News World Jacinda bites in the Big Apple: NZ First Family on charm offensive

Jacinda bites in the Big Apple: NZ First Family on charm offensive

Jacinda Arden speaking at the UN General Assembly Photo: AAP
Share
Tweet Share Reddit Pin Email

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern lived up to her “anti-Trump” tag in a speech to the United Nations General Assembly.

“Me Too must become we too,” she said, in the September 27 speech that didn’t name Mr Trump, but focused on international cooperation and kindness to solve social problems.

The “anti-Trump” tag was given to 38-year-old Ms Ardern by Vogue.

Meanwhile, it was left to the first baby of New Zealand to protest Mr Trump’s gormless boasting speech at the General Assembly on September 25 by filling her nappy.

As Mr Trump made his confounding claim to have achieved more than any other administration, three-month-old Neve – who had travelled to New York to hear her mother speak to the UN – apparently strained to express her disapproval.

When Ms Ardern’s partner Clarke Gayford tweeted a picture of Neve’s UN identification he made a sideways confession.

“I wish I could have captured the startled look on a Japanese delegation inside UN yesterday who walked into a meeting room in the middle of a nappy change,” he tweeted.

It was just one charming anecdote in what has been a relentlessly upbeat taking of New York by the New Zealand PM.

She made history (again!) this week, becoming the first female head of state to attend the United Nations General Assembly with her baby.

In a much-praised appearance on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, Ms Ardern told how, when meeting Donald Trump to discuss steel and aluminium tariffs imposed on New Zealand by the US, Mr Gayford almost got himself shot by knocking over a flagpole.

“I raised it (the tariff issue) then the flag went down … as I turned around he was holding a long metal prong,’’ she said. “I’m surprised no one leapt on it at that point because it looked like a weapon.”

She kept playing for laughs by confessing her failed audition for Lord of The Rings. And when Mr Colbert suggested that New Zealanders were a “vital … and vigorous” people, she said: “It makes us sound like a health product.”

Her performance won many American hearts, as exemplified in a tweet from Moonstone 23: “Coolest PM. Where can we get one just like her because I think the one residing in the WH is broken.
P.S. I like hobbits too.”

The New York Times took a deeper look at Ardern, the phenomenon known as “Jacindamania” and the difficulties she is facing at home, running a minority government, under attack from a nervous business community and at odds with her conservative coalition partners.

“She has become a subject of global fascination for her progressive values, her youth and charisma, and her status as a new mother who has garnered more attention than any previous leader of this small Pacific country,” noted The New York Times.

“The international news media are fond of promoting her as a new kind of unconventional 21st-century leader — the unmarried mother and policy wonk who wore a traditional Maori cloak, while pregnant, to Buckingham Palace to meet the queen.”