Jacinda Ardern resigns as prime minister of New Zealand

…Ferris won’t ever be able to provide a citation for this because no (legitimate) citation exists. The Māori caucus is not radical. Nanaia Mahuta, Kiritapu Allan, Kelvin Davis, Peeni Henare, and especially Willie Jackson, are not radicals, were not out of control, all of them appointed by the Governor General on the advice of the Prime Minister.

The health services reforms were long overdue and essential. The background to this was Health and disability system review that was commissioned back in 2018.

You can read that here:

The review panel included Heather Simpson, Shelley Campbell (CEO of the Cancer Society Waikato/Bay of Plenty), Professor Peter Crampton (Dean of the Otago Medical School), Dr Lloyd McCann (CEO at Mercy Radiology), Dr Margaret Southwick (former Chair of the Nursing Council) Dr Winfield Bennett (Group Manager Hawkes Bay DHB), Sir Brian Roche (former Chairman of the NZTAB), and on the Māori Expert Advisory Group were Sharon Shea (Principal Shea Pita & Associates), Dr Terryann Clark (Associate Professor, Nursing), Takutai Moana Natasha Kemp (CEO Te Kaha o Te Rangatahi Trust SA), Dr Dale Bramley (CEO of the Waitemata District Health Board), Linda Ngata (Te Rūnanga o Ngā Maatawaka), Assoc. Professor Sue Crengle (UOA)

This wasn’t a matter of “reorganising the entire national health system during a pandemic.” It was a process that started two years before the pandemic through a review process that was lead by experienced people both inside and outside of the health sector.

And the thing is: we are still in a pandemic. Next year? We almost certainly will still be living with the pandemic. There is no waiting for the pandemic to be over before starting the reforms. Because that isn’t how the world works.

The report called for transformational change. The interim report called the former health system (that consisted of 20 independent District Health Boards) a “confusing monolith” where “fragmentation and duplication” were key issues, that it was a “system that does not primarily serve consumers’ values and needs, and does not have enough focus on prevention and wellness” and that “This results in inequitable outcomes and the so-called “postcode lottery” of healthcare.”


The review called for " for a more centralised health system, with clear hierarchies lending themselves to more efficient work." What that lead to was a consolidation of all 20 District Health Boards into a new, national health service called Te Whatu Ora, Health New Zealand.

Te Aka Whai Ora is the new Māori Health Authority.


You might not like it, but the crown has a commitment to Te Tiriti o Waitangi. Māori “are both a legitimate and an essential part of decision-making in the health and disability sector.”

Te Aka Whai Ora didn’t come about because of a “radical faction.” It is part of our commitment to Te Tiriti o Waitangi, it was an evidence based decision based on what a panel of experts recommended as part of a strategy to improve health outcomes for Māori.

You say this like its a bad thing.

You know this is a good thing, right? That our national education syllabus shouldn’t be “pro-colonial”, and that it should have much more Māori-focused content? Is this seriously something you would argue against?

Anyway, here’s what the Prime Minster had to say about the new history curriculum:

So for anyone still following along, does the national education history syllabus sound like an initiative driven by a “radical Maori caucus within Labour pushing for power on a number of fronts that the Prime Minister could no longer control?” Or does it sound like an initiative that the Prime Minister was very much a part of driving, and that she saw as one of her proudest moments in office?

There are a number of competing conspiracy theories out there, but the lack of specificity here leads me to believe that Ferris is talking about the Public Interest Journalism Fund. You can read details about this here:


TLDR: this isn’t a “mandate.” This isn’t a “bribe.” Its a fund to support projects that “fill a public interest service and would otherwise be at risk or not produced without this fund’s support.”

Of course, Ferris could be talking about something else. Are you talking about something else Ferris?

You mean like restructuring a health system that was long overdue for a significant overhaul? Reforming decades in underinvestment in our drinking, waste and stormwater services? An increase in minimum wage? Free Trade Agreement with the EU? Fair Pay Agreements? Banned conversion practices? Decriminalised abortion?

