Back in early 2017 I wrote a blog called “The problem with Jacinda…” at the time she was the Labour candidate for Mt Albert in the byelection created by the resignation of David Shearer.
If I say so myself it was a prescient piece. Shortly after, in a whirlwind political ascendency she was Labour deputy leader, then Labour leader and then Prime Minister.
Those who so frequently lament the lack of transformation under Ardern should remember this is the person who went to work for Tony Blair in the UK AFTER the invasion of Iraq and went to hear Blair speak when he came to New Zealand some years later. It wasn’t surprising to me that, in her first big policy announcement as the person who said she went into politics to deal with child poverty, she declared Labour would halve child poverty in 10 years. She is more concerned to assure the obscenely wealthy she will never again propose a capital gains tax than she is to support the most vulnerable. Hugs without hope.
It is irrational and hopelessly naive to expect there will be any transformation under Ardern. Transformation will only come from radical political action outside parliament while the barricades are burning.
I’ll finish with a bit of that piece from January 2016.
The problem with Jacinda
People from across a wide political spectrum like Jacinda Ardern. Unlike most politicians, she comes across as personable and sincere and is often portrayed as the young face of a new generation of Labour politicians – heaven knows they need a new one.
It was Labour after all which left 175,000 children living in poverty in 2008 after nine years of government during a time of strong economic growth.
People are often surprised when I say I am much less impressed with Jacinda. I’ve heard her speak in public many times and have shared the platform on various panels with her and others (in my case to represent MANA Movement while she represented Labour) to discuss issues such as child poverty, housing, inequality and the struggles of beneficiaries etc
Jacinda is very skilled at empathising with questioners on any of these issues. “Yes, the figures are terrible aren’t they…”; “We can’t let this situation continue….”; “It’s just so awful…”; “As a country we must do better than this…” etc
However, there is never any concrete policy to deal effectively with any of these issues (although in housing Labour has begun to move strongly in the right direction – eg reforming Housing New Zealand as a government department)
To put it bluntly I think Jacinda has perfected the political art of sounding good while saying nothing of substance.
My opinion of her politics took a serious dive in 2011 when in the space of a short time she attended the launch of a book by Paul Henry – yes that Paul Henry – and then attended a presentation by none other than Tony Blair at Eden Park.
I was one of the protest organisers for Blair’s visit and while we had a good crowd outside calling for Blair to be arrested and charged with war crimes, Jacinda Ardern was inside with a bunch of big noters helping give credibility to him and his visit.
Jacinda’s fans will tell you how she worked in the UK as a policy advisor to British PM Tony Blair. Know someone who worked with her at the time & she reckons true, Jacinda did work in Mr Blair’s office, but the fans are exaggerating a bit about the importance of her role. #nzpol
Just how bloody stupid do you think Kiwis are Jacinda? I wanted to have a couple of days off politics but how can you ignore this?
I don’t care who this guy is but given the profile of the issue of him being granted a visa and how it could impact on Trans-Tasman relations, its probably quite a big deal.
How stupid do they think we are to believe neither the Prime Minister nor Minister of Immigration knew he’d been granted a 1 month visitor’s visa when chief human importation promotion facilitator Golriz Gollum is waiting for his arrival at the airport?
In August Ardern promised that the investigation into the rape & sex offences committed in her office by Mr Nana against several women would be made public at the end of November. Today she says the report findings will never see the light of day & will remain a secret
It is as if history is being erased. For all that we hear about recent record-breaking climate extremes, records that are equally extreme, and sometimes even more so, are ignored.
In January 1896 a savage blast “like a furnace” stretched across Australia from east to west and lasted for weeks. The death toll reached 437 people in the eastern states. Newspaper reports showed that in Bourke the heat approached 120°F (48.9°C) on three days (1)(2)(3). The maximumun at or above 102 degrees F (38.9°C) for 24 days straight.
By Tuesday Jan 14, people were reported falling dead in the streets. Unable to sleep, people in Brewarrina walked the streets at night for hours, the thermometer recording 109F at midnight. Overnight, the temperature did not fall below 103°F. On Jan 18 in Wilcannia, five deaths were recorded in one day, the hospitals were overcrowded and reports said that “more deaths are hourly expected”. By January 24, in Bourke, many businesses had shut down (almost everything bar the hotels). Panic stricken Australians were fleeing to the hills in climate refugee trains. As reported at the time, the government felt the situation was so serious that to save lives and ease the suffering of its citizens they added cheaper train services:
“The Commissioner of Railways promised a deputation of members of Parliament to run a special train every Friday at holiday excursion rates for the next month to enable settlers resident in the Western part of the colony to reach the mountains to escape the great heat prevailing.” (Source)
It got hotter and hotter and the crowded trains ran on more days of the week. The area of exodus was extended to allow not only refugees from western NSW to flee to the Blue Mountains but also people to escape via train from the Riverina to the Snowy Mountains. The stories are heartbreaking. “A child sent to the mountains to escape the city heat died at the moment the train arrived.” “Six infants have died at Goulburn since January 1 through the excessive heat.” Towns were losing their esteemed, lamenting the loss of the good reverend, or of their well known miners. Children were orphaned.
“A woman has been brought to the Bulli Hospital in a demented condition, suffering from sunstroke. She was tramping the roads, with her husband, two days before, when she was prostrated by a sunstroke. Her husband carried her through all the sweltering heat to Bulli, taking two days over the journey.” (Source).
The Victorian heatwave of 2009 was sold as the worst heat wave in southern Australia for 150 years.
In 1896 the heat was causing people to faint, become demented and was even blamed for driving people mad. “Several women fainted in the streets. A little girl, while walking along Surrey Hills, suddenly became demented through the heat.” In Bendigo “a young man named Edward Swift, hairdresser, was so overcome by the heat that he was unable to work, and in despair shot himself, in the breast. It is a hopeless case.” Longreach“police authorities at Longreach received information that a man who was insane was about fourteen miles out of the town.” “The bodies of people who die of sunstroke decompose very quickly”. An axe wielding man in Bourke cut down three telegraph poles before he was “secured” by police. Presumably the real cause of the madness was something else, but the heat was the last straw. “Birregurra was stirred from its wanted sleepiness on Saturday evening last by the appearance in the streets of a mad man who caused no small consternation.” It could be that nuttiness was equally common on other months, or other years. But at the time, people blamed the heat.
With this and people dropping dead in the streets from Perth through Adelaide to Sydney, the heat wave was described as being universal from west to east . It went north into Queensland and south through Victoria.…twice, by which time Australians considered themselves to be “Under Fire”.
Later in 1896, heat waves also occurred in India, Burma, Borneo, America. (It was bad in New York. Listen here.) There was heat in England, Germany and Spain. 1896 was an example of extreme weather. [It was obviously the fault of the evil power stations, eh? Just 14 years earlier, Edison had built the first coal-fired electric generating station. If only people had understood just how dangerous it was. – Jo]
Thermometers were non-standardized in 1896. Some of the extraordinary temperatures come from thermometers with descriptions like (“under passion tree vine.”) There it got to 123 in Ultimo in Sydney on January 14. Though some thought the vine thermometer was actually more accurate “ namely, that what is known as the true shade is the shade afforded at the Observatory by one of the loveliest little summer-houses, almost buried in foliage, but with lattice-work all round, so that the breeze may play upon the thermometers, but where the sun’s rays can by no means be admitted.”.