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Ardern is the anti Trump

Written By: - Date published: 8:27 am, October 2nd, 2018 - 48 comments
Categories: International, jacinda ardern, john key, labour, Simon Bridges, United Nations, us politics - Tags:

While the local right have spent the last week nit picking at Jacinda Ardern something significant has happened internationally.

Jacinda Ardern has emerged as the western leader who is the antithesis of every thing that Donald Trump stands for.

Check out this Guardian video if you need proof.

The differences are jarring. Yesterday’s man verses tomorrow’s woman. Inward looking and reactive verses outward looking and proactive.

And Jacinda talked about kindness, whereas Trump talked about force. I know which leader I would want in charge of my planet.

It did not stop the wreckers and haters from trying to manufacture a scandal out of Ardern’s office’s decision to hire a PR firm to take some photos and film of her trip.

From Claire Trevett at the Herald:

Jacinda Ardern hired an advertising agency to photograph and film her New York trip.

In the past, New Zealand Prime Ministers have had a staffer from their offices take photos, but Ardern had a crew of three from agency Augusto’s New York office.

They have been used on social media and Ardern told the Herald on Sunday some would also be used for campaign purposes.

This morning the Prime Minister’s office clarified that the images would be used for “stock footage and social media content that the government would be using in the future”, which they said is inside the rules.

But the Opposition has accused Ardern of breaching the rules around campaign spending.

Ardern defended the decision to contract the agency. She said Augusto’s fee would be paid for out of Labour’s Leaders’ Budget, a pool of taxpayer-funding which political parties can use for communications purposes.

“They did social media for us, they did a bit of work on the last campaign and so they’re doing work for us now, helping build up our stock footage and stuff. Campaign stuff.”

The footage and photos – including for some occasions to which media had no access – were also made available for media to use, including the Herald.

The Augusto crew were not part of the formal delegation, Ardern said, and because they were based in New York, the costs did not include air travel or accommodation.

Ardern said she did not know what the fee was for Augusto’s work.

“I haven’t looked at what the cost is, but we have a limited Leader’s Budget so it won’t be excessive. We wouldn’t have done it if it was significant. It was cheaper than bringing someone here.”

National went to town and the Herald for some inexplicable reason thought this was front page news.  Again from the article:

National’s deputy leader Paula Bennett said the filming would be an issue if the footage was used for campaign purposes.

“What stands out here is that the Prime Minister has said she is using her Leader’s Budget and the footage will be used for political campaigning.

“This is against the rules and I would urge the Prime Minister to clarify whether taxpayers’ funds will be used for the Labour Party to campaign.”

She said it wasn’t unusual for a leader to document their travels with photo and video footage, but former Prime Minister John Key would use a staffer to do so.

“When John Key was PM he would occasionally have a photographer on international trips, but only if they travelled on the Airforce 757 where there weren’t additional flying costs,” she said.

A National spokeswoman said no one in her office recalled Key hiring a local photographer in another country however sometimes a local New Zealand embassy would do so.

I am really struggling to see the problem here. Hiring someone based locally was considered to be cheaper than flying someone over so why not do this? And it is not as if Key never used Taxpayer money for similar purposes. Like paying $10,000 to secure him a slot on the David Letterman show. Or how about his hiring a photographer to take flattering pictures of National MPs? And if you want a real dodgy use of the leader’s budget how about paying off Todd Barclay’s victims?  Or how about finding out who National’s caucus leaker is?

And my facebook feed is inundated with ads pushing me to like National MP’s pages. Tell me that is not funded by some sort of public money.

But to go from the picky to the banal National is trying to manufacture a meme that Ardern is paradoxically like Trump.  Simon Bridges repeated this yesterday on Morning Report and maintained that the comparison was valid.  He thinks that a political leader speaking directly to supporters makes her Trump like.  I guess they also both breathe and eat and drink.  This is a farcical comparison.

But it did not stop occasional Standard reader Matthew Hooton from repeating the proposition.  But he also fell short in his analysis.  Although I agree with him when he said this:

National’s recent scattergun approach to victims of the meth contamination hysteria, the protection of imported Himalyan thars, and its attitude towards Trump himself has looked more like a midnight tweet-storm than a serious strategy to win back the Beehive.