Absenteeism is not (necessarily) truancy.

Its not just a “third-world problem” and it is a problem here, and it is a problem here, and it is precisely the sort of thing that Te Aka Whai Ora was created to address. You can’t both oppose the existence of the Māori Health Authority and complain about that we have “too much rheumatic fever.”

You know that Australia is also struggling to get doctors and nurses, right?

Its a global pandemic and everywhere is experiencing shortages of doctors and nurses. It isn’t something that anyone can fix, not in the short term.

Labour hasn’t mismanaged the economy IMHO. This one is beyond my wheelhouse so I won’t talk to this one beyond that, but considering the lack of citation from you on every other assertion you have made and your over-reliance on talking points, conspiracy theories and cherry picked data, I’m just gonna ask everyone to “trust me bro” on this.

“Largely unpunished” is doing a lot of work here.

The police have said that

This isn’t something that can be fixed overnight. It isn’t something that can be stopped by “getting tougher on crime.” And it certainly isn’t something that can be laid at the feet of the Prime Minister. The way that the world works is evolving at speeds that conventional systems and establishments are struggling to keep up with and this is all just part of that.

I’m sure you could. Perhaps if you do, maybe bring some cites?

The Disinformation Project documents exactly when New Zealand experienced an explosion disinformation from overseas that started just before the Omicron outbreak and continues to this day.

The country is not split like never before. This isn’t a fact. This does not reflect reality here.

The Prime Minister is not leading us down a path towards tribal governance and away from a free and liberal democracy. This is not a thing that has happened. This couldn’t be further from reality.

“Exaggerting” would be the mildest, politiest way I would put it. Yes. Ferris is exagerting.

This is conspiracy-theory-level-word-salad-gish-gallop.

There are about four very different things in this sentence, none of them related, all of them wildly exaggerated.

:: Narrator voice: most New Zealanders have not been horrified by the (allegedly) “underhand” ways this Government has been working in. ::

You could believe this, or you could believe what the Prime Minister actually said.

As one tweet said:

Prime Minister Ardern oversaw one of the most turbulant times in our nations history, from the Mosque shootings to Whakaari, to the handling of the global pandemic. Even her harshest critics pay tribute to the way she was lightening focused on the smallest of details, had an actual understanding of the issues she was dealing with, and held her own on the debate stage. Not only was did she have to deal with a number of high profile crisis, she was at the forefrront of transformational change in a number of different areas.

I have significant disagreement on some of the things that Prime MInister Ardern has done. But none of them are any of the things that Ferris has listed here. We have seen a significant rise in the scale of misogynistic threats and attacks on the PM, on marginalised folk, in the last couple of years. Almost of all them centred on the same talking points that Ferris has (politely) laid out for everyone here. Ferris may have been polite, but the talking points they used here are largely not correct.

That’s as comprehensive a rebuttal as has ever graced SDMB.
Well done.


In your defence, perhaps they drive “on the wrong side of the road”… :wink:

I had a buddy from Australia who had a map on the wall of his office where south was up, so Australia and New Zealand was at the top (in their rightful place, as he put it).

Anyway, Ardern seemed both competent and likeable. I think she was praised for early Covid but faced criticism later after we all grew weary of it. And was annoyed by coverage about going dancing one evening. I can’t fully understand why anyone would want to be a politician so don’t blame her.

My outside WAG - what she faced was avoiding what China is now experiencing. Isolation and suppression of Covid can buy time but then the time has to used, to implement an exit strategy, to get a population widely vaccinated with effective vaccines. China failed to use that time that way and therefore is facing a bad time now; she oversaw using that time to get the job done, despite pushback and public fatigue.

In any case those who care about leading as service rather than as power for its own sake should recognize when the job is burning them out and step back.

She may be one of those few both interested in leading as service and with that self awareness.

Ignorant outsider view.

