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Hubris and NZ Politicians (revised)


This post was originally published in May 2020. I have now revised my comments to reflect the position as, I see it now.

Some years ago I wrote about the concept of Hubris Syndrome developed by Lord David Owen, I noted in the post and subsequently how a number of then Labour politicians were possibly sufferers.

Lord Owen is a former senior British politician who is a medical doctor also.

Lord Owen had observed that the longer politicians are in office, the more likely it is that they become mentally or physically incapable of sound judgment and lose their grip on reality.

He saw the pressures they were under and began to consider how illness affects the decision-making powers of leaders. And he noticed that some leaders who weren’t actually ill in the conventional sense became so intoxicated with power that it warped their judgment.

There were warning signs: unshakeable self-confidence, contempt for advice and inattention to detail. Gradually, they would lose their grip on reality.

There was no name for such a condition, so Lord Owen invented one: Hubris Syndrome (HS).

Previously Adam has postulated that NZ sufferers might include Helen Clark and Winston Peters and possibly David Cunliffe.

I have now updated my comments and in addition to those I mentioned above and in the original posts, I would add

Jacinda Ardern

NZ Prime Minister, who made this reported comment

“After a Friday afternoon document dump nine days ago, the Prime Minister’s office ordered Ministers to dismiss questions and refuse interviews.

I have attributed this to Ardern, as it was her office who gave the instruction. Therefore I see her as responsible.

The condition is definitely present

Chris Hipkins – Minister of Education and Leader of the House

“Today, a leaked email from Chris Hipkins’ office demanded Ministers decline requests to appear before the Epidemic Response Committee.

Again I attribute this to Hipkins, it bears all the hallmarks of his approach

There are other examples, which I will bring to your attention in the future, but these were key.


Some recent examples include:

Ardern, again, on making announcements about announcements

Robertson who when questioned about his lie over CGT, airily claimed he had been too definitive and who ignored valid Treasury concerns over the new housing announcements

Megan Woods who loses no opportunity, it seems, to crow about her ‘achievements’ in housing

David Parker, whose arrogance exemplifies the condition

I am sure there are a myriad of other examples.

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