A Prime Minister who is well regarded overseas is good for a small country.
But being well regarded overseas isn’t good enough. A Prime Minister has to earn, and keep, approval at home and the stardust that settled on Jacinda Ardern early in her leadership is dulling under the sunlight of scrutiny.
There is no doubt she is a good communicator, compassionate and likable. As Matthew Hooton told Sky New Australia, she would be a good princess or president without power, but she is a hopeless Prime Minister.
But, but, but what about the way she handled the aftermath of the mosque shootings?
There is no question she did that well but that’s the New Zealand way. Other recent Prime Ministers, Bill English, John Key (who did at least as well after the Canterbury earthquakes) and Helen Clark would have reacted with similar compassion.
But those Prime Ministers also delivered, and this one is failing to. Matthew Hooton, again, on the year of delivery:
. . . For those still committed to reality-based politics, Ardern’s “year of delivery” is as credible as her earlier promise to be “transformational”.
KiwiBuild, the Billion Trees programme and the Provincial Growth Fund handing out only 3 per cent of the money Shane Jones has paraded are the most risible. . .
He goes on to list more failures and there are plenty of them.
He isn’t alone in his criticisms and that’s not surprising for people on the right of the political spectrum but even the very left blog The Standard is saying it’s time to ditch the default Jacindamania:
Despite the babies and the engagements, maybe it’s time to ditch the default Jacindamania.
Let’s not bother with the criminal waste of tax on hundreds of working groups, existing to successfully suppressing oppositional opinion through co-option.
Oranga Tamariki has got three investigations underway for removing children, and is being kicked all over the park by the media. Cue another year of paralysis by analysis. . .
. . . it’s a very partial leadership. It’s not ‘transformational’, it’s not the year of delivery. What is this government?
This is the weakest leadership on policy of any government since the last term of Holyoake, 60 years ago. That’s on Ardern.
It’s time, since we are now getting emails to volunteer and donate money on their behalf for the next election, to expect more from Jacinda Ardern.
Coming from the left that’s damning.
But wait there’s more. Her interview this morning with Mike Hosking was a train wreck which Steve Braunias dissects:
O the joys and woes of being Prime Minister! One minute you’re swaying your hips for the cameras in the lovely warmth of Tokelau while the world gazes with adoration at your picture on the cover of Vogue, as chosen and commissioned by Her Royal Highness Meghan Markle the Princess of Trans-Atlantica; the next minute you’re back in New Zealand, there’s a serious sex scandal rocking the Labour Party, the cops have gone feral at Ihumātao, the weather’s gone all to hell – and worst of all, you’re stuck on the phone for your regular Tuesday morning convo with Mike Hosking.
It’s paramount that the Prime Minister keeps her cool and shows every sign of being at ease and in control when she makes media appearances. There is but one emoji to maintain: the one with a smiley face, round and yellow and all good, expressing the optimum vibe of inane happiness. . .
But good cheer and happiness was entirely absent during Ardern’s 10-minute interview with The Hosker on Newstalk ZB this morning. Her appearance was an emoji trainwreck, and it crashed every time that the Prime Minister called the ZB talkback host by his first name.
She said it 11 times. . .
He goes on to give an emojiological analysis of those 11 times.
It’s behind the paywall and it’s worth paying for, here’s a taste:
The interview which prompted this is here.
There was no stardust dazzling and personality sparkling there and even had there been it is no longer enough.
Stardust is no use without substance and personality doesn’t pay the bills.