NZ Herald editorial scathing of Ardern

A newspaper editorial yesterday was scathing of Jacinda Ardern: Quote:

Parliament resembles a sharks’ tank at times. When the Opposition scents blood on the Government benches it becomes merciless. It sensed some time ago that Labour MP Clare Curran was not up to the tasks of a minister and after her stumbling, bumbling non-answer to a question from National’s Melissa Lee in the House on Wednesday, the whole country could see she was not up to it.?End quote.

Curran wasn’t up to it, and neither is the prime minister. Quote:

Her resignation announced yesterday must be a relief to her as well as the rest of the Government, though it does not reflect well on her party. Labour ministers are chosen by caucus vote. Curran’s demise leaves the question, how many others in the Beehive are not really ministerial material? Her resignation will certainly encourage the sharks to look for more, as they should. It is their constitutional task to probe a government for weaknesses and keep its performance up to the mark.

Curran was a lowly ranked minister in the Cabinet before she was demoted to a seat outside the room over a second failure to properly record and account for meetings with people of interest to her in the portfolios she held. Her failings are of less public importance than they way they were handled by those holding much more power than she had.

When the Prime Minister dropped her from the Cabinet there were many who wondered why Curran was still a minister in any capacity. That view has been vindicated by the events of last week, when Curran could not form a coherent sentence in response to Lee’s question about her use of her personal email on public matters.?End quote.

Curran should have been sacked completely. Not doing so was a mistake by Ardern. Worse still is the misstep and lying that followed, that too was a major blunder by Ardern. Quote:

Jacinda Ardern’s judgment can fairly be question in the light of events. It is seldom easy to fire people no matter how necessary, but it comes with the responsibilities Ardern has been given.

Reasonable candour with the public ? or “transparency” as she likes to call it ? is another of the qualities we should be able to expect from a Prime Minister. At 8am yesterday morning, a few hours before Curran’s resignation was to be announced, Ardern was asked by Newstalk ZB’s Chris Lynch in a recorded interview whether she had considered firing Curran over her recent performances.

“No,” the Prime Minister replied, “because I think she has paid her price”. She went on to say she had high expectations of her ministers, “but I also accept from time to time they will have bad days”.

A few hours later she announced she had accepted Curran’s resignation the previous night.

Curran had offered the resignation and Ardern had accepted it, so strictly speaking her answer to Lynch was not false. She had not fired Curran and was not about to. But she must have known her answer to him was giving a completely false impression.

Prime Ministers ought to be better than that. When they do not wish to answer a question because it would pre-empt an announcement they have planned, it is better to be transparently evasive. Had she not ruled out firing Curran when Lynch asked, conjecture would have started, but that is what should happen when it’s true.

The Prime Minister’s answer was needlessly misleading. It was a small lapse in the life of this Government so far, as is the loss of a low-ranking minister, but too many such lapses and its life could be short. End quote.

Jacinda Ardern has been promoted above her actual abilities. She is finding out that being prime minister is not all hurrah jolly hockey sticks!

Ardern has a penchant for avoiding the tough stuff and seeking the easy stuff like fluffy PR photo-ops and especially grandiloquent virtue-seeking.

This past week may have disabused her of those notions, but somehow I doubt it.