Politicians should be allowed to have families

Written By: - Date published: 9:45 am, September 5th, 2018 - 74 comments
Categories: child welfare, jacinda ardern, labour, Politics, sexism, Simon Bridges, the praiseworthy and the pitiful - Tags:

Over the years I have employed a number of mothers in my lawfirm. They inevitably have one requirement, flexibility so they can manage child care arrangements. Flexible working hours, an understanding that on occasions a child’s illness is going to take priority and that during school holidays they may have a greater desire to take time off are their basic expectations.

I have always been happy to comply. And there is no downside as far as I am concerned. The mothers I have employed have invariably been very organised, focussed and willing to go that extra distance in getting the work done.

Which is why the media beat up about Jacinda Ardern’s shortened visit to the Pacific Islands Forum being held at Nauru is so strange and, dare I say it, somewhat misogynistic.

Let us put things into perspective. By going late Jacinda:

  1. Gets to make sure Neve is fed.
  2. Misses the leader’s dinner.
  3. Attends Parliament.
  4. Still attends the business aspect of the forum and gets to talk about refugees.
  5. Causes working mums everywhere who know what it is like to celebrate that a work-family life balance is possible even in the most demanding of jobs.

And the downside?

  1. $80,000 in fuel although to be fair the planes need to fly a certain amount anyway and it may be that the actual cost, in terms of overall extra spend is zero.

There is a subtext to the criticism of Jacinda and that is that politics should be the preserve of people without personal distractions so that they can completely immerse themselves in the job.

I can think of nothing worse than to have leaders that are completely removed from ordinary day to day life.

And there is a further subtext that someone else, presumably Bridges, could do the job better.

Jacinda is streets and streets ahead of all of her challengers for the top job in terms of her competence and her compassion.  And she has a young child.

It just goes to show that women can do anything.

74 comments on “Politicians should be allowed to have families”

  1. Michelle 1

    Bloody hypocrites the last government wasted so much of our taxes on their pet projects and where was the scrutiny from our media then. The current debacle with soiman 10 bridges big spending and why isn’t our media asking why he spent so much of our taxes just shows he doesn’t care despite his party claiming to be so fiscally responsible and yet their (gnats) sense of entitlement is still very much there.

    • Anne 1.1

      Yep. It’s all part of the ‘born to rule’ syndrome which afflicts 95% of the Nat. Caucus and their supporters. They can’t accept defeat because they have never known what it is like to struggle. Everything in life was handed to them on a platter, and little in life was truly earned.

      They hate Jacinda with such a passion they are willing to drag out every dirty trick in the book to destroy her. We are only at the start of the process.

      • Reality 1.1.1

        Anne, Nats can’t seem to stand it that we have a PM who has so many great qualities (which so many of them are lacking). Just watch how people flock around Jacinda and want to connect with her. Would I want a hug from Soimon? No thanks.

      • Wayne 1.1.2

        As far as I am aware the National Party caucus hasn’t made anything of the extra trip. I suspect they understand flexibility is required in these circumstances. Part and parcel of having a young PM.
        Most of the criticism seems to be on talkback radio.
        Also much of the comment is that the RNZAF should pick up the sick woman in Bali, since they have aeromedical transport capability. The 757’s were expensively equiped for this role.

        • Reality 1.1.2.1

          While the situation of the very sick woman in Bali is hugely concerning for her family, I wonder why she chose not to disclose her pre-existing condition. If one can afford an overseas holiday, one should also pay up for appropriate travel insurance. Thought Nats believed in personal responsibility.

          • Naki man 1.1.2.1.1

            The lady did have travel insurance and i am sure she would have paid for a policy in good faith believing she was covered. I know a few people, myself included who were told they had medical cover only to find the company would not pay out. You just don’t know until you try to make a claim then its to late.

            • dukeofurl 1.1.2.1.1.1

              “The Balinese hospital today confirmed Mrs Hartley purchased insurance with Cover-More Travel Insurance through Air New Zealand but Mrs Hartley did not disclose her pre-existing bowel condition before …..”

              Doesnt sound like it was something obscure and unrelated if she did have a pre existing ‘twisted bowl condition’ , as something like that you would be very aware of.

        • Ross 1.1.2.2

          Wayne

          Can you recall John Key’s government rescuing sick people from overseas hospitals? I must confess no cases spring to mind. Of course if governments were to intervene every time an uninsured or under-insured person was crook overseas, they’d be kept pretty busy. And those on the Right would be screaming Personal Responsibility.

