Not content with shoving Te Reo down our throats, the Prime Minister abuses the English language with repetitive and confusing political slogans during Covid-19 stand ups and interviews, successfully winding down the clock and deflecting hard-to-answer questions.

Someone in the Prime Minister’s extensive media team should remind her that quality is infinitely better than quantity. Grandstanding, and extending her time in the spotlight through the use of nebulous statements prefixed by the royal “we”, remind us that edicts from The Jacinda Ardern Show are government-backed. It’s galling and teeth-gritting stuff to be verbally assaulted while waiting to find out when the latest lockdown level will end.

Show Time. Cartoon credit BoomSlang. The BFD.

Along with sloganeering, Ardern shamelessly ego-strokes her important people by muddling up their names and titles. Chris Hipkins is referred to as Minister Hipkins instead of the Minister for Covid Response and Ashley Bloomfield as Director Bloomfield instead of his title which is Director-General of Health. It’s a subtle little manoeuvre designed to delegate kudos to the unfortunate person whose authority attaches to the role rather than the person.

Even Ardern cannot force us to respect someone just because she demands it. Respect must be earned, and contrary to her expectations, artificially elevating someone simply raises the suspicion that they may in fact be a charlatan ill-equipped for the job.

The BFD. Cartoon credit BoomSlang

Other Ardern pearlers are “We have more levers to pull” and “We have more levers at our disposal”, translating to “I can’t be bothered with specifics, but you should trust me anyway”.

Ardern’s lack of transparency, combined with arguably our most destructive government ever, raises the question: why would anyone take Ardern at her word? Bought and paid for media excluded.

Despite the Prime Minister’s garrulous rabbiting-on, she can be selectively vague on details. Not paying attention to detail is a quagmire for any ill-prepared politician, and this week on the AM show Ardern demonstrated why she usually avoids going there.

It must have been a toss-up between saying nothing and confirming she isn’t familiar with the new Level Two Lockdown Rules Under Delta, or rabbiting on and hoping you get it right. Ardern chose the latter and got it wrong.

The Prime Minister’s Office issued an immediate retraction of the claim the PM made when she insisted gym users should be masked at all times, as apparently she made up this rule on the fly. Ryan Bridge read out the correction Ardern’s minions made lest some poor unfortunate rule stickler collapse in the gym from lack of oxygen.

Ardern making stuff up on the fly brings us to the next hackneyed slogan, the oft-used “what something will look like”, which her adoring media have commandeered to demonstrate their allegiance.

You should also be familiar with the “changing the settings” and “recalibrating” slogans applicable to the very fine-tuning of engineering and testing equipment for accurate results.

Suffice to say, Ardern’s use of that phrase is a promise to correct a government failure: for example, the systemic failure of MIQ which can’t allocate spaces to returning New Zealanders because they’ve been hijacked by bots and allocated to groups of foreign sports people or Antarctic workers. Despite Ardern’s promises to “change the settings” and “recalibrate”, the lack of MIQ space is an ongoing problem.

In times past, Ardern promised New Zealand would “lead the way”, in Covid-19 response and also in the vaccine rollout. New Zealand has failed on both counts. We lurch from one lockdown to the next attempting to achieve the unachievable goal of virus elimination and are one of the slowest countries in the OECD for vaccine rollout.

Ardern tried and failed to lead the world in the war on Covid-19, in the process insulting American and Australian leaders Trump and Morrison. Recently she had to gall to claim “We continue to work with our partners” when accused of abandoning Afghans who worked with New Zealand forces for years and had been promised extraction.

Naturally, it fell upon our partners to fix what Ardern could not. She should have more accurately stated, “I can’t fix this, someone else can, but I will take the credit, thanks.”

Australia was already flying New Zealanders out of Afghanistan when our ancient C-130 Hercules was still en route – with a load of spare parts on board to make sure it got back home. Australia’s retrieval of NZ citizens was reported, not by our PM, but by Scott Morrison leaving our Afghan helpers that we promised to rescue stranded.

These criticisms of the Ardern government may appear at first glance to be trivial. They are not. They demonstrate a leadership relying on slogans instead of action and an ineffective government that does not keep its promises.

The government was not upfront about its agenda for Maori separatism when it hid He Puapua from the public. Why would anyone trust them now?

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Cliches From the Powerhouse Of Broken Promises


Suze is an avid reader and writer after a career in accounting starting in the farming industry. 10 years working in the NZ mining industry made her passionate about accessing our resource potential whilst...