From dirty politics to compassionate politics

Written By: - Date published: 7:33 am, February 28th, 2019 - 43 comments
Categories: Dirty Politics, jacinda ardern, labour, national, Politics - Tags:

If you want to understand the difference between the two major parties how about this?  Last year Jacinda Ardern instructed her ministers to make no comment about Jami-Lee Ross’s problems or National’s predicament.

From Mitchell Alexander at Newshub:

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern directed her Government ministers not to comment on Jami-Lee Ross and his relationship with the National Party, Newshub can reveal.

If they did talk, they needed to show compassion and she even provided talking points instructing them what to say. 

An email from the Prime Minister’s office was sent to other ministers’ offices on October 16 last year, which included a proposed response if they were asked by media about the issues surrounding Mr Ross. 

Ministers were told to say, “These are issues for the National Party caucus. There’s always some concerns when there’s a human side to these situations.”

And this was not a one off:

A second email was sent on November 5 with another proposed response which included: “This is the National Party’s business.”

That was the same day a new tape was leaked to The AM Show which revealed a conversation between Mr Bridges, deputy leader Paula Bennett and Mr Ross.

Think back to the last Government where the well placed leak and the abuse of official information was a prominent feature.

This is a welcome change.  And out in voter land I am sure it is a winning change.

43 comments on “From dirty politics to compassionate politics”

  1. You_Fool 1

    I like your optimism, but I can just see the NAct party ramping up the rhetoric about how Jacinda has to tell everyone what to do and how very Stalin of her and communism and eeek!

    Of course they will ignore that they did the same thing on the same matter, but they were worse….

    The NZ public will believe whatever they are told….

    /grumpy old man

    • tc 1.1

      +100 history tells us the electorate is easily fooled (the blighted future) with the msm lock step in time on the agenda and memes.

      Probably work out ok this GE but it’s not a sound long term strategy given the amount of coverage the right get and their puppets like hooten, hosk, gooner etc.

  2. Robert Guyton 2

    And it’s noteworthy that the Labour MP’s all acted in unison following Jacinda Ardern’s direction. Her decision, and theirs, was felt by the New Zealand public, at a level deeper than the usual political layer where sniping and snitching is de rigueur.
    Sarah Dowie and her predicament were offered the same courtesy.

    • patricia bremner 2.1

      Exactly Robert. So proud of her. Our family always said “If you can’t say something positive, say nothing, or refer the party to someone who would know.”

  3. Roflcopter 3

    Says a lot about the MP’s in the Labour Party, if the PM feels the need to tell them all to be nice.

  4. Chris T 4

    It is what it is


    • Sabine 4.1


      it is the No Mates Party business. and J.A did well as Leader of the Labour Party. “Its not our business” “We have a country to run, and if the No mates Party is keen on washing dirty laundry in public their choice, we however have country to run and thus ‘we have no comment’. I think that is what leadership is about. Drawing a line in the sand and instructing people to follow it. 🙂

      Now the only one who has to learn how to be a leader is dear Simon. Surely he too can get his MP’s to do as instructed. 🙂

    • Peter 4.2

      That’s what pisses me off about Steve Hansen – he doesn’t just let everyone go out there and do their own thing, what they feel like doing he gets them to work to a plan, to manipulate things so they are best advantaged.

      I hope we don’t see Simon Bridges manipulating things – I’m pretty sure we won’t.

      I’d hate to see him manipulating things like some leaders do. I mean can you imagine him managing, manipulating a walk down a corridor out to meet the press corp followed by the troops?

      And the underlings arrayed behind, looking tight, standing tight and nodding and smiling at the right times?

    • Ankerrawshark 4.3

      Chris T “it’s manipulation”. Ha ha ha ha ha…… your joking right.

      Boss, women in charge sends member directing her team who she leads how to behave. It’s called management and in this case it was superb management and it was very notable at the time. Have you never been an employee? Boss/team leader sends memo with instructions, employee carries them out (or goes and talks to boss if concerns about directive). Honestly Chris

      • gsays 4.3.1

        Hi anker, I see it as leadership, not management.

        Either way it is refreshing and something to vote for.
        ANYONE painting this action negatively is clutching at straws.

        Ok a personal note, I am feeling a tad smug as I noticed and commented on the Labour party behaviour during the bridge/bennett fiasco.

    • cleangreen 4.4

      Chris T

      John Key was the master of ‘manipulation’ remember?

      he mastered it all over the world then came back to use it all on us..

      Now you must know that you’ve been had by your masters.

  5. ianmac 5

    The contrast is also marked by the way that some of the National MPs can be so spiteful. The right to disagree is one thing but to do it with the venom of Maggie Barry, Judith Collins or Paula Bennett seems to reflect something amiss.

