Dear Jacinda (Ardern)

What a wonderful breath of fresh air you are to world politics. If only we had leaders like you in this and other countries. I love you…and so does my wife! Here’s why.Early Achievements as NZ Prime Minister

You’re only 38! You’ve only been in power for one year! You’ve just had a baby! You only took 6 weeks maternity leave (first ever PM in the world to take maternity leave). For this period, you let your Deputy PM (Winston Peters) from your coalition partner be Acting PM, despite his chequered record. Yet, despite all of this, look at what you have achieved in one year:
– Increased the minimum wage
– Frozen MP’s salaries
– Set a Zero Carbon Emissions Goal and established an independent Climate Change Commission

– Made the first year of tertiary education free and increased student allowances
– Banned overseas investment in existing residential homes
– Stopped the selloff of state housing
– Banned offshore oil and gas drilling
– Increased the number of refugees coming to NZ
– Made medical cannabis available
– Established enquiries into reducing child poverty, eliminating homelessness, addressing mental health and revising the tax system

These are all very significant actions, not words. They will change the nature of NZ society by emphasising the social issues that make for a decent society, rather than just focussing on the economic elements. Most or all of these would be popular and beneficial in my country (Australia).

Your Style

Achievements are much more important than style. But style wins people over. And your style breaks through so many accepted – and bad – practices of politicians, political life and large organisations. Seeing you and hearing you speak, it’s a bit like having a neighbour as PM, not a celebrity. Yet, because of your style (and your agenda and achievements), you have become an instant global celebrity. Some examples of your ‘style’ that I love are:
— Continuing to live in an ordinary, practical, convenient, comfortable home
– Communicating direct to the public via Facebook, Twitter and Instagram
– Announcing you are pregnant on Instagram
– Announcing your Families Package on Facebook, wearing no makeup (and telling us this)
– Having your baby in a public hospital
– Naming your baby with a Maori name (Neve Te Aroha)
– Continuing to breastfeed your baby, despite being PM
– Having your partner take the role of carer
– Not claiming expenses for your carer on your UN trip, because he wasn’t doing much official business
– Speaking in Maori at some public events, promoting the need to support the Maori language

– Wearing a Maori cloak to meet the Queen
– Communicating sincerely, honestly, straightforwardly, addressing issues, not mouthing slogans or cliches
– Refusing, wherever possible, to be sucked up into celebrity life, except where it is useful to publicise NZ (eg speaking at the UN, appearing on major US entertainment programs)

There are no political slogans, no pointless PR photos or interviews (you do your own photos and videos direct!), no pretence, no saying black is white. It’s all so wonderfully refreshing. It’s what politicians should be doing: providing leadership, being role models, living real lives.

What Now?

I’m sure, Jacinda, that you will stumble, make errors in the future. We all do. But you have already built up such a wonderful bank of credits that I hope I – and the critical media looking for sensational and bad news – will be able to accept these as part of an ordinary, decent, human, trying to do her best.
Jacinda, I wish you were our PM. We love your work and your style. m We wish you all the best for your second year, and more.

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