        • Anne 1.1.2.3

          I was actually replying to Michelle Wayne .

          Also, the post was about the media beat-up . Doesn’t mention National.

  2. Reality 2

    How good to read something rational and balanced. It seems it is those ranting blokes looking for a headline who are criticising Jacinda. Tracy Watkins’ column today was fair and reasonable. Sometimes she surprises.

    • D'Esterre 2.1

      Reality: “Tracy Watkins’ column today was fair and reasonable. ”

      Crikey. Was it? I generally pass on her stuff because usually it’s exactly the opposite. Now I’ll have to go read it.

    • D'Esterre 2.2

      Reality: I’ve just read Tracy Watkins’ article: begob, you’re right. Fair and reasonable about sums it up. Yay for her! Maybe I’ll cut her some slack and read her opinions more frequently in the future.

  3. Sanctuary 3

    Who is driving this “controversy”?

    Barry Soper (over 50, white, male, well off, conservative)
    Mike Hoskings (over 50, white, male, well off, conservative)
    Duncan Garner ( (pushing 50, white, male, well off, conservative)
    Leighton Smith (over 150, white, male, well off, conservative)

    I see a pattern…

    • AB 3.1

      Yep. These days my default position is to always support young, left-wing women because they are the opposite of who has caused our current malaise.

    • Michelle 3.2

      What does this say about white conservative rich males ? what do they have in common apart from being a bunch of self serving wayne kerrs that have far too much to say .

    • D'Esterre 3.3

      Sanctuary: “Barry Soper (over 50, white, male, well off, conservative)
      Mike Hoskings (over 50, white, male, well off, conservative)
      Duncan Garner ( (pushing 50, white, male, well off, conservative)
      Leighton Smith (over 150, white, male, well off, conservative)”

      I wouldn’t want a hug from any of them, either…..

    • the other pat 3.4

      that fuckwit Garner makes me want to reach thru the screen and drown the fucker in his coffee….the right wing garbage he spouts goes beyond a “news” programme and today that reporter Tova whatsherface was just as bad…..its worse than clic bait.

      • dukeofurl 3.4.1

        It is clickbait.

        Apparently any phone polls ( which are premium txt services so bring in money) with the word ‘Jacinda’ and anything else have a massive response relative to their ratings.
        Their ratings are miniscule anyway (1.8%)

        • NZJester 3.4.1.1

          You have phone poles through a premium TXT service and they will always have a Rich National Voter bias. How many Labour voters do you know who can afford to waste money regularly on TXT polls for a TV show?

        • Ken 3.4.1.2

          Self selection polls are meaningless.

      • D'Esterre 3.4.2

        the other pat: “that fuckwit Garner makes me want to reach thru the screen and drown the fucker in his coffee”

        Heh! Now why didn’t I think of that?

    • Ed 3.5

      There are other similarities…..

    • And all the white male journalists seem to be experts on lactation – offering advice on alternative methods of feeding baby Neve.

      • D'Esterre 3.6.1

        Patricia: “And all the white male journalists seem to be experts on lactation….”

        Amazing, innit? Now we know whom to go to for advice.

  4. Nobodies with nothing to say. So envious of virtue because they sold out many years ago and now, hollowed as dead cabbage tree trunks, they warn us inadvertently of what we could become if we really let ourselves go.

  5. Kevin 5

    $30 Million wasted on Key’s pet Flag project and now they get their panties in a bunch over $80,000.

    • chris73 5.1

      https://www.stuff.co.nz/business/106462506/crown-may-be-getting-more-in-dividends-now-than-before-electricity-company-sales

      ‘Critics warned of a loss of control as well as dividends going to private hands, but ultimately the sales went ahead, raising around $4.7 billion from share sales, below the original $5b-$7b target.’

      Thanks to Labour NZ lost a helluva lot more than 30 million

      • Kevin 5.1.1

        Even more reason not to sell then Chris if you are not going to get what you want.

        Would you sell an asset for less than what it is worth?

        • chris73 5.1.1.1

          The sale was always going ahead so Labours actions, the same party that previously sold off a huge amount more than National, caused NZ to have an estimated loss of between 300 and 2.3 billion

          Bravo Labour bravo

          In answer to your other question, yes I would if it meant I would get more in dividends, as appears to be the case here

          I would do this because I’d still have more money coming in from the dividends plus I’d have the money I got from selling which could then be reinvested in other areas and finally as I’d still hold 51% I’d be the majority owner

          • Ed 5.1.1.1.1

            Supporting the death cult of capitalism, I see

          • dukeofurl 5.1.1.1.2

            Caused what Loss ?

