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Opinion

**This article has been republished. It is one of the most popular articles from 2021.

Oh, how the mighty have fallen. Jacinda Ardern, lauded all over the world for her kindness, ’emotional intelligence’, ability to have a baby and hold down a job (like, wow), has been found wanting. Many of us knew right from the beginning that she had no substance, but she has gone from hero to zero with breathtaking speed. I don’t think we have ever seen anyone’s demise in such a short time.

It can all be summed up in one word. Or maybe two. Deception was the word I was thinking of, followed by arrogance. This has been the most opaque government of all time, often just ignoring the requirement for clarity or transparency.

She is the product of good luck rather than good management. She had the good fortune to have a terrorist attack on her own turf, and the even better fortune that the media could label the perpetrator as a ‘white supremacist’, so there was no juggling of terms like ‘lone wolf’ and she could hug Muslims as much as she liked. She hugged with great aplomb. My God, they even painted an image of her on a silo, although one has to wonder what it was full of. The adoration knew no bounds, and her ego went along with it.

But one thing I have learned is, as soon as the media starts talking about your replacement, you are on the way out, and that is what has happened in the past week. The discussion started simply because the Labour party is looking at changing the rules around how it elects its leaders but, suddenly, it became a debate about who will replace Ardern. Hot on the heels of some press conferences that went very badly for Ardern, she has found herself denying rumours that she is stepping down any minute, but you know what we say on The BFD: explaining is losing. Ardern is losing.

Thinking about it, the trend started earlier in the year when she decided not to appear on Mike Hosking’s breakfast programme because she didn’t like answering hard questions. There is her arrogance for you, with her thinking it didn’t matter. A prime minister who is unable to answer the questions that are relevant to people today, but chooses to appear only on shows where the questions are either scripted or irrelevant, has already lost the room. John Key never had trouble answering hard questions. He always had the answers. Jacinda never does.

The number of places she wouldn’t go kept increasing, although she would always appear for her 1 pm ‘Podium of Truth’ standups… until now. Here, she would rattle off slogan after slogan, telling everyone that we are ‘world leading’ in our COVID response when we are no such thing, and we all know it. She buys into the theory that a lie, told often enough becomes a truth, but the people are way ahead of her on this.

But it was Delta that finished her off. After her lucky success in keeping the virus at bay last year, tricky old Delta gave her a much bigger run for her money. Once Delta was here, she was sunk. Nothing worked. The fact that she had no plan for Delta because she believed she had done the impossible and ‘eliminated’ the virus was her biggest failure. She could only look on helplessly as case numbers rose by the day, while she kept our biggest city locked down for 12 long weeks.

Now we have more cases in the community than in MIQ. Why bother with MIQ? What are we trying to save people from? The virus that is rampant in the community?

Jacinda needs to front up, admit her mistakes and try a different tack. But she will never do this because, in her mind, she never does anything wrong. She’s never told a lie in politics – remember? She has really enjoyed the adoration, and in her own rather empty head, she cannot figure out why nobody loves her anymore. Why should she apologise? It is all the fault of those evil National guys – you know, the government that went out of power over 4 years ago. Yeah – that’s it.

Many will argue that the Labour party needs Jacinda to survive in government, but I guarantee that Grant Robertson is not thinking that way. Robertson has had a couple of tries at being the Labour Party leader but was thwarted because he is a beltway politician, not a toadie of the unions. If the vote goes his way this weekend, he will slit Jacinda’s throat without a second thought. The fact that he is an average politician and will make a considerably more average prime minister has not entered his head. Somehow, I can’t see him winning the next election, but let’s face it, Jacinda won’t either, such is the venom being cast in her direction from all quarters.

The trouble for Jacinda is that, once a politician’s star begins to fade, it is gone forever. Jacinda’s star has crashed down to earth and there is no future for her now. Even the bought-and-paid-for media can smell blood.

All that National and ACT have to do is hold steady, stay disciplined, keep piling on the criticism and look like a government in waiting. Matthew Hooton’s ridiculous suggestion that National should have a leadership change now and anoint the very inexperienced Christopher Luxon is exactly what they don’t need right now…but as Hooton was heavily involved in the spectacular failure that was Todd Muller, it is probably wise to ignore him completely. Stay steady, National, don’t rock the boat and focus on the endgame. It is yours for the taking.

And for those of you that say “National lost my vote because they are just Labour-lite”, just think for a second. The alternative is three more years of Grant Robertson as PM, Megan Woods as finance minister and Rawiri Waititi calling all the shots. Three Waters will become no water for many of us, the country will be bankrupt and we will have a $14 billion light rail system in Auckland. Actually, make that $20 billion, as the cost will have gone up by then. You won’t get any of that under a National/ACT government, even if you don’t agree with them on everything.

The fact that this has been the worst government in living memory, headed by an empty-headed egotist, makes me wonder about the future of this country. How on earth did they get such a big mandate last year? Ah… there’s that word again. Deception. Labour kept the He Puapua report away from the Deputy Prime Minister, hoping that he would not be re-elected. They were right about that but were wrong in thinking that they could just ride roughshod over the people once Winston was gone. The people of New Zealand have had enough, and they tell Jacinda about it every chance they get.

Spare a thought for poor Jacinda, soon to be jobless, with her hopes of a cushy role at the UN probably in tatters. That dreadful thing called democracy got in the way of her dreams once again. Thwarted by her own vanity, the fish-and-chip shop is calling. Still, someone reckons she is worth $25 million these days. When you consider that when she first became prime minister in 2017, she claimed she couldn’t afford to buy a house, something doesn’t seem quite right there. However, I don’t care. As long as she goes, I don’t care if she sobs her heart out in an electric Rolls-Royce, powered by America’s Cup grinders. Please, just go and go now.

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Christie

Ex-pat from the north of England, living in NZ since the 1980s, I consider myself a Kiwi through and through, but sometimes, particularly at the moment with Brexit, I hear the call from home. I believe...