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Mike's Minute: How will we remember Jacinda Ardern as Prime Minister?

Mike Hosking,
Publish Date
Wed, 5 Apr 2023, 9:41am

Mike's Minute: How will we remember Jacinda Ardern as Prime Minister?

Mike Hosking,
Publish Date
Wed, 5 Apr 2023, 9:41am

It's valedictory day for Jacinda Ardern.

Plenty of people have been asking plenty of other people what they have made of her time as Prime Minister.

I think it was Geoffrey Palmer who said she would be seen as one of the greats.

He is wrong.

The fact her support has collapsed post her resignation is proof that we have moved on, and fast.

She does have a unique place in our political history, in the sense anyone who was leading a country as Covid hit will always be remembered for that.

And at the start she will be remembered well for her compassion and empathy. They are natural traits she used well.

The Christchurch terror attack added to the reputation and, as a result, it went global and she will almost certainly be remembered more fondly offshore than on. Because, offshore, the fine detail of the Government's actions and abilities are never really covered.

The reality is, she quit.

And she quit because she had become toxic and, as a result of the toxicity, her party were going to lose this year's election.

She had the good grace to walk, as opposed to being knifed or holding out and hoping for a miracle.

But her desire to walk was written all over her face before Christmas. She looked over it and that comes from the fact she never wanted, or expected, the job in the first place.

She was the accidental Prime Minister. You can't forget that she came a distant second in 2017 and got the big job only because Winston Peters is bitter and hated Bill English.

So, the Labour years began.

If it wasn’t for Covid my guess would be they would have been a one term Government. My guess is if she had stayed, their vote would have gone from 50 percent in 2020 to perhaps 25 percent or 26 percent this October.

Essentially, she was an emoter. She talked a lot and had a lot of chat, a lot of meetings, a lot of thoughts and a lot of thought bubbles.

The record of non-delivery speaks for itself.

Her nuclear moments on child poverty and climate are embarrassing.

Her Government's overall record is shambolic. We are in recession, health is crippled, crime is rampant and we have blown out our debt handing out money for nothing.

Most people say they like her. I like her - I always found her affable and pleasant. But to call her one of the greats is to insult the real greats and to be overtly polite.

The reality was - she was OK at best and couldn't hack it, so she walked.

She didn’t finish two terms and for greatness you have to crack three.

She is a living example of how theory doesn’t equate to reality.  

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