            Rushing to sell large number of shares in a short time is a no no. All the electricity generators almost at once ?

            Anyway plenty of big share issues doent go well. Its called ‘the market’ for a reason.

            Not to foget the Collapse of Solid Energy due to poor use of massive dividend payouts. They got zero for that business

            Not to forget Bluff smelter closure threat
            “Also cluttering the picture at around that time was the threat of closure of the aluminium smelter at Tiwai Point. Meridian, which was the next power company to be floated in October 2013, was directly affected as the supplier of electricity to the smelter.”

            That required some crony capitalism to keep the Smelter going and maintain the power prices
            https://www.interest.co.nz/opinion/74219/almost-year-after-last-official-state-asset-sale-david-hargreaves-has-look-how

      • Gabby 5.1.2

        So we’re being gouged on our power bills are we chrissy?

    • the other pat 5.2

      just playing devils advocate here…..but you all complained about bridges spending 100,000…..

      • dukeofurl 5.2.1

        Bridges spent $100k on his own personality agenda. Plus he was mostly meeting the party faithfull- who no doubt were expected to pay for the privilege- as a sort of Cabinet Club when you arent in Cabinet.

        Ardern is on Government Business , as the PM normally goes to the annual meeting where ever in the pacific its held

  6. Nice article

    “Meanwhile, while the giants of New Zealand broadcasting lecture us on parenting, there are dads on Nauru trying to work out how to protect their children from sexual assault and self-harm.”

    https://thespinoff.co.nz/parenting/04-09-2018/disgusting-jacinda-ardern-is-doing-her-job-and-is-a-parent-how-dare-she/

    • dukeofurl 6.1

      Some specific claims of those held on Nauru were exmained in Court

      “A Pakistani man from Peshawar told the court he feared being persecuted by the Taliban if he returned to the Pakistan city.
      The court found while there was a real possibility he would be harmed in Peshawar, he could move elsewhere in Pakistan.

      “Another Pakistani feared he would be harmed by a militant political party in Karachi because he had injured one of its senior members.
      The court found he could live in Pakistan’s Punjab province, where the party had no power.

      “The third man was a leader of a pro-monarchy group from Pakhu in Nepal who said local a Maoist group had burnt his house down.
      The court found the persecution was not condoned by the state, so the man could relocate within his country to avoid it.”
      https://www.radionz.co.nz/international/pacific-news/357670/australia-s-high-court-rejects-nauru-refugee-claims

  7. Corey Humm 7

    you can be a mum and a pm but sometimes you have to delegate and she should have delegated, you won’t find sympathy from the working class on this travel issue it’s a needless 100 k being spent on leaders mingling and congratulating themselves.

    I worry that the international press attention Jacinda loves to court will make a global star but like Justin Trudeau in Canada, deeply resented and unpopular and unelectable domestically.

    Our people are starving, homeless and killing themselves at the highest rates in the world and this bourgeoisie event will do bugger all to help any of that, we are constantly told that theres not enough money to fix anything well that 100 k and the hundreds of thousands that will be spent on other events and schmoozing during this term could be better spent. She has every right to do it I just don’t think she should

    • Reality 7.1

      Corey, yes NZ has problems that will be difficult to fix. But given 9 years of the previous government’s refusal/denial to even acknowledge housing/health/poverty issues, it will take years to make headway. Don’t forget Bill English rubbing his hands with glee at NZ being a low wage economy!

      And there’s nothing more certain than if our PM stayed home those same bastions of virtue and arrogance would be loudly berating her for not doing her job.

      Talkback land is full of bigots, narrow minded, ignorant and unpleasant people egged on by like-minded hosts. There are only a few exceptions.

  8. BM 8

    Lol, jaw dropping hypocrisy.

    Got to hand it to you MS you do the best troll posts.

    • mickysavage 8.1

      Let me guess. You think that I said awful things about Simon Bridges and his $80k limo bill?

      Looking through my posts I did say this:

      “The splash of information was funny. Of course the left used it. National’s born to rule inclinations were to the fore again. But the information was going to come out a couple of days later. It was no big deal.”

      And this:

      “He should have been brave and said about his tour that the cost is the cost. Or he could have been really clever and driven himself around in an electric car, just like Jacinda would do, and then make a big deal about how he was saving taxpayers money.

      Or he could have shut up and said nothing. The story would have died pretty quickly.