    • cathy 5.1

      yes, agree.

      i hate to say it but the women on the nasties front bench are uniformly awful. venom is the word

    • Anne 5.2

      Talking of Maggie Barry, I think I saw her yesterday sitting in a garden cafe in Devonport with her chair turned around facing the road and smiling at anyone walking/driving past. I pictured her giving them the royal wave but confess I didn’t see her actually doing it. I was just passing in my car.

  6. Gosman 6

    Ummm… this is not compassion. This is good politics. If the other side is tearing itself apart it is good politics to leave them alone so you are seen to be above the affray

    • Robert Guyton 6.1

      It’s came from compassion, offered itself as good politics and struck a chord with the public.
      She’s good.

    • Wensleydale 6.2

      Oh, Gossie. You really are a lost cause, aren’t you?

    • Ankerrawshark 6.3

      Chris T “it’s manipulation”. Ha ha ha ha ha…… your joking right.

      Boss, women in charge sends member directing her team who she leads how to behave. It’s called management and in this case it was superb management and it was very notable at the time. Have you never been an employee? Boss/team leader sends memo with instructions, employee carries them out (or goes and talks to boss if concerns about directive). Honestly Chris

    • Ankerrawshark 6.4

      Gosman itmay well be both. There is plenty of evidence that jacinda ardern is a genuinely compassionate woman. I could list, but anyone who reads the news will gain this impression

    • left_forward 6.5

      …and naturally Gooseman you would be an expert on the subject of compassion!

    • mac1 6.6

      Good leadership. That’s what leaders do. They spell out the boundaries, they keep to their own precepts, and they lead by example. Follow me, they say, and do as I do.

      And yes, Gosman, politics can be compassionate, and good politics always is. Politics at its deeper level is about how humans interact, and compassion is as good as any virtue for a politician.

      Compassion is actually a compound word “con” meaning “with” and “passion” or suffering. Together it means to “suffer with” and in modern terms to show a considerate pity for someone.

      Your point about being seen to be above the affray is a good one, but that is the nature of compassionate action- it is above the mean and demeaning.

      In the 19th century philosopher Henry Longfellow said very wisely ““If we could read the secret history of our enemies, we should find in each man’s life sorrow and suffering enough to disarm all hostility.”

  7. Stuart Munro 7

    It was both compassion and superior communication skills. Simon could learn a lot from her, but when the mouth is open the ears are closed.

    • Kat 7.1

      National and their poodles in the media are at a loss as how to deal with Jacinda Ardern. She has remained on song with her message of compassion and kindness. Back in 2017 Annette King said Jacinda Ardern would become one of this country’s much loved PM’s. So far that statement is proving to be very true.

  8. infused 8

    It would have been stupid for anyone to get involved in that.

  9. Enough is Enough 9

    It was quite obvious at the time that there was a direction for every to keep their mouths shut. There was no need to say anything as National were destroying themselves.

    Compassion or politics? I’m not sure.

    • RedLogix 9.1

      Both. They are not mutually exclusive.

      • AB 9.1.1

        But the important question is which precedes the other. Did the ethics (compassion) precede the politics? Or the other way round?
        Gosman (above) assumes that the politics preceded the compassion – which of course negates the compassion. I suspect this is largely projection on his part – because so many right wing statements of their supposed ‘principles’ are merely disguised forms of self-interest.
        I would credit Ardern with enough moral fibre to say that the ethics preceded the politics. Which is pretty rare when facing a mortal enemy who wants to extinguish you totally.

        • RedLogix

          Yes I’d agree with that; this is a good example of how the different value systems between the left and the right work.

          What I’m less keen on is the way both sides demonise each other, constantly framing the other side’s values in prerogative terms, while oblivious to their own failings.

  10. cleangreen 10

    Chris T

    John Key was the master of ‘manipulation’ remember?

    he mastered it all over the world then came back to use it all on us..

    Now you must know that you’ve been had by your masters.

  11. mary_a 11

    Well done Jacinda and Labour MPs. Natz’s problems are theirs and theirs alone. Of no business of any other political party. Great to see a government leader being respectful towards the opposition at that particular time.

    However I’m sure if Labour had the problems the opposition has had recently, then Natz would have had a field day out there shouting the odds, discrediting all and sundry in government, particularly the PM! Brownlee especially would have been in full bellowing voice mode, blowing all the hot air he is able to muster!

    Compassion, kindness and respect are alien concepts to Natz.

  12. Cinny 12

    Really proud of our PM for her approach. Especially in the instance where an opposition MP has mental health difficulties. Big kudos to Jacinda and her team.

    Where as the nat’s went about belittling said MP, like it was a competition. Mental health is not a competition, it’s a sad reality for many.

    The way this was handled by the nat’s makes sense in a way, they appear to not care about peoples mental health, their tenure in government attests to that.

    Jacinda does care about peoples well being and mental health, even if they are on the ‘other side’. Her attitude surrounding mental health gives me hope for changes in that system to better help those suffering.

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