of Ngati Whatua and Tanui.

    I wish her and her family well

    • Stephen – Nga Puhi, and the other people of Northland, went from the wealthiest people, and region in NZ – to the poorest, and is still the poorest, after Hone Heke- Kawiti Te Ruki actions…enjoy your history Tipene

  15. History will show Jacinda Ardern saved New Zealand. The detractors will say different however for all the naysayers, the trolls, the pale grey stale misogynist men and women you are alive because of her and her government. Jacinda Ardern had the courage to impose actions that saved our lives. She stood up to the business round table, the farmers, groundswell, counterspin, the right wing press gallery. History will show how all these people would have failed us for the sake of the mighty dollar. Many decried the covid payments that kept their workers in work. ( although it is notable these people were the first to ask for money from the government after cyclone Gabrielle , have they learned nothing about rainy days). These people are now decrying the workers on minimum pay who had a pay rise these who were and are essential workers in our time of crisis. National and ACT don’t care about these working people on low wages. Jacinda stood up against the gun lobby ( we have no right to carry arms). She had the Christchurch massacre, the White Island tragedy. She had to deal with the god awful parliamentary protest with all the consequences that brought. These people were treated as heroes while the protesters last week in Auckland were subversive violent activists . Marama Davies was the fall guy there . People on the right will say New Zealand is divided, I would like to think we are growing up , sadly not . I think this country is only in our teenage years . Many of the haters will not be around to read the history books , goodbye Jacinda thank you for saving NZ , history will show even against all the odds that you did something that no politician has ever done before . Aroha to you and your family. You deserve the rest .

    • What did she save us from?
      Latest statistics show clearly New Zealand fared at a mediocre level only.
      The daily brain washing obviously worked,given the number of people who still think she saved us.
      Most everything else in New Zealand is at an historical disaster level.
      Queeny I know you mean well but I think your judgement is clouded by emotion.

      • Your judgment is not clouded by your hatred of the left? The latest statistics show clearly your bias outweighs commonsense.

        • You mean the “excess death” stats we are currently facing?

          Massaged numbers only work when you are an idiot. The rest of us stick to the facts, the pfizer injection neither stopped you catching or passing on covid so …what was the point of the whole exercise?

      • Patronizing as ever Bob. All the detractors will still detract. The usual suspects as usual will not agree with whatever she did so no surprises there.

  16. I’ll always remember the lockdown with fondness. Best team of 5 million ever.

    Thanks Jacinda!

    You were great, until you weren’t, but you went out on top.

    Well played!

    • As long as you took the forced treatment and didn’t talk to your neighbours .. so maybe a team of 3 million.

  17. Bonnie – Really? Are you sure about that?? Over, and over again she got it wrong…and refused to admit it…

  18. Brilliant response after the Christchurch mosque mass murder. Every New Zealander in the Middle East at the time owes her a debt of gratitude for that.

  19. Life of a politician.

    Fill everyone with promises
    Smile a lot.
    Win popularity contests.
    Do what bureaucrats tell them.
    Take lots of donations.
    Take advice from lobbyists.
    Pretend you use a democratic process at select committees
    Make sure you hang around for at least 9 years so you get a special pension, free air travel for life, an allowance that stacks based on years served.
    Walk away and leave their mess behind for someone else to clean up.

  20. At the commencement of Jacinda Ardern’s valedictory speech there will be a standing ovation in the House.

    Keep an eye out for those MPs whose seats are empty during Ardern’s valedictory speech, or who remain seated during the standing ovation. These are the MPs courting the Far Right vote. The MPs who make themselves scarce at this historic moment will have left the house because they don’t want to be caught by the cameras honouring the departing Prime Minister in case it offends their far right supporters.

    Who will be the MPs to watch to see if they remain seated during the standing ovation? Who will be the MPs to watch who purposely stay away?

    Number 1 to watch will be Christopher Luxon. Christopher Luxon won’t want to be seen sitting during the standing ovation. Luxon also won’t want to be seen standing to honour Ardern. I expect the parliamentary cameras to film his seat empty.

    Number 2 The Act caucus in its entirety will not want to be seen honouring Jacinda Ardern. Keep an eye out for their empty seats. And possibly even one brave Act MP prepared to attend to openly dis the ex PM by sitting through the standing ovation to garner far right voter support. That MP will be the MP most closest to the far right.

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