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Jacinda Ardern says she aspires to restore reputation of politicians during Singapore TV appearance

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says she will have succeeded if parents become more positive about their children aspiring to be politicians, during an appearance on Singapore TV.

Asked on First Look Asia if she entered politics aiming to be the one to make a difference, Ms Ardern said she aspired in part to restore the reputation of politicians.

"I always saw politics as a place where you could make a difference, I always remind people of that, if you’re a child and you tell your parent ‘you want to be a politician’ you’re not going to get the best response," she said.

"I know that I will have succeeded if kids start saying to their parents they want to be a politician and they think 'great.'"

Ms Ardern said she was also motivated by ensuring that New Zealand as a nation lived up to the expectations of Kiwis.

"My motivation has always been about fulfilling our expectations of the way we think New Zealand already is, what it can be, that it’s a place that looks after its kids, great place to raise a family, beautiful environment and innovative."

The Prime Minister said she planned to use the upcoming at the ASEAN summit to spread a message that there are economic reasons for tackling climate change

Ms Ardern said climate change wasn’t typically spoken about at the summit but was an obvious threat to regional security and particularly in risk Pacific Islands like Kiribati who were at risk from rising sea levels.

"Our view is that if we start transitioning our economies there’s a windfall for all of us in that as well if we get ahead of it," she said.

"If we sit back and wait for it to be a necessary adaptation, one borne out of disaster, then that us a hit on our GDP so there’s good economic reasons for us to get in front of the challenge."

Asked about New Zealand’s view of the growing Chinese influence in the Pacific, Ms Ardern said she prefers to focus on New Zealand’s special relationship with the Pacific.

"Our view has always been that we need to focus on the strength of our own relationships and that shouldn’t be determined by the relationship relative to anyone else.

"Our relationship in the Pacific is very unique, we have realm countries in the Cook Islands, Niue and Tokelau, beyond that we have huge populations of Samoan and Tongan individuals in New Zealand.

"We have announced recently what we’ve called a Pacific reset, moving away from this relationship of donor and donee to a partnership."