Ardern’s magical qualities won’t save her

Whatever you might think of our prime minister?s actual performance to date, Chris Trotter points out her magical PR skills that got her to where she is now. Quote.

…few would deny that Jacinda Ardern is its [standard PR techniques] most brilliant local exponent. Her openness: the sheer force of her empathic projection; imbues our Prime Minister?s statements with extraordinary persuasive power. So effective are ?Jacinda?s? communication skills, that a great many New Zealanders have taken to confusing her declarations with actual achievements.

Those who point out the discrepancy between the Prime Minister?s magnificent words and her government?s less-than-magnificent deeds are not well received. But, that does not mean they are wrong.

Ardern?s game-changing intuition was that all these voters really wanted to hear were different words. Commitments, promises, studies, working-groups, projects: policies filled with good intentions and promoted with powerful displays of empathy. The number of voters eager to focus on the fiscal mechanisms required to pay for Labour?s kinder, gentler New Zealand were considerably fewer.? End of quote.

Chris Trotter


Chris says that the cost of fulfilling Ardern?s promises will put voters off giving her a second term, but I think her inability to deliver on her promises will kick in first – providing punters are not asleep.

Jacinda got the top job thanks to Winston Peters and NZ First, but keeping the job comes down to performance – both her own and her party’s. Both leave much to be desired. Chris is spot on in his analysis of Ardern?s lacklustre performance to date. Quote.

But, magic of a certain kind. Ardern?s are not the sort of spells that begin with fantasy but end in reality. Jacinda is no Churchill. Rather than a magician, she is a conjurer. What Ardern weaves with her words are not the intentions that lead to actual deeds, but the dangerous illusion that what is being asked of her has already been accomplished ? made real by her unmistakable sincerity and the power of her will. Once she has declared her determination to end child poverty, who could be so churlish as to point out that the children of the poor are still with us? End of quote.

Yep. Anyone with a half awake brain will have twigged by now that our prime minister is an illusionist much better at projecting herself and making promises than she is at delivering them. Quote.

Every successful conjurer, however, must have their very own Jonathan Creek. Somebody to design and build the equipment that turns the conjurer?s masterful misdirection into a reality that baffles and delights. Ardern?s misfortune is to preside over a coalition government decidedly lacking in Jonathan Creeks. Thanks to Clare Curran, Phil Twyford, Iain Lees-Galloway, Grant Robertson and Shane Jones, too many people in the audience are being distracted from Ardern?s magic spiel. Some are even beginning to work out how the tricks are done. End of quote.

An excellent cabinet might have saved her, but she hasn?t got that luxury. Perhaps 130 working groups sent away to strategise was enough to let her tardy ministers off the hook. Or maybe they never had the smarts for the job the first place.

Her magical qualities are not wearing well. Her oratory skills are a double edged sword. They work on a public platform where she is in total control but totally fail her in one-on-one interviews, where she ducks and dives for cover instead of giving straight answers. Often stumbling with words and pronunciation, she leaves the listener wondering what she is trying to hide.

Some phrases Ardern commonly uses to obfuscate are listed below, along with my own interpretation (in italics) to assist the reader in interpreting her frustrating dialogue.

?Let?s do this? (Nah, not really, making promises is my forte, keeping them is not)

?Her generation?s nuclear free moment? (climate change is cool and we can chuck money at it to mollify the greenies and impress the UN at the same time)

?Transformational? (this big word sounds great, and it really doesn?t matter that nothing will actually ever get transformed)

“Captain’s Call” (used to remind the listener who’s boss around here, and no dialogue will be entered into, thank you very much)

?Let?s have a debate? (you can ask me about this till the cows come home, but I?m still not going to divulge my position on it)

?We haven?t made up our minds yet? (I never directly answer a question, you should know that by now)

?You know? (uses this in a warm chummy voice as a conversation filler while struggling to think of what to say next)

?Keeping in mind? (another conversation filler usually used in conjunction with quite a few ?um?s and ?ah?s)

“Again” (another conversation filler, but disregards the actual meaning of the word when the story that follows has no reference to anything said previously)

?Scaremongering? (Used to end a conversation as in: I will not debate that point, next point please?)

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