Jacinda Ardern attended the Women’s Council of New Zealand annual conference in Mangere, South Auckland this weekend and was met with enthusiastic support for her suggestion of a Bootcamp for Muslim women who aspire to local and government politics.

A young Muslim woman asked Ardern this question.

“I work for Auckland Council. How can we come to the levels of […]how can we rise as leaders in an environment where we do face racism, where we do face challenges, how in your view can we be (indistinct) and get there where you all are?”

Ardern did not immediately answer her question, brushing aside two very important challenges faced by Muslim women, choosing instead to canvas political support from the audience. She was not disappointed when they expressed an interest in local and central government politics.

I would love for us to create a forum where we can spend some time together, as politicians and women with those who are interested in taking on leadership roles,” she said.

The idea was met with applause from the crowd as Ms Ardern continued to brainstorm the event.

I will be there and we can have this conversation,” she said.

“It would be wonderful, so let’s be practical and start politics bootcamp.”

Ms Ardern says she is happy to help women from all different backgrounds that are interested in breaking into politics.”

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After Ardern received audience approval of her hair-brained response she immediately promised to help, launching straight into planning that will only serve to endorse their perception of racism. It will not help with integration or her implied acceptance into their communities. This is reckless behaviour.

Ardern made a promise to these women that she may choose not to keep. “I will be there,” she said, exactly as she had done at Ihumatao but where she then reneged on her initial support, doing another u-turn this week by promising again to visit.

Her promise to these women is a cheap political stunt that could backfire. Doubtless, she saw the opportunity to scavenge votes for 2020, but this could come back to haunt her, as did her flippant promises to Maori protesters where their role model was not so much inspirational as disappointing.


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