It makes you wonder who is actually in charge of Bridges’ twitter account.

48 comments on “Ardern is the anti Trump”

  1. Sanctuary 1

    Ardern’s clip from the Colbert show has now had over 2.5 million views and is still trending number 1 on Youtube.

    Not that the angry men of our local media are celebrating. Imagine if this had been John Key – the spittle brigade of Garner, Hoskings, Soper, etc etc would we ejaculating into their microphones in joyous union.

  2. Robert Guyton 2

    Sean / September 30, 2018 (Yournz)
    “For what its worth, I’ve traveled overseas with former PM Key a number of times, as well as worked around him domestically. I’ve not traveled internationally with PM Ardern. There was a period Key’s first two terms where a staff member from either the PMO or the Leader’s Office accompanied the PM on all domestic and international trips that I went on with the sole purpose of taking photos of PM Key in action. In my memory, this was a new development from PM Clark. It was partly an acknowledgement of the new impact of social media and the increasing demands of online news cycles, and partly a reaction to media organisations pulling back from overseas trips because of cost.

    This photographer was part of the official party, and as such had access to events where the media were not allowed. Some bi-lats allowed a quick grip-and-grin at the beginning, and some did not. PM Key’s photographer would then make sure his photos were available to all NZ media. From the NZ Herald article, it appears that this protocol was the same in NY.

    “The footage and photos – including for some occasions to which media had no access –
    were also made available for media to use, including the Herald.”

    I recall on two occasions in the 2013 South America trip that the local embassies had an official photographer present as well as the PM’s staff. I dont know whether they were MFAT staffers or local hires, but suspect the latter because they both had professional gear and acted as professional snappers, not staffers handed a camera.

    I dont know what budget PM Key’s official photographer’s costs (wages, flights, accomm, etc) came from, either the Leaders Office (taxpayer funded) or National Party coffers. The issue of savings made from using NZDF 757 flights seem as bit of a red herring. PM Key used the RNZAF aircraft a lot more than PM Clark, partly so that NZ media would take advantage of the subsidised flights. I would think the costs involved in travelling via the 757 were vastly more than using first class on commercial carriers. To my way of thinking, I see very little difference between the actions of PM Key, and those reported about PM Ardern.”

  3. Incognito 3

    The PM is certainly setting the narrative and in general also in better control of messaging, her own communications that is, than we’ve seen before. The rest of the team is lacking behind and if the PM cannot drag them up to her level, somehow, most of the good stuff she’s doing will be in vain and undone behind her.

    The only problem I see is the stubborn framing of politics as pro- & anti-. Not good, not constructive, not progressive.

  4. Enough is Enough 4

    “And it is not as if Key never used Taxpayer money for similar purposes”

    The good old “National did it as well” defense.

    • Clive Macann 4.1

      Does the truth worry you somewhat?

      • Enough is Enough 4.1.1

        I prefer to look forward rather than defend ourselves by reference to Key’s corrupt mob.

        If the expenditure was justified (which it was) then lets just say that. Justifying it by saying what a previous government did is coming down to their level.

    • Robert Guyton 4.2

      Comparisons with previous behaviours is sensible, in my view. It’s not a defence, it’s a weighing-up of similarities.

      • Chris T 4.2.1

        What it is, is saying they were crap so we are allowed to be crap too.

      • Tuppence Shrewsbury 4.2.2


        In the first paragraph MS is right to compare Jacinda’s looking forward approach to Trumps revisionist belligerence. it is then spoilt by using previous governments behaviour as an excuse for the current ones.

    • Gabby 4.3

      The good old ‘apparently that’s how it’s done’ defence nuffy nuffy.

      • Dukeofurl 4.3.1

        Ministers and PM have had spin doctors for newspapers for ages, including those who do radio soundbites.

        Ministers and PM have had their own people doing social media for them for some some time

        PM has had their own people doing video for some time.