      Instead we have a second day of adverse media attention and comment and the wonder if this was an inside hit job on Bridges by a disaffected National MP.”

      And this:

      “I have written a couple of posts on this issue, not so much because I was so appalled at the spend, it is no different to lots of troughing that goes on every day. But I could not believe at how much effort was put into an attempt to divert attention away from the story. I mean blaming Labour for the leak without proof and then having one of the right’s spokespeople claim that Tova O’Brien was a closet leftie and out to destroy Bridges was pretty crazy stuff.

      And here we are in day five and we are still talking about Bridges’s expenses.”

      And this in a satirical sort of way:

      “If we were to have been asked initially for our advice we would have said to do nothing. The amounts involved were relatively small. Examples could have been provided through third parties to show that the socialists have also spent considerable amounts on travel and accommodation. And a trusted media person could have recycled the history of Shane Jones watching porn at the expense of the Crown.

      But this rather obvious course of action has not been followed and we understand that a third day of media attention has now started.”

      I was bemused by the spend and astounded at how Bridges’ handling of the issue was.

      Your claims as always are refuted 😀

      • Enough is Enough 8.1.1

        The same media was conspicuously silent in 2010 when John Key decided to attend his son’s baseball event in the US rather than go to a military funeral in New Zealand.

        The hypocrisy between then and now is breathtaking.

        • Blazer 8.1.1.1

          This is an example of a complete waste of money..’Mr Groser spent nearly $250,000 on international travel in the first three months of this year.

          New Zealand First MP Andrew Williams says it was a waste of taxpayers’ money and the minister “should do the honourable thing and admit the fact that he wasn’t up to the job, he couldn’t get the job”.

          Refers to Grosers WTO campaign .

          Head of state spending $80k to attend a Pacific forum pales by any comparison.

        • Ed 8.1.1.2

          The media is owned and in many cases compromised.
          They lie for the establishment.
          That’s their role.

      • the other pat 8.1.2

        i love the way “troll” has been used to describe so many things…..you have only to disagree with someone and you are trolling…it a bullshit way to shut discourse down in my book and by the way……”refuted” is an understatement……i nearly spat my tea out i laughed so hard!

  9. mauī 9

    Stuff’s latest opinion pieces,

    “I successfully malnourished my children so I could continue my role as CEO and earn six figures. 20 years on I’m still proud.”

    “Adoption? Should you really be parenting when you have thousands of shareholders counting on you for that rising stock price?”

  10. Siobhan 10

    Not that I care one iota about what Jacinda does or doesn’t do, all power to her but seriously..
    “Causes working mums everywhere who know what it is like to celebrate that a work-family life balance is possible even in the most demanding of jobs.”
    ..what does that actually mean?
    You think some new mum (or dad) working as, say, a courier, or an agricultural worker, is going to be ‘celebrating’ Jacinda’s employment perks?
    Come on..this is a wind up surely!
    Either that or a Corporate Democrat level, lack of understanding of the reality of the struggling masses.

  11. JamieB 11

    $80,000 of fuel burned off for a special flight should do wonders for our climate change emissions. Or do they not count if they’re over international waters?

  12. veutoviper 12

    Great post mickysavage

    It has been quite fascinating to see the reactions of some. I am not a Garner fan so do not watch the AM show but heard about yesterday’s fiery session with Wendyl Nissen and Damien Broad – and they certainly put him in his place over this situation! There was no holding Wendyl back. Well worth a watch.

    https://www.newshub.co.nz/home/politics/2018/09/duncan-garner-clashes-with-wendyl-nissen-over-jacinda-ardern-flight-living-wage.html

    Robertson also held his ground well with Garner.

    https://www.newshub.co.nz/home/politics/2018/09/grant-robertson-defends-prime-minister-jacinda-ardern-s-separate-nauru-flight.html

    Totally off topic – Will be an interesting day in the House today with Tirikatene’s Member’s Bill on entrenching the Maori Seats so did a couple of long comments on OM you may be interested in.
    https://thestandard.org.nz/open-mike-05-09-2018/#comment-1520972 and a further one below.

  13. ankerawshark 13

    Jamie B on that basis none of our politicians (or ourselves ) would fly anywhere. Is that how you live your lives. Jacinda has never tried to ban overseas travel by plane. She has set up a climate change ministry to come up with a plan to do so. I doubt they will ban travel on planes…………………………………………………….That was Barry Soper’s line. No one attacked Bridges on burning fuel racing around in a limo. I don’t think many on the left even attacked him about the expenditure……

  14. Enough is Enough 14

    “Jacinda is streets and streets ahead of all of her challengers for the top job in terms of her competence and her compassion”

    I think the jury is still out on Jacinda’s competence.

