And just like that, seemingly out of nowhere, politics became interesting again.
It has been a massive couple of weeks at Ihumātao (with updates still coming in). Most noticeably, Jacinda Ardern has remained relatively silent, actively attempting to avoid questions regarding it. Why? Who knows, but it’s hard for politicians to pick a side on the issue so I’d imagine Jacinda wouldn’t want to look bad. However, could she ever look bad? This question has risen to the forefront once again in the midst of all this, so let’s dive into that.
In my last column, I mentioned that perhaps Simon Bridges and the National Party in general are not doing very well due to the media’s constant glowing reports of Jacinda and her work as Prime Minister; this theory holds even MORE truth now during these current protests. I’m going to be completely honest; I do not particularly like Simon Bridges. He seems fine, but so far the media has always presented him always on the back foot, never really giving him much of a chance - which I guess is acceptable because he is in the opposition. However, reading the coverage of Simon Bridges and Jacinda Ardern’s reactions to the protests has really enraged me.
Jacinda left the country in the midst of all this going on, going to Tokelau to talk about climate change and saying that the risks caused by climate change are “very real”. Is this poor timing? Absolutely. What makes it even worse, however, is that Parliament had just had three weeks off, and Jacinda went overseas the week they came back. There is a lot to unpack here; I mean, the timing could have just been an unfortunate coincidence and she didn’t want to back out of a prior commitment. Annoying, but acceptable. But there’s also the fact that she is going over to talk about climate change in Tokelau when she hasn’t done anything about it in her own country; not even doing the bare minimum and calling for a climate change emergency (which would at least allow the protester outside the Beehive to finally go home and get on with his life).
While all of this is arguably bad and could reflect poorly on Jacinda, the worst part is the only place I found all this information available was in an article titled, “Simon Bridges accused of 'disrespectful', 'sexist' remarks over Jacinda Ardern's Tokelau visit,” from Newshub. The only reason I knew about Jacinda going overseas during this time is from an article criticising Simon Bridges, with the article claiming, “…Bridges has come out swinging” by claiming that Jacinda should be focusing on her own country. Which, I think, at this time of protesting and high tensions is a completely valid point to make. The article also does not include any quotes backing up the claim he has been sexist and merely includes a partial quote from Grant Robertson saying Bridges claims were “disrespectful” and questioning if there were sexist undertones to what he was saying, but that’s it. That’s not being labelled a sexist.
This is undeniably an opportunity to give facts which could reflect badly on her, but instead the media has framed all the information in a way that makes Simon look bad (when in actual fact, he has actually made some valid points). Even though I am studying journalism and media, this really does confirm that the mainstream media is pretty fucking bad.
But, maybe I shouldn’t have written this while listening to Lana Del Rey; I am full of emotions and it shows.
I need to calm down before I find some drywall to punch.
Have a good break.