With many issues it is impossible to please everyone. Her problems were the initial benefit of isolation and a perception more use could have been made of that time once everyone started getting it anyway. Your view might be outside, but is not really ignorant.

I think this could well be true.

There is no such thing as a perpetual pandemic. That is not how the world works, and that is not how language works. Covid quit being a pandemic several months ago. It is now ENDEMIC, just like the flu, the common cold, and any number of other contagious diseases that flare up periodically.

I didn’t see the word “perpetual” anywhere in Bear’s quote.

Really? Want to tell WHO that? Maybe this Wiki page needs an edit, while you’re about it? Certainly this part:

In December 2022, WHO chief Tedros Ghebreyesus said that the death toll was still too high, but that “we have come a long way. We are hopeful that at some point next year, we will be able to say that Covid-19 is no longer a global health emergency.”

Because December 2022 isn’t “several months ago” in my timezone.

Firstly, I must acknowledge Banquet_Bear for taking a not inconsiderable time and effort to reply to my… polemic.

Secondly, I feel an apology is due - because I have perhaps signalled an intent to debate New Zealand government policy when it was not really my intent to do so. I imagine the number of people on this board who follow NZ politics closely enough, and who wish to debate it will find local forums better for that purpose.

Another reason for my reticence is that I’ve already made my case on one particular issue: the Three Waters legislation. To put this in context, I held a reasonably senior role at Auckland Council a few years ago, involved with both Treasury and Governance, and have been appalled at the lack of any business case offered for what amounts to the forced nationalisation of water infrastructure. I wrote to the then-Auckland mayor, Phil Goff (a previous Labour leader, as I’m sure you know) and his reply reassured me that his own view was very similar. That’s the representative of about a third of New Zealanders. The wider opposition from many other local councils focuses on cost and accountability, and the best summary of the opposite case may be found here:


On another issue, health, I’m living through this as I work for Te Whatu Ora Health New Zealand, so am very familiar with it. Prior to the disestablishment of the country’s twenty district Health Boards, I attended a talk by Prof. Des Gorman, who has a considerable international reputation as an expert on health reform. Sorry, I don’t have a link to that, but the takeaway message was that it amounted to a bureaucratic shuffling that won’t solve anything. Another expert opinion you may consider is Ian Powell, a doctor who represented the Union of Salaried Medical Specialists. He’s collaborated with Heather Roy (ex- ACT Deputy Leader) on a series of articles laying out the flaws in the new system and why the timing is wrong. His blog is here:
Ian Powell - blog

Those two issues aside, the main point I was trying to make (admittedly rather clumsily since I wasn’t especially calm when I was posting) was that Jacinda Ardern has been polarising in this country, and has stirred up a lot of hate against her. People overseas don’t see that much, as she is very skilled in managing her image. And speaking from the political opposite position to Labour, I consider her to have been rather ‘lightweight’ and ineffective in delivery, and too willing to give in to a radical Maori caucus. To back that up, I’ll cite Chris Trotter - a well-known Left-wing political commentator:


The prospect of arguing her caucus, her party, and a good chunk of her electoral base into abandoning Labour’s commitment to the radical decolonisation project of its Māori caucus was simply too big an ask for Ardern – so she quit.

In summary, I simply wanted to offer a counter-view to non-New Zealanders that showed that Jacinda Ardern hasn’t been the perfect leader that they might have supposed. I should though, have acknowledged that the vitriol hurled at her, especially since Covid, is abhorrent. It saddens and embarrasses me that there are people in this beautiful country who wish harm on her.

I’ll close by saying that Jacinda Ardern is a remarkable person: to have turned around a failing political party so soon before the 2017 election, and to have managed multiple crises as well as improving our global status are all significant accomplishments. I sincerely hope she now gets to enjoy her family.

Well, somebody’s definitely been stirring up a lot of hate against Ardern, but I’m not sure the “look what you made me do” victim-blaming is an accurate description.

