Jacinda Ardern responds to glowing New York Times column describing her as 'trying to counter Trump's ugly impulses'

Jacinda Ardern was the subject of a glowing profile in The New York Times over the weekend that described her as a counter to Donald Trump and "a preview of what could be possible" for women with political aspirations in the US - "albeit one with much better scenery."

But it was the recent controversy over the Prime Minister's quick-turnaround trip to Nauru that garnered much of Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist Maureen Dowd's attention.

"Look, I expect to be criticised. I'm in politics and I'm made of tough stuff," the Prime Minister told TVNZ1's Breakfast this morning as she shed more light on the profile. "You don't go through 10 years of politics without being able to take it on the chin.

"I think probably the reason it stood out for me a little bit: It was the first occasion where there was two jobs I was juggling. Two roles. But I absolutely stand by my decision."

Ms Dowd travelled to New Zealand for the column, and described meeting Ms Ardern at her home after returning from Nauru.

In her column Dowd said Ms Ardern, she said, is "part of a club of young, progressive leaders...trying to counter President Trump's ugly impulses against the environment and multilateralism".

After ticking off a list of firsts achieved by Ms Ardern, including being the first world leader to take maternity leave, Dowd suggested "the fantasy of easy equality evaporated" when the Nauru criticism surfaced.

Ms Ardern was criticised for taking a separate Air Force flight to Nauru at instead of sharing an earlier flight with Winston Peters.

The Prime Minister is making a one-day appearance at the Pacific Island Forum. Source: 1 NEWS

"...She wanted to attend because all Kiwi prime ministers consider it a can't-miss; and also because she didn't want to seem like she was shying away from an ongoing debate with Australia, as she tries to rescue refugees from the hideous holding facilities in Nauru, the shame of Australia," Dowd wrote.

"Never mind that in a nation dependent on tourism, Jacinda is the biggest thing to hit here since Frodo dropped the ring into Mount Doom. Her ministers had to defend her."

In the column, Ms Ardern opened up about her "damned if I do, damned if I don't" response to the controversy and admitted she was surprised by "how hard I took that" criticism.

Ms Ardern repeated her reasons today for taking a separate trip via air force plane to Nauru so that she could be back within 24 hours, to look after Neve. She hesitated, however, to express exasperation with what Winston Peters and Dowd both called "the trolls".

The PM has to take an extra flight to the Pacific Islands Forum as baby Neve is unable to travel with her. Source: 1 NEWS

"There's only been one occasion when a prime minister hasn't attended the Pacific Island Forum since 1971," she said today, mentioning her upcoming trip to New York City, where she plans to discuss climate change at the United Nations General Assembly.

"Some of those Pacific leaders who are at the Pacific Island Forum just don't have the chance to attend and be on that platform, and yet some are in the most climate affected parts of the world," she said.

"I see New Zealand as needing to play a leadership role and we can't do it unless we are working alongside our Pacific neighbours. New Zealand needed to be represented at that meeting, so I stand by it."

The PM is heading to Vietnam where she'll rub shoulders with the likes of presidents Trump and Putin.
Source: 1 NEWS

Making a final comparison to American politics, Dowd pointed out that Mr Trump's visits to golf clubs have cost taxpayers there more than $70 million, and President Barack Obama was once hailed as "a romantic hero" after taking his wife on a date in Manhattan that cost an estimated $72,000.

"I was most happy to contribute to our urbane president’s date nights," Ms Dowd concluded.

Columnist Maureen Dowd visited her home and called her an antidote to Trump politics. Source: Breakfast



Person in critical condition after being hit by bus in Christchurch

One person’s been hospitalised in a critical condition after being hit by a bus in Christchurch this morning.

Emergency services were called to Main North Road in Redwood around 8am.

A police spokesperson says the road has been closed and motorists are being asked to follow the direction of emergency services.

A bus driver at the wheel.


'We were really excited' - hear the voices of some of the first New Zealand women to vote 125 years ago

Today marks the 125th anniversary of women’s suffrage in New Zealand, which made our small island the first self-governing nation to grant women the right to vote.

It wasn’t a smooth road, however, and although not as long or violent as other campaigns for the vote in the UK and US years later, Kiwi women faced their share of opposition.

A strong push for the vote began in the late 1870s when electoral bills were being put forward to Parliament which had clauses saying it gave women the right to vote, not just men.

But it was much earlier that a handful of women began advocating for voting rights for women.

“It was just a few maverick voices at that point, but it was being discussed,” says Victoria University's Professor Charlotte Macdonald.

The movement picked up steam when the Women’s Christian Temperance formed nationwide in New Zealand.

