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Ardern – a marketing construct and/or a manufactured persona?


In the absence of any supporting facts, Ardern decided to call the situation at Middlemore “emblematic,” a label which seems to mean it can still be used for political purposes even if it is not true.

Audrey Young – NZ Herald  Emphasis by Adam

This comment by Ms Young, in her opinion piece, was preceded by:-

Ardern and Robertson began in earnest on Monday to blame the previous Government for anticipated limitations of the Budget on May 17.

In the days leading up to Monday’s press conference, both had variously suggested former Health Minister Jonathan Coleman had been responsible for leaky buildings at Middlemore and that desperate health boards had been using their capital expenditure on operational expenditure (pretty much a sackable offence).

The comment quoted at the beginning of this post clearly says that Audrey Young does not believe what Ardern and Robertson said was true.

In fact it was a shame that she did not go stronger on how Ardern and Robertson were so keen to traduce Coleman. There is evidence that the Counties- Manukau DHB did not raise the sewage issue with either Coleman or David Clark.

Let us remember as well that during the 2017 election campaign, Ardern famously said this in the Second Debate moderated by Patrick Gower

Video from You Tube – Whaleoil channel

Let us be clear she said:

Ardern answered simply, saying she did believe it was possible to be a politician without lying.

Then Matthew Hooton wrote in his recent NZ Herald piece:-

Former Health Minister Jonathan Coleman has been most derided for his alleged failure to be on top of his job.

But, just two-and-a-half weeks ago, new Health Minister David Clark and local MP Louisa Wall also denied being told about the watertightness issue, let alone the “sewage-in-the-walls” story.

Counties Manukau District Health Board (CMDHB) didn’t mention the issue when it presented to Parliament’s health select committee in February.

Even this week, former CMDHB chair Lee Mathias told RNZ she didn’t know about leaking sewage. Chief executive Gloria Johnson had earlier confirmed there had been a problem with sewerage pipes a couple of years ago and wondered if it might be found with other pipes in the future. She knew nothing of RNZ’s suggestion sewage had leaked into the cafeteria.

So if we are charitable we might say that Ardern and Robertson were mis-informed when they made their statements the other day. Yet given the careful wording of Ardern’s use of the word ’emblematic’ then Adam suggests that to use a famous phrase they were ‘economical with the truth’ in it’s now commonly accepted meaning.

So Ardern promised in the Speech from the Throne

This government will foster a more open and democratic society. It will strengthen transparency around official information.

And from the Coalition Agreement

20. Strengthen New Zealand’s democracy by increasing public participation, openness, and transparency around official information.

So Ardern has been at best economical with the truth, failed to be open and transparent and can fairly be accused of not meeting the claim she made in the election debate.

All in all she is revealed as just another dissembling politician who cannot be believed. Ok, so many politicians are like that. The difference is that Ardern sold herself to the voters as different, as open, honest and transparent. The truth is that that was the biggest lie of all. It was a massive PR con.

Ardern, if one was a cynic might be said to be the embodiment of a marketing construct, a manufactured persona.




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  1. Prime Minister mis-speaks in Paris speech | The Inquiring Mind

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