Pimping the baby

Credit: RNZ/Rebekah Parsons-King

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern arrived in Wellington on Saturday as she prepared to return to work.

Choirs were singing, birds chirping, rainbows in the distance, unicorns frolicking on the tarmac, fairy dust fell from the sky. Ok the bit about the choir was true, the rest I made up.

I’ve been thinking about how I would have handled this, if I had been the Prime Minister with a new baby. A scary thought on both counts, but bear with me.

Knowing that there would be media waiting, I would have got my husband to take the baby, and stand discretely off camera so that I as Prime Minister could answer questions related to my job. That would have sent the right message – that my baby was not going to be used as a political pawn, and would show that I was consistent in my demands for privacy.

Any questions about the baby and motherhood would have been met with a polite but firm ‘I’m here in my role as Prime Minster, so I will only answer questions related to that’. Set some clear boundaries that the baby is off limits and not for public discussion.

What did Jacinda do ?

She arrived with the baby in her arms, and spoke with the waiting media, jiggling the poor kid furiously. Just in case we hadn’t already noticed that she had the kid with her.

She had her photo taken with the choir, again, with baby front and centre.

Holding her baby while proclaiming to the world that we are ‘hostile to Ms Southern’s views‘.

All this is after Trevor Mallard warned media that he would revoke press accreditations if they broke the rules around filming the baby.

It seems fair enough to me that the media shouldn’t be able to photograph the kid when her mother is not able to avoid being in front of the media when carrying out her duties as Prime Minister, but let’s have some consistency.

The hypocrisy of demanding privacy from the media whenever it suits, and then using ‘the baby’ to gain favour with the fawning media has resulted in the hashtag #pimpmybaby on social media.

Let’s take a look at the media for a second.

This from Alison Mau, the same Alison Mau who tweeted on 1st August ‘OMG I just met Neve!!!!!’.  Quote:

Jacinda Ardern chose her own home as the setting for her first day back at work, and I’ll bet it was hard, hard work for her.

A different film crew in her lounge room, on her couch, every half hour, all day long, until every media outlet had asked her about pregnancy, birth, the economy, breastfeeding, even infant poos.

Slammed straight from six weeks left alone to get to know themselves as a new family, into the kind of set-up Hollywood stars (visibly) suffer through to promote their latest blockbuster.

I’m not sure I’ve ever been in a situation so intimate, and yet at the same time so public.  End of quote.

I’ve just got no sympathy for this.  Jacinda Ardern chose her own home as the setting. If there were any expectations that she would have invited the media into her home, she would have been well justified in ignoring them.  She is choosing to use her role as a mother to engage with the public to generate publicity for herself.  Pimping the baby in the process.

I am just not interested in her role as a mother. That is her own private business and I think we should let her daughter be the judge of whether she is a good mother or not.

What I am interested in is how she is doing in her job as Prime Minister.

Leave the baby out of politics, and answer the hard questions that desperately need addressing:

  • business confidence has plummeted
  • rising unemployment with 4000 more people out of work in the last three months
  • the cost of running a household has increased 3.1% in the last year
  • strikes – teachers, nurses, bus drivers, P.S.A. to name a few
  • waiting list for houses up from 5844 in September 2017 to 8704 as at June 2018

 

 


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