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Jacinda Ardern’s squirms and grimaces when questioned by Australian presenter Lisa Wilkinson

22/07/2019

NZ Herald runs an article that is less than adulatory of Ardern. The key element is how Ardern performed poorly when questioned by an Australian interviewer

This is from the video when Ardern squirms

ardern_squirms_lisawilkinson_21072019

Rebekah Scanlan at NZ Herald where there is also a video clip. The article and clip seem to be from the news.com.au site

She might be one of the most popular Prime Ministers of all time, but that hasn’t stopped Lisa Wilkinson from asking Jacinda Ardern the difficult questions.

Popularity is often fleeting and should not be confused with achievement or competence. Both of which Ardern lacks in this observer’s opinion.

On the Sunday Project, Lisa wasted no time grilling the PM, declaring she’ll “probably get criticised” for doing so.

After discussing how New Zealand is doing four months after the terrorism attack in Christchurch, Lisa tackled Ardern’s recent criticism of Australia’s policy to deport New Zealand criminals, news.com.au reports.

The usually poised Ardern appears to squirm awkwardly and looks visibly uncomfortable as Lisa boldly quizzes her in front of the camera.

Actually Ardern quite often seems ill at ease when a hard question is asked, look at what happends at Parliamentary Question Time when she is found out, or her incoherence in some interviews e.g.

“You’ve described Scott Morrison’s stance on deportations as ‘corrosive’, Lisa states.

Ardern begins: “Oh look I think we should be fair the, the deportation policy has existed for a while and …”

Plus, as I have written before, Ardern is the queen of squidginess, or being ‘econmical with the truth, viz

Take our most recent election campaign. Then look at the Ardern Coalition. Current proof of that statement.

Since politicians can’t lie, and since it is often inexpedient for them to tell the truth, they have become adept at positioning their remarks in the squidgy marshland between lies and truth. It’s a phenomenon of modern democratic politics, and now completely routine, but it’s not entirely new.

Indeed, Ms Ardern is one of NZ’s leading exponents of squidginess.

Indeed, the current NZ government have clearly taken to heart the principles of squidginess and spin learned when Ardern worked for the masters of those arts, Tony Blair and Alistair Campbell

But I digress, returning to the article

Perhaps sensing her hesitation, Lisa helpfully chips in, branding ScoMo “the architect” of the policy Ardern described as “wrong” and “unjust” on Friday, following a meeting with the Australian PM.

“That is, that is correct,” Ardern says. “When you are friends as we are, you can speak frankly with each other you know.”

“I think it speaks to the strength of it that we do speak so openly,” Ardern adds.

I agree that speaking frankly is a good thing, but saying frequently to the media that Australia’s policy is corrosive is just silly.  The repetition is the corrosion of the relationship. Note the Aussie media did not use th c-word. That would be too, shall we say ‘corrosive’.

The interview was filmed shortly after the meeting with ScoMo, in which the leaders discussed “frankly” the implications NZ citizens living in Australia have faced since it tightened back in 2014.

After the pair’s face-to-face — their first since the Coalition won the May election — Ardern said New Zealand wasn’t going to let go its concerns after more than 1,500 Kiwi criminals have been deported since the rules changed.

“If something’s wrong and if something is not fair and is unjust, you don’t let it go,” she told NZ media after the meeting with Mr Morrison, the ABC reported.

“I totally accept that it is within Australia’s rights to deport those who engage in criminal activity in Australia. But there are some examples that will not make any sense to any fair-minded person.”

So she accepts that Australia has the right to deport residents who are guilty of crimes, but in the next breath she seems to say they should not do that. Honestly what is she trying to say, it doesn’t make sense.

Cynically, one might think Ardern’s comments were designed more to polish her global image and to tend her activist swamp in NZ.

 

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