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Andrew Dickens: Where's our PM gone?

Andrew Dickens,
Publish Date
Tuesday, 29 January 2019, 12:16p.m.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern. Photo / NZ Herald

So has anyone seen the Prime Minister lately? If anyone sees Jacinda Ardern in the flesh, could you please contact authorities so we can return her to the people.

This is an observation that has been brewing for a while. In fact Chris Trotter, a lefty, first wrote about it in the middle of December.

But it wasn’t until today that I finally thought this is getting weird.

Every Tuesday since Helen Clark’s day the Prime Minister has done the rounds of media in the morning. On ZB that means 7.35am for 10 minutes and we have a quick recap of the issues of the week and where the government is at.

But we haven’t had one this year. Firstly she was on holiday for ages, which I didn’t resent because she does have a child under one who hasn’t seen a lot of her Mum. Then last week the PM was in Davos Switzerland but apparently was unable to use a phone.

The suspicion is rising that Jacinda Ardern likes to be a spokesperson for a government and a figurehead for the world but when it comes down to the nitty gritty of being a leader the job is a little difficult.

Chris Trotter last December noted the number of times that Jacinda Ardern seemed to be sidelined by her ministers seemingly making decisions without her knowing. Phil Twyford in particular seemed to change policies at a whim and when the Prime Minister was asked she seemed often unaware.

Looking back at the last three Prime Ministers we’ve had; Clark, Key and English, none would ever tolerate finding out about policy from the news media. And if they did butts would be kicked.

There is also the unwillingness to discipline the miscreants. Claire Curran took an age to be told off. Meka Whaitiri. Ian Lees Galloway.

Then there is the plethora of working groups. At first I was tolerant but now the whole thing seems to be taking an age. Other people are charged with doing the thinking rather than the government.

There appears to be a leadership vacuum.

The Prime Minister we have seems happiest when selling other people’s ideas and I’m starting to wonder what her ideas are.

And further to that there’s the fear that she might not have any ideas at all.

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