        The medium is the message, as radio and TV have had material supplied as well. Nows its video clips for things like face book.

        Do you think we should go back to only pamphlets put in letterboxes ?

  5. Obama was also, preemptively, the antithesis of Trump…and look where that got America…neoliberal Hope/Kindness/Pragmatism delivers what exactly??

    Look HARD at the message not the messenger, look past the slogans, otherwise this is really just ‘identity politics’ that everyone seems so hot under the collar about.

    • This is the opposite of identity politics imo.

      • Siobhan 5.1.1

        “Identity politics are political positions based on the interests and perspectives of social groups with which people identify”
        ..I’m suggesting that the likes of Ardern, Macron, Trudeau, do in fact appeal to a particular group of well meaning, relatively comfortable folk, who in actual fact like the economic status quo (free market neoliberalism) but would just like it to be ‘kinder’ and more respectful of their middle class aspirations.

        That’s not good enough.

        That is identity politics.

        (Though personally I think ‘identity politics’ is a pointless and distracting term.)

    • Bill 5.2

      Yeah – Ardern’s politics aren’t the anti-dote to Trump, but the precise politics that gave rise to Trump. Those politics (Liberal) are somewhat under siege around the world with people demanding “anything but” (and so the likes of Trump) or opting for social democratic alternatives where they survive Liberal backlashes (Corbyn et al).

      Ardern the person or personality (heavily promoted by foreign mainstream media like The Guardian for some months now), is the new face of Liberalism and meant to keep us “in line”, and away from demanding alternatives.

      She’ll go the same way as Trudeau and Macron by and by.

      • Koff 5.2.1

        The last time real revolutionary change led by a mass workers’ party anywhere was remotely talked about and agitated for was back in the eighties, Bill, and a similar situation seems well beyond the visible horizon. Think the world will cook or get covered neck deep in plastic before anything similar ever develops.

        • Bill

          The last time…

          Maybe. But since we’re only looking at social democracy, that’s hardly relevant.

          And yes, plastic and sea water and “cooking” (etc) will probably be what brings about radical change.

    • Ad 5.3

      Would you really like to know what Obama delivered, or do you think you’re making a point?

      Look hard at the medium, and the messenger, because that is the message.

      • sobhan 5.3.1

        He delivered Trump.

        He delivered war,

        he delivered a further erosion of wages, health care..

        yeah, i’m making a point.

        “During his presidency, even as he enjoyed reelection and strong approval ratings toward the end of this term, the Democratic Party suffered greatly. . . . Democrats lost more than one thousand seats in state legislatures, governors’ mansions, and Congress during his time in office.”

        • North

          Yeah that’s right……he existed and therefore he “delivered…..blah blah blah.” Default Trump apologists on this site sicken me. Be honest about it……call yourselves Sarah. Oh I am sorry…..you’re all superb lefties ???

  6. I may be wrong but i thought Jacinda recinded the title of anti trump. Yes here it is although I can’t see a quote.


    I think this is not a good strategy. Seems all the hopes of everyone are heaping on this person’s shoulders. Let’s get the massive shit sorted here before sending her cv to the UN. We have inequality, and suffering and we need to focus on that.

  7. Dukeofurl 7

    When John Key went to stay at Balmoral castle with the Queen, there seemed to be some ‘unusual coverage’ of the private meeting back in NZ media.

    It even raised questions in UK papers


    The interesting bits was this
    ‘The palace had actually made a rare exception to usual rules and allowed New Zealand photographers to operate as a pool for Key’s visit.’

    In reality the photo pool was Keys personal videographer as the gallery staff dont take photographers with them.
    Prime Minister John Key’s office is advertising for a new taxpayer-funded photographer and videographer to shoot pictures and videos of National MPs.


    That video footage of the Keys private meeting with Queen ended up on Nationals 2014 election coverage along with another meeting with Obama

  8. Anne 8

    Yesterday’s man verses tomorrow’s woman. Inward looking and reactive verses outward looking and proactive.

    Yesterday’s man – ignorant, selfish, self centred, cruel, apathetic, narcissistic and brain damaged.

