New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has resigned after months of rumours. Ardern, whose popularity has plummeted during the last six months, told us “she had nothing left in the tank”.
The backstory to this resignation is a tale of woe. Ardern said she wants to be remembered as someone who tried to be kind. The subtext is: the country is in an unprecedented mess but don’t blame me.
Last year school attendance was reported as running at just 67% on any given day. Machete-wielding teenagers are ram-raiding liquor outlets, vape shops, dairies, and jewellery stores daily in a frenzied crime wave. The health system is overwhelmed. Ardern’s government promised to build 100,000 new homes over three years. It has delivered just 1500 to date.
Our tourist, farming, and hospitality industries have not recovered from lockdowns and border closures. It now takes weeks to get a visa to visit New Zealand – it used to take two days – and the government says it only wants rich people to come. No wonder, we are all poor now.
Ardern famously insisted on universal covid vaccination mandates. There is a suspicion that our 90% vaccination rate has left everyone in a lethargic fog. Excess all-cause deaths are still running 15% above the long-term trends, and it is not covid.
History will judge Ardern harshly, but don’t blame her alone. This was a Parliament that woke up on all sides of the house to the weakness of our constitutional arrangements – there are none worth the name. The Bill of Rights was tossed aside and no one in Parliament cared.
The leader of the National opposition, Chris Luxon, famously said pre-pandemic if he was in power, he would withdraw benefits from unvaccinated single mothers. David Seymour, leader of the ACT party wrote on his Facebook those losing their jobs through vaccine mandates only had themselves to blame. Labour’s coalition partners, the Greens, led by example, encouraging mothers in labour to ride to the hospital on a bicycle (yes, they did).
Politicians of all parties were afraid to meet protestors and turned the hoses on them rather than listen to their concerns.
Revelations this week (HERE and HERE) that Ardern personally overruled her scientific advisors, who were expressing doubts about the safety of covid vaccines for young people and the wisdom of mandates, have circulated very widely and no doubt this has further undermined confidence in the government.
Ardern introduced “rule by regulation.” Adopting the enabling model favoured by fascists in the 1930s, her government has empowered authorities to tell us all what to do, when to stay at home, and where not to go. The courts, the Human Rights Commission, and the broadcast regulators have all followed the government line meticulously which has had a devastating effect on business, families, communities, and professions. To cement her policies, Ardern introduced massive government funding of our media and broadcasters – a hallmark of repressive regimes.