The Soap Box: Jacinda Ardern keeping her feet firmly planted

Author
Barry Soper ,
Section
Opinion,
Publish Date
Thursday, 16 November 2017, 6:31AM
But our new Prime Minister is comfortable in her own skin, she's grounded and she knows what she wants. (Photo \ Jason Oxenham)
But our new Prime Minister is comfortable in her own skin, she's grounded and she knows what she wants. (Photo \ Jason Oxenham)

For Jacinda Ardern the past week was about keeping her feet firmly planted on the ground.

It was about introductions to the most powerful people on the planet and for anyone, let alone a 37-year-old new to leadership, it was a daunting if not overwhelming task.

But our new Prime Minister is comfortable in her own skin, she's grounded and she knows what she wants.

She's not nearly as worldly as those who she was introduced to, but what she lacked in sophistication, she made up for in being engaging, looking leaders in the eye and letting them know where her priorities lie.

So while Ardern trod a fairly difficult, and at times uncomfortable, diplomatic path, being afforded introductions to the others, not by our neighbour Malcolm Turnbull who should have done the job, but by the irritatingly flamboyant Canadian leader, her fellow Generation Xer Justin Trudeau

Ardern's feet may have been firmly on the ground, and she stubbornly stood her ground with Turnbull over the Manus Island refugees, her sidekick Winston Peters had his feet comfortably under the table.

Our Foreign Minister, who made a fair fist of the job when he was with Helen Clark's Government, renewed old acquaintances, like Russian's Foreign Minister and made new ones, like Donald Trump's top diplomat, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.

Peters clearly liked the big Texan with a well-oiled silver tongue and a purdy good southern drawl.

He's an engaging man just as Peters in a charming man in an old fashioned, conservative way.

Sour grapes from National in Parliament's debating chamber this week about Peters being a fraud, having contributed nothing to politics in his very long career, are just that.

They just as easily could have been full of praise for Parliament's longest serving politician, if he'd seen it their way.

Peters didn't ask to be in the position he found himself in, the electorate delivered it to him and now he's doing a job that he's well suited to.

If he does go to the hermit state of North Korea soon, with the blessing of the United States, which would seem to be the case considering Tillerson requested his second meeting with Peters in so many days, it would hopefully see an end to the childish Twitter attacks from President Trump who this week called Kim Jon un short and fat, drawing a response from the dictator that it came from an old lunatic.

Dialogue, other than on social media, with the west, has been sadly lacking while the severely impoverished North Korean people suffer even more with a new round of sanctions.

If Peters announcement within the next few days isn't about an upcoming trip to Pyongyang, it's only a matter of time before it is announced.

He went there the last time he was in the job and he's determined to return to a country that is today even in more dire straits than it was then.

ON AIR: Mike Hosking Breakfast

6AM - 8:30AM