    She has excellent communication skills but I often question her indecisiveness, dating right back to the captain’s call during the election campaign which she did a u turn almost immediately. We have seen that again with how she has dealt with her rogue ministers and her failure to consult on major issues.

    Coalition Management has been sound but she needs to reign in Winston and Shane and keep them on script

    • dukeofurl 14.1

      “needs to reign in Winston and Shane and keep them on script”

      Why ? They are a separate party and wont survive if they follow the script used by national and have its MMP partners as poodles.

      Its one the conditions in the Coalition agreement
      “As provided for in the Cabinet Manual, the Parties will “agree to disagree” where
      negotiated between party leaders, and in such circumstances the Parties will be free to express alternative views publicly, and in Parliament.

      “The Labour and New Zealand First Parties agree to identify policies and roles in a way that maintains and promotes the distinct identity of each party. This will include public attribution and acknowledgement of the Party responsible for policy”

  15. feijoa 15

    Well I certainly have sympathy for Jacinda- it isn’t easy to do the best for the baby AND do the best for your job. Her arrangements sound like she was getting the balance as right as she could- and why the hell shouldn’t she?
    These white middle age guys living in the past have no bloody idea. Their own babies may have been invisible when they were at work, but our children are always there and parents have to be on duty- and jobs have to fit around it in the 21st century. This is just how it has to work if we are going have PROPER equality.

  16. Prickles 16

    I applaud Jacinda for managing as well as she has thus far. I am in awe of how well she handling her responsibilities with such grace and warmth.

    20 odd years ago, as a young mum living in Australia with a small child I often used Helen Clark as an example to myself of how to hold life and soul together as I developed my own business and forced myself out of bed each morning to tackle another challenging day. My daughter is now grown and living on the other side of the world as she pursues her own career and works out how she can balance it with having a child of her own. She now looks to Jacinda for inspiration – as do many of her friends in similar situations.

    My daughter and I are both very happy to have such an amazing young woman at the helm of the country.

    • Anne 16.1

      I often used Helen Clark as an example to myself of how to hold life and soul together…

      I did the same Prickles at a time when I was going through a very rough patch. If Helen can hold it together despite all the malice that surrounded her, then I could too. She was an inspiration for many of us, just as Jacinda is to the new generation today.

      Btw, that was an eloquently put comment.

      • Prickles 16.1.1

        Thanks Anne. My daughter met Helen Clark in London at the screening of her (Helen’s) recent film. They had their photo taken together and my daughter’s smile was a mile wide.

  17. Stuart Munro 17

    I don’t have a problem with the second flight, but with any flights.

    Key was completely off the reservation coopting airforce transport to India, and public polling overwhelmingly suggested he should have taken ordinary commercial flights.

    Nauru is no different in principle – the purpose of our airforce is not the aggrandizement of our singularly worthless and self-serving political class, but protecting our citizens and territories and providing transport in emergencies and disasters.

    It would be a good habit to get out of – lest we go down the road of US style dysfunction.

  18. Chris T 18

    It’s the opinion media’s job to question politicians decisions.

    Not sure why it is so offensive to everyone.

    She is a grown up. I’m sure she can handle it.

    Personally couldn’t care less whether she got the plane or not.

    I’m more worried about them spending 13 odd million expanding refugee facilities to cover 1500 without bothering to ask Peters whether he would allow it and putting it in the agreement.

    Did they forget?

  19. sumsuch 19

    Well, women politicians should be allowed to have families. Males, no criticism.

    MJS had the great insight to see the sacrifice needed even by a man, if you represent the people. So many of the lefties back then were more self-full rather than selfless, hence terrible for their families. They sacrificed them, not intentionally, but that’s where the cost fell in lieu of having money.

  20. Lucy 20

    Actually I thought that Simon Bridges flitting up and down the country, away from home was disgusting! He has a wife and three children under five why do we not expect him to be at home more. He would get more respect from me if he shared more equally in the child minding. Didn’t like Bill English much but at least he did at least a good share of the child minding!

  21. sumsuch 21

    Mebbe Ardern is lacking in the sacrifice necessary and vital to representing the people, by which I mean the powerless mostly. Yes, I think I’m right on that. Any response Jacinda.. next year .. in your State of the Nation in Murupara?

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