It’s hardly surprising that the New Zealand media remain firmly besotted with Jacinda Ardern – for reasons of both ideology and survival. The latter, increasingly so as Ardern dangles a juicy financial carrot in front of dying legacy media outlets.

The BFD. Cartoon credit SonovaMin

It’s also not particularly surprising to see the endless fawning and rivers of syrupy platitudes from foreign media. After all, the modern journalist’s worldview doesn’t extend further than their Twitter feed. I doubt very much that almost any Australian journalist knows any more about Jacinda Ardern than that she is a socialist who had a baby and hugged people while wearing a hijab. That’s it.

Oh, and that she single-handedly saved New Zealand from COVID-19. Apparently.

So, to see a major story lambasting Ardern – “She Lied” – splashed in syndication across Australia’s regional newspapers is something of a pleasant surprise.

In the last week and a bit it has all gone south for Arden and her Labour Party led government.

Her administration has been accused of being “bungling idiots”, her coalition government of “tearing itself apart” and Arden herself – often seen as untouchable – was accused of having told a “complete lie” about her handling of the pandemic.

It’s a worrying wobble she’ll be hoping doesn’t turn into an all-out slide at the next general election which will be held in less than three months.

BFD readers will not, of course, be the least surprised by any of these “revelations”. This is the stuff that the mainstream media mightn’t admit, but The BFD has been shouting loud and clear for the past two years and more.

The Australian legacy media are even shocked to reveal that:

Despite her popularity, Ardern has a surprisingly tenuous grip on power. Her government, which is in coalition with the conservative New Zealand First party, has exactly the same numbers of MPs as the opposition National party. Only a confidence and supply agreement with the Greens delivered her the top job in 2017. Just a small swing away from Labour could see her turfed out.

Even I have been able to notice this since way back in 2018, when I first compared Ardern’s shaky combination of opinion-poll-popularity and fingernail-slim grip on actual power to our own late, unlamented Kevin Rudd.

Don’t say the legacy media haven’t got their fingers on the pulse.

There’s no need to rehash the recent COVID-19 testing fiascoes, or Ardern’s dissembling and mendacity. Kiwibuild and light rail are also finally dawning on the legacy media’s consciousness, even if “Ihumatao”, “CGT” or “gun laws” are as incomprehensible as Swahili. The international media are also having to look up a bunch of strange names they’ve never bothered learning before.

National leader Todd Muller said […] the debacle was a “national disgrace”.

David Seymour, the leader of minor party ACT was more direct. He said the Government was incompetent.

“These bungling idiots couldn’t run a bath let alone a border,” he said.

The Australian media are also finally mumbling the name, “Judith Collins”.

Senior Nationals MP Judith Collins called into question Ardern’s character last Friday on morning program The AM Show.

“We have been lied to actually. We have been lied to about the quarantine, about the standard of care.”

Asked who had lied, Ms Collins said, “the prime minister and the health ministry”.

The legacy media are also belatedly offering penetrating insights, such as that the gap between Ardern’s publicity and political reality is setting herself up for a fall. As I’ve recently written, Ardern’s (hollow) boasting about supposedly “eliminating” the Wuhan virus painted herself into a corner. When the virus reappeared (as it absolutely would, absent absolute, endless border closures), Ardern would be exposed as an untrustworthy braggart. So much so that even the legacy media can’t help but notice.

Being trustworthy may be a huge boon for Ardern, but it may also be a poisoned chalice if she’s seen to not be meeting the public’s massive expectations […]

Ardern may have been inadvertently doing the groundwork for this herself. For instance, she has avoided saying sorry for the border blunders, expressing mostly “remorse” and suggesting others were responsible […]

To the world it would seem startling that a person whose image was projected onto the side of a skyscraper in Dubai as a global symbol of empathetic leadership should be kicked out by her own citizens.

But Ardern will not want to have many more weeks as bad as the one she has just had.

No, it’s only “startling” to the legacy media – whose “world” is the vanishingly small echo-chamber of a handful of wealthy inner-city suburbs and their Twitter feed.

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