Stacey Kirk adds a few kicks of her own to Jacinda Ardern

Stacey Kirk at Stuff has joined the pile on calling out the Prime Minister for a government that is lurching from one self-inflicted calamity to another.

She writes:

There was always a risk of NZ First-induced migraines when the Prime Minister signed on the dotted line to form a Government with Winston Peters.

And political soothsayers have all had short odds on Broadcasting Minister Clare Curran being one of the weaker links within Labour’s own ranks.

In a triple bill of unnecessary political dramas this week, Jacinda Ardern has been forced to battle two fires that go to the heart of her Government’s transparencyand one that has left New Zealand the butt of international jokes. They’ve likely exacted a toll in the currency of Ardern’s political capital.   

End of quote.

The only political capital Ardern had was largely a media invention. What the media build the media can wreck. Kirk continues:

In the cliffhanger, Curran has faced a media firestorm following a meeting with Radio NZ executive Carol Hirschfeld that was initially denied outright, then downplayed by both women as “impromptu and unofficial” when uncovered by dogged questioning from National’s Melissa Lee.

That characterisation cost Hirschfeld her job, but Curran’s actions have raised major questions over the commitment to transparency being exercised by the Ardern Government.

The slowburner is the approach from Jenny Marcroft to National MP Mark Mitchell. She’s the hapless Fredo apparently sent by an anonymous NZ First Minister to make him an “offer he can’t refuse”, but she didn’t have the nous to realise the compromised position she was being placed in.

Trying to heavy the Opposition into silence by threatening to withhold Government funding for development projects in their electorates is about as mafioso as it gets; an image only compounded by the male caucus’ penchant for pinstripe suits and pocket squares.

Marcroft’s and her party’s saving grace appears to be that she is such a non-entity the threat holds no credibility without a minister to pin it on.

Ardern has sought and received assurances that no minister was behind the thuggish act, and is left with little choice but to take them at their word.

End of quote.

But OIA requests for ministers’ phones for calls or messages from Marcroft immediately after the threat will out that minister in a flash. Then we will see what that word looks like and how she will handle it.

The Russian fiasco shows why it is that Ardern shouldn’t be let loose on the international stage without a minder… and some duct tape. Kirk continues:

She has far more of a title role in the tragicomedy playing out over the Russian spy scandal. Ardern and Foreign Minister Winston Peters were looking to be on the right side of history albeit a week late, after finally coming out with a strong statement against a Russian chemical attack on British soil.

New Zealand stood behind the UK it seemed, until it came time to prove it with action and expel those from the embassy, or otherwise, who might be involved in the collection of intelligence – or spying.

Out of the countries who have pledged support, New Zealand is the only one to have not expelled anyone. Ardern’s reasoning: ‘there are no undeclared spies in New Zealand’.

Cue international headlines: “New Zealand says it would expel Russian spies… but it can’t find any”.

As a Five Eyes partner, that there is no one in the business of Russian intelligence in New Zealand seems a stretch and the rest of the world knows it.

End of quote.

Jacinda Ardern is hoping and praying they can find a reason to delay OIA requests until she is safely away on leave. What those OIA requests show may determine how long she stays away. That will leave Winston Peters dealing with the mess that Jacinda Ardern left behind and he won’t hesitate to sack lying ministers.

The pressure is showing. Scowly face Jacinda has replaced relentlessly positive Jacinda.

Meanwhile the media have discovered that the Princess they built up is nothing but a facade. She is being found wanting, and doesn’t take criticism well, which is why she is calling up journalists and whining about their columns. That strategy has never worked, ever. Jacinda Ardern simply doesn’t scare anyone, much less a stroppy journalist.


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As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story. When he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

They say that news is something that someone, somewhere, wants kept quiet. Cam Slater doesn’t do quiet and, as a result, he is a polarising, controversial but highly effective journalist who takes no prisoners.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

Love him or loathe him, you can’t ignore him.

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