The fall of the fairy princess


It is really quite astounding how quickly the local media have turned from fawning to frowning over our newly minted Prime Minister. She hasn’t been in the job six months yet, but she is being criticised for being weak, indecisive and generally not up to the job. For a country with a largely left-leaning media, this is surprising indeed.

Matthew Hooton has come out today and said that he thinks she will be the first one-term Prime Minister since Walter Nash. I will be amazed if she makes it as far as the next election. I think she will be gone by the end of the year.

Helen Clark was known as the Teflon Princess throughout her first two terms. Her popularity was high throughout this time. Admittedly, in anyone’s book, Helen was no princess, but she was strong, decisive and consistent  a good leader who ruled with a rod of iron, and she was admired for that.

Jacinda accepted a petition from Greenpeace to stop drilling for oil and gas one minute and then, in the same afternoon, said it will be business as usual in the industry until 2046. How’s that for consistency? It demonstrates that she has none. It also demonstrates that she doesn’t have a clue what she is doing. But, it creates uncertainty, and business hates uncertainty.

Another area where she has been criticised recently is her taking advantage of her position to do things she has always wanted to do. Her invitation to Ed Sheeran to have tea at her home makes her look like a teenager giggling over a pop star. She is the Prime Minister. She is supposed to be running the country.

A lot of people criticised John Key for similar things but, in truth, the two of them are miles apart. Every photo opportunity for John Key was a chance to promote New Zealand. He was the Minister of Tourism, remember. His appearances on the Letterman show, or mincing down a catwalk in a sports uniform, were intended to raise the profile of the country. You may think he had a funny way of doing it. A lot of people criticised him for it. But where is the benefit to New Zealand in the Prime Minister having Ed Sheeran over for tea? There isn’t one. He is here, but he is not staying. He is touring, which is something that pop stars do. No. In doing this, she is just taking advantage of her position to meet famous people whom she likes. That is not what the role of Prime Minister is about at all.


Whatever else you say about John Key, he was Prime Minister first, and Minister of Tourism second. He knew how to run a Government.

Most people, including the media, are now getting impatient: waiting to see her doing her job of actually running the country. She has ministers riding roughshod all over her. She reels from crisis to crisis without having a clue how to deal with them.

Clare Curran is now being openly mocked as the Minister for Open Government. Shane Jones basically gave her the finger when she admonished him for his outbursts over Air New Zealand. The Young Labour sex scandal hasn’t gone away. And the international media is openly mocking Jacinda for saying we would expel Russian spies from New Zealand if we could find any. Someone on Twitter suggested that maybe she doesn’t realise that no one writes ‘spy’ as their occupation on their arrival form. The world is laughing at her and, in turn, laughing at us.

I guess that, eventually, Jacinda had to learn that being Prime Minister isn’t all ‘Vogue’ photo shoots, wearing Kiwi-made clothing and taking tea with Ed Sheeran. At some point she is expected to actually get down to the job of running the country. She doesn’t seem to have got there yet. But, time is ticking and, if the media are anything to go by, it has already started to run out for Jacinda.


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Accountant. Boring. Loves tax. Needs to get out more. Loves the environment, but hates the Greens. Has been called a dinosaur. Wears it with pride.

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