Thank goodness Jacinda Ardern spares us the use of the title of “comrade” heard too often in her youthful address to communist socialist youth rallies. But unfortunately she’s swapped out this word for another one. She overuses the title “Minister”. It’s Minister Little, Minister Twyford and Minister Woods, very cringe-worthy and unnecessary.

Emphasising their ministerial role is supposed to make us sit up and respect them due to their position. Instead, it raises the uncomfortable suspicion that unless they are bestowed with respect, they will have none because they are incapable of earning it themselves. To my mind, Ardern demeans her ministers each time she does it.

Ministers are of course the elites in government, and Ardern labeling them “Minister” reminds us of that hierarchy. But surely, demanding respect is a contrived authority because actual respect is earned.

In the church the ministry of a pastor is demonstrated by their care of the sick, the elderly, the widows, the orphans and those in need, not by being assigned the title “pastor”. My distrust of the use of the pastor title goes back to evangelical church days when church leaders were randomly assigned it.

For instance, Sam might be referred to as “Pastor” Sam, instead of simply Sam. Out of the five New Testament church ministries of apostle, prophet, pastor, teacher and evangelist outlined in Paul’s letter to the Ephesians, the only label used in that church was “pastor”. The act of randomly assigning exclusivity in that case was manipulative and grating.

It is quite odd that Ardern is the only person in government to randomly do it. Perhaps she is more socialist than her peers due to her communist socialist roots. It is not something I recall John Key ever doing, but then he never veered to the left.

Strongly socialist countries like North Korea, Cuba and Venezuela have a tiny social hierarchy of a few hundred wealthy bureaucrats in government. They are the elite while the majority, millions of people, live in abject poverty with little opportunity of improvement or escape.

Countries where capitalism flourishes, like the US, Australia and NZ, are the complete opposite with the elites comprising millions of people living well with a lesser number of poor people – who at least have the opportunity for upward mobility.

Jacinda Ardern’s insistence on reinforcing the political hierarchy is not hugely important in the big scheme of things, but it reeks of artifice and is a cheap parody of real respect. Perhaps too, it’s my upbringing where respect was expected to be earned and never cheaply bestowed.