    Tomorrow’s woman – informed, articulate, selfless, empathetic, inclusive, sunny disposition and highly intelligent.

    No surprises for guessing who is the more admired and preferred among the international community.

  9. Ed 9

    Trotter is on the nail here.

    Revolutions are not made by half-measures.

    The biggest problem faced by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and her coalition partners is how to transition New Zealand from the cruelties of neoliberalism to a new economic and social order guided by the “politics of kindness”. It’s a problem accentuated by the absence of the “revolutionary carnivals” that have so often accompanied the throwing-off of colonial rule. Like the Brexit vote in the UK and the election of Trump in the USA, what happened last September and October in New Zealand represented the downtrodden voters’ confused reaction to the manifest failings of neoliberalism – not their confident endorsement of a coherent alternative.

    The failure of the National Government’s opponents to develop a coherent alternative to neoliberalism is beginning to define their political and economic management. The victims of the old order still stagger under the burden of an essentially unmodified status-quo. The situation now prevailing is, therefore, akin to a hard-pressed colonial power granting its subjects the mere phantom of self-rule. The neoliberal colonisers, in their pith helmets and baggy shorts are still in charge, and the longer they remain so, the more ridiculous their phantom government will be made to look.”


    • Ed 9.1

      And Christine Rose is even more to the point.

      The case against the hollowness of Jacinda’s Labour – we need more than words!

      When Jacinda told the UN that as a girl she never grew up believing her gender would stand in the way of achieving whatever she wanted in life, it was a rousing and encouraging moment. But in fact, if you’re poor, Maori or Pasifika, from a single parent family, the odds are already against you.

      When Jacinda drew applause for the NZ stand against new oil and gas, my own ears for irony were tuned to the concessions to big oil being made back home, still on track to plunder our Pacific and contribute to climate change that continues to be our ‘nuclear free’ challenge.

      When Jacinda talked about the fact that globalisation is seen as a threat by many New Zealanders, that it hasn’t benefited all equally and that it’s lost some of its social licence, I thought of jobs going offshore. I thought of low paid workers in manual labour, many de-unionised, struggling for dignity and a living wage, threatened by precarious work. I thought of the risk of capital flight as large companies maintain the threat of going offshore if workers’ rights and environmental standards are even perceived to impact on profit. I thought about Theo Spierings, who, while Fonterra CEO, earned $40million in seven years, while agriculture destroys our water quality, contributes to 50% of our climate change emissions, we systematically mistreat animals, and farmers commit suicide from stress.

      When Jacinda talked about multilateralism and international peace and security, I thought of the recent extension of troop deployment in Iraq and Afghanistan. When she talked about compassion and kindness I thought about the 82 children killed by caregivers between 2007 and 2016, and our high, and disproportionately high rate of young Maori men, in prison.


      • Ed 9.1.1

        We are still being offered neo-liberalism lite.
        Unlike in the UK where Corbyn offers real change.

        I thought about Jeremy Corbyn’s speech to the UK Labour Party conference, recognising the Palestinian state, rejecting the corporate model that almost brought the world to economic collapse in the Global Financial Crisis, talking about the prospect of a four-day working week, using new technologies and automation as an opportunity for better quality of life for workers and more control of their lives. Talking about a whole new economic model.


      • Ad 9.1.2

        Even when last relevant at the ARC a decade ago, all Christine Rose could do was emit Dolphin noises.

        • Ed

          I notice that whenever you disagree with someone’s point of view, your policy is to shoot the messenger – rather than tackle the actual point made….

          • Ad

            So let me make it clear to you:
            Christine Rose is a complete waste of fucking space, as a politician, ex-politician, activist, writer, and consultant.

            As ever in her “piece” she makes no points other than airily “thinking” about things. She doesn’t even have the mental capacity to say what exactly what the hell she wants.

            It’s excellent that this multi-failed Labour candidate has come out and attacked the Labour leader and Prime Minister, because it will ensure that even within the tiny remaining single handful of Labour people in Kumeu who actually care about what she says, she will have shown that she is incapable of being able to engage constructively with any kind of government our Parliament can offer, and the piece will be shown to the PM’s comms staff such that she won’t have to be engaged with over anything again.

