Flat White

St Jacinda walks among us – virtually. So what?

5 May 2020

1:05 PM

5 May 2020

1:05 PM

Social media, The Grauniad and the ABC’s fanbois and girls have worked themselves to a state of near orgasm knowing that today St Jacinda of Ardern is joining Scott Morrison and “friends” in a National Cabinet meeting to discuss a Trans-Tasman travel “bubble”.

You could be forgiven if, from how that’s been reported, you thought it’s some sort of virtual Second Coming.

But think about the malicious and unfair way the Prime Minister is always unfavourably compared to the Wonder from Wellington.

It’s been his fate to be just as successful as St Jacinda in squashing the viral curve but being conservative and pale, male and supposedly stale he is demonised by the luvvies while she is all but deified as patroness saint of the woke.

Granted, Ardern’s done a very good job in acting hard and fast to suppress the spread of the Wuhan virus, and her government is starting to ease New Zealand out of a lockdown far heavier than that we are still experiencing in Australia.

But let’s put it in some honest perspective:

  • New Zealand has a population less than Victoria’s and is more concentrated than Australia’s 25 million.
  • New Zealand is not a federation. Ardern has only one government to deal with — her own.
  • New Zealand’s parliament only has one House, in which Ardern’s coalition has unchallenged numbers.

Compare this to Morrison. Unlike Ardern, he has to deal with eight states and territories — including a grandstanding Daniel Andrews who only plays a team game when he feels like it; has only a bare majority in the House of Representatives and still has to bargain his way through a hostile Senate; and has to contend with a mostly hostile press gallery, too many of whose members are more determined to play “gotcha” games than report.

And that’s before seeing how he’s constantly and undeservedly torn to shreds by social media ferals, where if St Jacinda picked her nose her Twitter acolytes would treat it as a sign from God.

Compared to all Morrison has to face, Ardern’s job is a doddle.

St Jacinda may be the Mother Teresa of Wellington’s Beehive, but what’s the betting that if she were in Morrison’s seat, she’d flounder?

And that’s just in dealing with the immediate crisis. 

When it comes to the gargantuan job of repairing their respective economies after this Wuhan virus pandemic subsides, Morrison will come into his own. Ardern is great at communicating and showing genuine empathy but, as her record in government shows, is weak on the detail of policy and actual nuts and bolts governing is not her thing.  She will struggle, even if she wins a whopping electoral majority later this year as leaked NZ Labour opinion polling suggests.

All in all, and despite his flaws, we’re lucky that Morrison and not Ardern’s doing what he’s doing and how he’s doing it in Australia, under conditions far more onerous than anything Ardern has to deal with in New Zealand.

So why can’t we all just show him a bit of appreciation?

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