Ardern has been ISTM (and as you also acknowledge) a responsible and law-abiding politician who’s done a pragmatically good job of coping with a number of uniquely difficult crises in NZ. That doesn’t mean that anybody is required to agree with any of her particular policy positions or ideological stances. But it does mean that when massive numbers of right-wingers respond to her actions with outright vicious contumely and hatred, that’s on them for being rabid uncivilized assholes, not on her for being “polarising”.

Agreed, and IMHO that acknowledgement should include refraining from implying that she personally is responsible for her enemies’ abhorrent behavior.

:: reads my post again ::

…it appears that I never said anything about a “perpetual pandemic.” Can you point out where I said anything about a perpetual pandemic?

We are still in a pandemic phase. Some people and some places have declared that Covid is now endemic, but that isn’t the consensus, and that isn’t the case where I live. We had more people die in any single month last year compared to the entire first two years of the pandemic. Heck: typically, more died in a week than the first two years.

Attributing words to me that I never ever said is not how reasonable discourse works. Please stop doing that.


You are entitled to share your opinion. But I’ll continue to take my updates on the state of the pandemic from our Ministry of Health, thanks.

The “business case” is the same as it was for Te Whatu Ora. But with Three Waters the case is even stronger. Water management is currently largely in the hands of 67 local councils who, unlike the DHB’s, have a significantly lower incentive to prioritize water management, lower levels of expertise, working at the whims of the local voters who often don’t take local council issues seriously.

For those interested, here’s a background on Three Waters.

Professor Des Gorman, among other things is an Adjunct Senior Fellow with the New Zealand Initiative.


As you can see from the profile photos, diversity isn’t one of the New Zealand Initiative’s strengths. They were formed when the NZ Business Roundtable and the New Zealand Institute merged. They are the NZ version of the Heritage Foundation. They are conservative, pro 'free market", support the “social investment” approach to social policy, and deregulation.

So any “reputation” as an expert on health reform needs to be seen in that light. He was an outlier among experts on Covid, and the go-to person for the media when they wanted someone on the record to disagree with the government. Here are some of his views on the healthcare system:

No thanks, Professor Gorman. I don’t want this at all.

One of the reasons why I carefully de-constructed your post was because the actual things that the Prime Minister has actually done are in reality completely different to the things that have “stirred up a lot of hate against her.”

None of the hate has any basis in reality. She didn’t “stir any of this up.”

Some numbers:

Nothing that the Prime Minister has said or done deserves this. I didn’t even vote for Labour at the last election (I gave my party vote Green).

It needs to be recognized that this didn’t happen by accident. Note the part that I bolded: that the “quantity of posts collected increased markedly from late 2021.”

This is congruent with the research done by the Disinformation Project which reported their findings late 2021.

We didn’t suddenly become polarised at the end of 2021. There was a deliberate, well funded, targeted disinformation campaign. The occupation of parliament didn’t come out of nowhere.

I mean, there isn’t much “image management” going on here. Ardern is just very good at her job. She knows her stuff. She knows the policy back-to-front which means that journalists struggle to catch her out, and she doesn’t have to resort to talking points to get her out of trouble. She also displays remarkable empathy, especially in times of crisis, and all of that stands out. When these things are empirically true, you don’t need to worry about image management.

“The left” have disowned Chris Trotter a long time ago. He isn’t progressive. He’s a reactionary old man yelling at the kids on his lawn. He’s a contributing writer for the Platform for goodness sakes. (The Platform is a dark-funded “anti-cancel culture anti-woke” kinda Fox News lite)

This is the kind-of reactionary stuff that Trotter writes these days.

Trotter doesn’t largely doesn’t represent the “views of the left” any more, he represents the views of the “embittered”.

Well, to speak to the Disinformation Project, I’d agree that there’s been a coordinated effort by a very vocal minority (Link to RNZ article) that appears driven by the ‘ultra-right, anti-vax’ crowd you describe.

