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Are we talking about the same Jacinda?
There are bad things happening in this country, bad things that never happened before. But they’re happening now and many know exactly who is to blame.
A group of thugs drive a stolen car into a shop window to steal things - Jacinda’s fault.
An immigration form takes a long time to process - clearly the fault of the PM. Why can’t she just process the forms faster, why has she ripped the hearts out of the family impacted - why doesn’t she care?
Come on, she is the Prime Minister, it’s no different to John Key being held personally accountable. If it took too long for a Christchurch earthquake claim to be processed, or the awful cases where the scourge that is P devastated lives - everyone said John Key had destroyed this country. He had personally let individuals impacted by bureaucracy down - why didn’t he care?
Except they didn’t say that did they? Not even close.
No one blamed John Key for the P epidemic that occurred while he was in charge, no one said he let a family down and ripped their hearts out if a visa form hadn’t been processed. And if Christopher Luxon becomes PM, and there are issues, no one will say those things about him either.
Sometimes when you hear these criticisms you wonder - after all that our Prime Minister has done to lead our country so well, through such a difficult time, have people just forgotten?
Many of us look at other world leaders and think how lucky we are. Many feel she is the best PM of New Zealand in our lifetime. Then we look at the vitriol and the hatred targeted at her, the misplaced blame she gets for every low level mistake by a public servant, or each time there is a robbery, and we think - this is actually insane.
What is even harder to understand than blaming her personally for these issues is that some don’t even seem to recognise the incredible job she has done dealing with the major events of her leadership.
Perhaps it’s worth remembering them. How about we start with the darkest of days in this country’s history, March 15 2019.
I remember that day - it was a lovely clear one. I was reading about the kids who were missing school to take part in a student protest against inaction on climate change. Of course the usual suspects were complaining that those kids should be in school, just ignore the looming disasters and consequences for your future - get back into the classroom children.
Then word started to come through that something had happened in Christchurch, and you know the rest. Our peaceful little nation, so far removed from these sort of tragic events, would never be the same again.
In the days that followed that terrible day in Christchurch we saw the emergence of a leader of great kindness, empathy, and love. She did and said the things that people needed, not for political expedience but because she genuinely cared for her people. She was there for them at that horrific time for our country, particularly our Muslim brothers and sisters. I don't understand, how could people forget that?
This Friday it was one year since the last lockdown, the long (mostly) Auckland one, ended. These were my memories from that day:
Day one hundred and seven, the last day of lockdown…
When this started I really didn’t think it would last this long, can’t imagine anyone did based on lockdown last year. The attempt to eliminate went as well as was realistic given the variant, the government did a good job stopping it spreading around the country, and there was a great ramp up with vaccinations.
The government soon had to modify the initial goal of elimination with the new reality of containment. I think they did incredibly well responding to a changing situation – but they were never going to make everyone happy.
The Sydney and Melbourne Delta outbreaks each had over 500 deaths; in Auckland we have had fewer than 20. Honestly we don’t know how lucky we are to have a government with such determination to put lives first.
Take care all of you lovely people, especially those in Tamaki Makaurau who have sacrificed over these last 107 days - missed the celebration of birthdays, the grieving at funerals, the precious time with friends and whanau.
We bloody did it, we saved lives – think of the awful final hours in ICU that didn’t result for so many additional people due to those actions. It was worth it.
This was something good, something positive that the country got behind, and yet the whole way through the opposition chipped away non-constructively. They kept on working throughout not to help at all but to sow seeds of doubt with the public, to undermine the government’s efforts, and all completely out of self interest.
Where our PM decided right from the start that we were going to put people’s lives ahead of business profits, other world leaders dithered and stalled rather than take decisive action and tens of thousands of people died as a result of their dithering. There is not a doubt in my mind that Key or Luxon would have dithered.
Around the world many thought Jacinda was doing a remarkable job as leader, and yet even then some people here complained. Some folks lost the plot during the restrictions and seemed to genuinely believe that the government took the Covid actions it did as some sort of malevolent action against the people of this country. Where do you even start with that?
These words from Grant Robertson in March 2020 however rang true for many of us:
Let me tell you about my friend Jacinda. Over the last few weeks I have experienced what I have seen often over the years. The calm, decisive, incisive leader. The deep, principled and practical policy approach. The genius, sharp and crystal clear communicator. And most of all the genuine, grounded, kind person you see every day too. Up close I see the burden of life and death decisions are not easily carried, they hang heavy. But for sure fellow New Zealanders, I know no one else I would want to lead us through this time.
What would Jacinda have to do to impress some of the other people?
An incredibly caring and moving response of love in the face of terror - meh it was all fake for the cameras.
Saved the lives of hundreds if not thousands of people during a global pandemic - I want my freedoms, why is she dividing NZ like this?
With what we see in the media at the moment you’d think the whole country was clutching pitch forks ready to oust the elected government.
But most Kiwis are decent people, they’re not greedy or selfish, they care about this country and the people in it. They are finding the cost of living hard, and yes there does seem to be a lot of crime right now.
The fact that crime is actually down a bit is neither here nor there. Yes, despite the amount of coverage and the fact that there are unquestionably ram raids and other things occurring, crime rates are actually down and police funding is up. There are more police than if National were in power - that is an irrefutable fact despite rhetoric to the contrary.
No one seems to say “where was the police presence? Oh there used to be a community police station just round the corner from there but it closed under the Key government because of cuts to police funding.”
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The economy is going ok compared to others, we have low unemployment, yes things are tough with costs but our inflation rate is lower than what most other countries are experiencing. If we’re honest the actions of individual governments have a pretty limited impact with the global economic situation, the current problems with crime and inflation would be much the same under a National government.
Yet many are saying every problem is the fault of the PM, and others of us are looking on thinking - are you kidding? She saved our lives, she kept businesses afloat that would have gone to the wall without serious money being spent - and now the people who were helped so much complain about the level of debt that was taken on to pay for it all?
She helped to heal our nation at a time of great horror and sadness and guided us through the worst pandemic in a century with strength and decency.
And most of all with kindness throughout.
Did you ever watch one of the Press Conferences or Question Time in Parliament and just get blown away by the amount of information the Prime Minister is in command of, and her ability to speak knowledgeably about the details of it all?
Clearly here is someone that works bloody hard keeping all the plates spinning. Whereas if they clattered to the floor under Key’s watch he’d have just said he couldn’t recall them ever actually spinning and no one really cares about plates anyway.
Our government is not perfect, but they’re the best government of my lifetime, and probably of yours too.
I think some people need to take a step back, extract their head from wherever they currently have it located and just look at the evidence. We are so bloody lucky, what on earth are people moaning about?
After all she has done what more does she have to do to impress some people?
Is the lack of respect or acknowledgment as simple as the fact the PM is a woman?
The sad fact is that if John Key had achieved half of what Jacinda has the very people complaining about every little thing she does would have been hailing him as the leader of the century, and the same will be true of Luxon if he becomes Prime Minister.
Possibly the most well known line in this country is “we don’t know how lucky we are”.
I know we’re bloody lucky - how about you?
This is my favourite Christmas song, those of you who know me will know I post it every year. When I'm sitting down with my family this year, for our “white wine in the sun”, as thousands of others will be, I won't be thinking - gosh strawberries are expensive this year.
I'll probably take a moment to reflect on how grateful I am and wonder how many people would be missing from those special gatherings around the country, or maybe from my own, if it weren't for the actions of Jacinda Ardern - and I won't forget that.