That’s when women started saying, “we want to change the politics in the places that we live”, says Professor Macdonald.

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For more on this story, watch 1 NEWS at 6pm. Source: 1 NEWS

It wasn’t just for political equality, but for moral reform to protect women, she says.

“They were saying ‘we need to organise to get the vote because without that no matter what we do we’re just going to get cast aside’.”

From there, women began a much larger campaign which involved petitioning, public meetings, writing letters to the editor and working with sympathetic MPs.

A lot of their efforts failed, but the women tirelessly continued to work for equality in voting rights.

From 1886 to 1892, a series of petitions were presented to Parliament.

“Petitioning was the only way in which women, and people outside Parliament, could have their voice heard and the British suffrage campaign was petitioning at the same time so it’s a well-known technique,” says Otago University's Professor Barbara Brookes.

“It was also a really important educationally technique because if you’re going to sign a petition people usually explain to you what it’s about.”

Nearly 32,000 signatures were obtained from women across the country including many Māori women.

It was on September 19, 1893, following another petition and electoral bill passed in the House when Governor Lord Glasgow signed the bill into law and women granted the right to vote.

When election day finally comes in November 28, 1893, 82 per cent of women over the age of 21 turn out to vote.

This changed the course of women’s lives in New Zealand leading to many policy changes for women, female MP being elected to Parliament 40 years later and eventually three female prime ministers.

And take a brief look at the journey Kiwi women took to be granted the right to vote in NZ. Source: 1 NEWS

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Most read: Jacinda Ardern’s GDP gaffe is understandable and not of much consequence, says economist

Shortly after Jacinda Ardern misspoke about economic data during a radio interview yesterday, the Kiwi dollar briefly rose.

It resulted in widespread media coverage and gave Opposition leader Simon Bridges an opening to throw another jab in their perpetual political joust, calling her "distracted".

But even if the Prime Minister's statement did cause the dollar to quiver, does it matter in the scheme of things?

"Not really," said Christina Leung, principal economist for the NZ Institute of Economic Research, as she discussed the issue on TVNZ1's Breakfast today.

"The miscommunication is understandable," she said of the interview, in which Newstalk ZB host Mike Hosking asked a question about tomorrow's release of gross-domestic product (GDP) figures and Ms Ardern replied, "I am very pleased with the way we are tracking".

The Prime Minister later clarified that she wasn't talking about GDP figures, which she isn't given advanced access to, but instead to the Government's balance sheet.

The Opposition says it shows the Prime Minister is distracted. Source: 1 NEWS

"Financial markets do tend to focus on the glamour stats...like GDP," Ms Leung said today. "And then the Prime Minister would be more focused, of course, about what implications of growth are on tax revenue and what it means for the Government's balance sheet."

Ms Leung said she didn't find the misstatement concerning. The GDP figures released tomorrow will look back to the June quarter, so they won't be affected in any way by a statement after the fact, she said.

And she's also not convinced the PM's statement caused the brief rise in the Kiwi dollar's value, from 65.78 to 65.84 US cents.

"It's always hard to link up what's driving the New Zealand dollar," she said. "A lot of financial markets are driven by a lot of different factors.

The Kiwi dollar rose slightly this morning following a radio interview in which some thought the PM had a sneak peek of Thursday’s figures. Source: 1 NEWS

"Ultimately, what effects the longer-term influence on the New Zealand dollar would be the interest rate differentials between New Zealand and the other major economies - particularly what's going on in the US."

With retail activity and construction "looking quite strong" in New Zealand, Ms Leung said she expects to see "fairly solid growth for the June quarter" - of up to one per cent - when the GDP stats are released tomorrow morning.

Christina Leung, principal economist for the NZ Institute of Economic Research, also tells Breakfast the outlook for tomorrow’s GDP announcement is good. Source: Breakfast


'She was extraordinary' - Jacinda Ardern hails mother as 125 years of women’s suffrage celebrated

Hundreds of celebrations are taking place across the country to mark 125 years since Kiwi women received the right to vote.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern marked the historic occasion from Auckland's Aotea Square this morning, where she acknowledged her mother as just one of New Zealand's many inspirational women.

Acting Minister for Women Eugenie Sage also acknowledged the work of women such as Kate Sheppard, Meri Te Tai Mangakāhia and others who tirelessly campaigned for women's suffrage.

The Electoral Act, signed into law on September 19, 1893, gave women over the age of 21 the right to vote in parliamentary elections - the first country in the world to do so.

The PM spoke about New Zealand’s inspirational women in central Auckland today, including one close to her heart. Source: 1 NEWS