The Soap Box: Ardern's chosen to live in the fishbowl of politics

Barry Soper,
Publish Date
Thursday, 3 August 2017, 5:30AM

Ardern the flip up. Stop pussy footing around because Labour has a new woman leader. She's a politician and she's chosen to live in the goldfish bowl and all that goes with it.

Her new deputy Kelvin Davis should Ardern up as well and at least bring himself up to speed with what his new leader's said in public in the past rather than labelling anyone who asks her a question about starting a family as sexist and stupid.

It was 37-year-old Jacinda Ardern, who has a Bachelor of Arts in Communications so she presumably knows what's she's saying, who put the family thing out there in the first place. She was the cover girl on the June edition of Next magazine and told us, not for the first time, she wanted to have kids, so the question now that she's running for the Prime Minister's job is entirely appropriate.

Okay, we as taxpayers might be her employer but asking her about baby plans if we were interviewing her for the job, we'd be acting illegally. That was Labour's job but they rightly knew better than to ask, they already knew of her family plans anyway.

There's nothing wrong with the debate though, even the man who wants to prevent her from getting his job, Bill English, has waded into it saying it's entirely her business.

But is it? If you swim with the fish in the political bowl, most things are up for the asking.

Helen Clark was once even asked whether she was a lesbian, to which she replied she'd been happily married for 23 years at the time. John Key was asked whether he was planning to have any more kids and he made many squirm by telling the nosey parkers that he'd had a vasectomy.

Ardern's been asked since stepping up whether she was up to the job, which again is an entirely fair question given the views she expressed in that Next article. Talking about becoming Labour's deputy leader she said the pressure and anxiety had ballooned since she took over as second in command, adding that it would be unmanageable as leader!

Ardern talked about the weight of responsibility as deputy leader and couldn't imagine doing much more than that. She's a worrier and said there comes a point where certain jobs are just bad for you.

But if she does pull it off on September 23 and becomes Prime Minister she should just go right ahead and have kids. There'd be one person, flashing his pearly whites in his doubled-breasted suit, who'd more than willing to step up to give her at least 18 months parental leave!


ON AIR: Sunday Mornings with The Resident Builder

6AM - 8AM