Expose – Saying goodbye to New Zealand’s PM Jacinda Ardern
The shock resignation of New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern last week spurred headlines around the globe. And today, just a week after the shock announcement, New Zealand has a new PM.
Ardern had become the face of liberal left-wing politics, with kindness at the heart of her policies. “Progressives around the world were drawn, too, to her experiments in building economic policy around the pursuit of happiness and a better quality of life, rather than growth at all costs,” wrote the Guardian.
And depending on what paper or news site you read, you’ve been offered differing opinions on her political legacy and successes – and even why she really quit.
For the left-wing press, Jacinda Ardern’s political legacy is effective crisis management, kindness, and knowing when the time is right to step down. Several articles written compare Ardern’s gracious walking away with the mess that was Boris Johnson’s final days in office.
For the right-wing papers, they claim she’s quitting now to avoid public humiliation at the polls in the October election (her approval rating was at the lowest it’s ever been), her political legacy is the painful zero-Covid policy that kept New Zealand in lockdown for longer than most countries (but a meagre Covid death count) a housing crisis and rising crime. The more cynical papers, like the Telegraph, claim she was swept up in her own ‘Jacindamania’ – “Poor Jacinda Ardern, defeated by her own vanity,” read one headline.
Both sides of the political spectrum seemingly acknowledge the importance of Ardern citing burnout as the reason for stepping down – with articles written about why politicians have short shelf lives and why she should be praised for being so honest about ‘burnout’.
There has also been an acknowledgement from a variety of news sources about the level of abuse and sexism Ardern has had to face in the role.
She was a role model for some, a target for others, fending off endless snipings from media, critics and politicians. But her politics showed there was another way to lead, and it made the world watch.