PM Jacinda Ardern’s Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Week just keeps rolling on – in significant parts of the Australian media, at least.

Australian journalists are also having to learn a whole bunch of foreign names. The only name that normally shines bright and clear on their dim consciousness of trans-Tasman politics is the magic word, “Jacinda”.

Only, suddenly, that name seems a little bit less magical and sunny.

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern was repeatedly grilled this morning over an extraordinary blunder her government committed in its handling of the coronavirus, and her beleaguered health minister’s clumsy attempt to shift the blame […]

Speaking to reporters last week, Health Minister David Clark attempted to shift the blame for the mistake squarely onto the shoulders of New Zealand’s Director-General of Health, Ashley Bloomfield […]

Standing right behind him, looking thoroughly dejected, was Dr Bloomfield.

MediaWorks political editor Tova O’Brien called the footage “brutal”. [A Newspaper] accused Dr Clark of throwing Dr Bloomfield “under the bus”. And commentators from both sides of New Zealand’s political spectrum blasted the health minister.

Even BFD contributor Chris Trotter gets a name-check.

“I thought the behaviour of David Clark in relation to Ashley Bloomfield was just shameful, absolutely shameful,” Chris Trotter, who leans to the political left, told The AM Show […]

“Add to the list of failures of leadership (by Ms Ardern),” said Trotter’s fellow guest, the right-leaning commentator Trish Sherson.

“You can have all the good, fluffy stuff you want, but as a leader there are two important things.[…] Neither of those things Jacinda Ardern is able to do.”

The story then moves on to Mike Hosking’s excoriating interview with Ardern herself. Surprisingly, the piece covers it in excruciating detail.

And not just Hosking’s grilling.

During her appearance on The AM Show, Ms Ardern faced an equally hostile line of questioning, this time from host Duncan Garner…[who] asked whether New Zealand would be forced to consider increasing its coronavirus alert level again, given its recent rise from zero cases to almost two dozen.

“When do we look at going back to alert levels two, three, four? When does the counter click over into concern, to you? We have 20 cases now; Ashley Bloomfield said a couple of months ago 20 cases would probably be a concern,” he said.

This is a perilous line for Ardern. Kiwis are going to be ropeable if they’re forced back into lockdown because of her government’s incompetence. Even without that, watching her wriggle around the question should only remind them of how she similarly prevaricated over the original lockdown – rejecting it just a day before it was imposed.

Naturally, Ardern’s Aussie echo-chamber were quick to leap to her defence with the ever-reliable Argumentum ad Murdochiam.

Conditioned as they are, though, to their own groupthink, the left find it incomprehensible that the Murdoch press allows diversity of opinion. Even the flagship, centre-right The Australian regularly features unabashed leftist opinionists – unlike, say, the uber-left ABC.

More importantly, this particular piece ran on – which is the woke millennial of the Murdoch stable. It’s where News Ltd send the kiddy graduates to play, away from the adults at The Australian. Consequently, it’s as reliably leftist as Stuff or A Newspaper.

So its running a lengthy takedown of Ardern is a telling sign. But its implications go even deeper.

As I’ve noted, most Australian media are almost completely ignorant of New Zealand politics. Hell, it’s been a crash-course for me, writing for The BFD – and I still consider myself very much a parvenu. So, since when did Aussie media even become aware of, let alone start paying attention to NZ talkback, TV and blogs?

A conspiratorial-minded person might almost think that someone from the left in New Zealand is feeding this stuff to colleagues in the Australian media, in order to destabilise Ardern internationally.

Surely not.

The Australian media are suddenly giving their favourite puppy a taste of the rolled-up newspaper. The BFD. Photoshop: Lushington Brady.

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