  10. patricia bremner 10

    Things are changing.

    The squeals and moans from the entitled and the rush to demand more from the suppressed makes Jacinder’s job tricky. She just does it. With wit and grace.

    It is 12 short months and many foundations are being laid. Amazing progress. As they say ‘Watch this space.’

    • Kat 10.1

      Couldn’t agree more Patricia. Strikes me there are a number of different suppressed demands, those that are genuinely disadvantaged, hungry and homeless, those that are looking for progressive and positive change and then there are those that forever want to go against the grain and who generally subscribe to either far right or far left dogma. Jacinda Ardern promotes progressive social democracy and that is the reality of centrist politics in NZ. She is doing an excellent job and will ultimately leave the naysayers in her wake. Now better get my hard hat on, given to me by a good friend called Tina back in 81′.

      • Bill 10.1.1

        Jacinda Ardern promotes progressive social democracy and that is the reality of centrist politics in NZ

        If those things were true and accurate, I’d be supporting her politics. But they’re not.

        • Kat

          You need to get to know her, genuinely know her. If you take the time and make the effort perhaps your determining of what is true and accurate with her politics may become true and accurate.

  11. Observer Tokoroa 11

    Miss Poohbah

    Christine Rose is a master of everything. A lover of the outdoors. Degrees galore. Butwhay has she actually achieved?

    Along with Bradbury she has declared Jacinda Ardern as Hollow – or shallow. She has praised Corbyn who lives in London and who like herself has yet to achieve anything.

    And Yet, Jacinda Ardern gave heat and warmth this Winter – to millions of New Zealanders.

    Jacinda has set about building Thousands upon thousands upon thousands of HOMES in New Zealand. How Hollow is that Christine Poohbah Rose ?

    Jacinda has obliged the NZ Landlords to fix or rebuild their scum rentals and make them truly habitable. Have you ever built anything Christine PoohBah ?

    Jacinda has lifted the low wages of the NZ Worker – a little. Has your mate Corbyn done that in London or anywhere ? have you done that? Has Green Peace done that? Has Bradbury done that. NO – Martyn has not. He is too shallow/Hollow

    Jacinda has eased a little the cost of tertiary education. Have you and Martyn done that ?

    While you are swanning around with your marine life – Jacinda is working with human beings – too many of whom are still living in motor cars. Doing their homework there.

    Take you elongated leaden flappers-foot off Jacinda’s neck Christine Rose ! Scram

  12. Enough is Enough 12

    Trump is the anti politician of every other politician on earth (with the exception of Winston maybe)

  13. Ad 13

    Lovely, simple observation from The Guardian there.

    And Ardern’s attitude is the only – the only – strong defence against the decline of the left in the face of rising authoritarianism in this world.

    • Bill 13.1

      I do find it odd that so many view a liberal bulwark against social democracy as a defense against the decline of the left. The left is on the rise despite attempts to stymie it .

      It’s Liberalism that’s declining. Yes, it’s being taken down by the authoritarian right too. But that authoritarian right is getting a leg up, courtesy of those nice liberals who can’t help but try to kneecap the left (ie – social democratic ambitions) at every opportunity.

      When people are left with no good alternative to the liberal status quo, they’ll take whatever bad alternative is on the table. Defenders of liberalism need to shuffle from the political stage. Their antics (when successful) only aid and abet the rise of bad alternatives.

  14. corodale 14

    How does the saying go…
    “Opposites are of the same quality, differing only in quantity.”

    Actually, I think they both spoke very well.

    If Trump can lead the way with military tribunals, and JA can follow up with the kindness, we’re in for a better world.

  15. SHG 15

    Trump has never passed a law requiring me to unlock my mobile devices for NZ Customs, so I guess in that sense, yes… she is the anti-Trump.

  16. North 16

    The ‘doctrine’ of patriotism……..? Along with the doctrines of blowhardism and p…y grabbing. Choice !

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