Machiavelli would be proud of our PM, adopting his mantra: the end justifies the means. Facing election year with virtually no achievements to shout about, she predictably produces her incredibly cute toddler. 

Neve is possibly her most successful achievement in a term of failed ideas and policies and millions of taxpayer dollars wasted on endless, fruitless ‘conversations. ‘It’s not enough to be the party of bright ideas,’ says Peter Dunne, former leader of United Future.  

A bit like Linus’s security blanket in Peanuts, Neve will unwittingly, provide protection and a distraction for a Prime Minister increasingly vulnerable and reliant on her ‘cult of personality’ to get her through.

The BFD. Look at me. Cartoon credit SonovaMin

The toddler, the PM’s (actually, not so secret) weapon, will be there peeping out from everywhere to keep the ratings up for our PM, as she stumbles towards the election finish line smiling and waving from every magazine cover in town. 

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What’s not to love about Neve? Caught candidly smiling cutely from a push chair, helpfully sorting boxes with daddy at Waitangi, or adoringly toddling around and filmed by a compliant media. 

They now have nothing else to do as they have pledged to report on only the government’s achievements, and ignore National who keep picking on the PM using “hate speech” which Justice Minister Little is striving to eradicate before the elections.

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The media are no longer regarded by Ardern as the vicious paparazzi invading her baby’s space. Political expediency has changed all that. Necessity has turned Neve into her biggest asset and she will waste no time making full use of her. 

Now no longer under threats from her enabler, Speaker Mallard, for filming Neve, all bets are off. The race is on as they seek her here, they seek her there, in an attempt to find the most adorable toddler pic to boost the PM’s image. 

The BFD. Source: Newsroom Photo: Sam Sachdeva.

Already one publication, Newsroom, has an image of the toddler as one of their favourites of Waitangi.  Ardern’s secret weapon is ready with her at the start line of election year with a winning smile or frown, it matters not; her cuteness and power to distract is immense. 

And just think what an asset Neve could have been with Ardern, visiting the poor devastated people who have lost so much in the Southland floods: If she had just had the compassion and foresight to make the trip. Just imagine the abundance of photo opportunities of tiny Neve in her wet weather gear, helping with sandbagging and raising their spirits. 

‘Oh, how cute!’ everyone would have said. And magically all the worries of the folk of Southland would have evaporated; along with the slowly receding water, accompanied by a large government disaster compensation package pledged by the PM to atone for their losses. Not the parsimonious one announced by Minister for Civil Defense, Henare, who only arrived after the peak of the crisis; Waitangi, for him too, taking precedence over New Zealanders genuinely in need.

Alas, sadly, Ardern lost a golden opportunity to show leadership and support for the people suffering in Southland’s floods, as she had bigger fish to fry with her Maori voter base at Waitangi. Celebrating the 180th year since the signing of the Treaty is an important event for all New Zealanders, including those going through an extreme weather event.

At Waitangi, apart from showing off her Cordon Bleu cooking skills and all the valuable selfie moments, Ardern spent a week spinning like a top to defend the promises not kept by her government and giddily making promises to be broken in the future.  

It’s interesting to note that just 15% of our population gets such a disproportionate amount of the PM’s time and taxpayer money.

Ardern shows an alarming disinterest in the plight of ordinary New Zealanders. As an identity politician, she is exercised by issues that tug at her heartstrings and get her global attention. The Big Gay Out gave her oodles of attention this week-end, whilst the struggling people of Southland continue to take a back seat. 

I notice no ‘favourite’ photos from the Southland flood. Images of sadness, devastation and loss could never compete with an adorable child. What do they say? Never compete with animals or children! 

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