However, IMHO it’s too easy to lump all opposition in with that crowd. Recent Groundswell protests were a case in point, where organisers pleaded with people to stay on message, and didn’t want the kind of ‘Jacinda=Evil’ placards to turn out. If the media then report (truthfully) that the crowds included that sort of person, the entire protest becomes tarred with the same brush.

I’m going to bow out here, since we’re poles apart politically and this thread isn’t really about health or infrastructure. It’s about a popular politician. And I think I have at least set out for non-New Zealanders some reasons why Jacinda Ardern left office with a net unfavourable rating from pollsters, why Labour’s new leader has been so quick to distance the Government from many of the policies that she was enacting, and why the recent local government elections (and two by-elections) swung Right as much as they did.

…a “vocal minority” isn’t a fair characterization of what your cite talks about.

That’s a staggering amount of mis+dis-information that had a staggeringly large reach. The fact that we are only talking about “dozen local Facebook accounts at the heart of it” makes it even worse.

But I didn’t even mention Groundswell. They aren’t a “case in point.” I’ve got plenty to say about Groundswell but I won’t, unless you bring them up again. But nothing I’ve said has anything to do with them at all. I’m talking about the data, which shows a significant rise in disinformation at the end of 2021, which had lead to a significant rise in misogynistic and hateful discourse surrounding the Prime Minister, that ultimately lead to the occupation of Parliament last year. You can’t dismiss that as “being tarred with the same brush.”

Remember when you said this?

I responded with this:

I keep a close eye on stories like these to see where they come from. They have their genesis from stories like this:

Dr Muriel Newman was a member of the ACT Party and served in parliament from 1996 to 2005. I’ve met here. I served her. Seems like a nice person.

But what she is writing here is conspiratorial gibberish. Its nonsense. The Labour Māori caucus is not radical. They are relatively centrist compared to their colleagues in the Green Party and the Māori Party.

And so these stories about “Māori supremacists” are laundered and given legitimacy by organizations with names like “the New Zealand Centre for Political Research” and they end up on your uncle’s Facebook page, and your cousin’s Telegram where layers of racism and misogyny get added, then it spreads, and all of a sudden the Prime Minister has a net unfavourable rating.

Its no secret about how this happened. The data is out there. The obvious disinformation is everywhere. You very first post here in this thread was essentially a bullet-by-bullet point presentation of the classic talking points in circulation at the moment.

The problem is its very easy to say things like “Jacinda reorganised the entire national health system (during a pandemic! ) and added a whole new Maori Health service!”

But it’s much more difficult (and took me hours of research) to show just how wrong this is. When the zone gets flooded, its very hard to dig your way out.

And besides that: I personally think favorability ratings are nonsense. But even if we accept it: this was the first time she had slipped into negative since she was elected, the Prime Minster was on -1%, but the Leader of the Opposition was also on -1%, so they were both as “bad” as each other.

Which policies has Hipkins been quick to distance the Government from? Can you be specific? Perhaps with a quote?

I mean: are you laying the blame for the local government elections at the feet of the Prime Minister now? Since when has that been a thing? I don’t think it’s the PM’s fault that Auckland decided to vote in Wayne Brown. I think Aucklanders should take responsibility for that.

As for the by-elections: Hamilton West was always going to be a shit-show thanks to Sharma, and prior to 2020 the seat had been National’s since 2008. It’s a swing seat. It swung. As for Tauranga? Its been a National seat ever since they dethroned the kingmaker in 2005. Absolutely nobody was surprised when Uffindell won Bridge’s old seat.

I suppose I should be flattered that you took that much time. I certainly can’t maintain that level of commitment to the tangential issues here, which is why I said I was bowing out.

I don’t think you need bother; ISTM that Banquet_Bear undertook that task in the general cause of fighting ignorance rather than as a mark of special regard for your post.

Certainly there is no obligation on any Doper to spend any more time than they choose posting on any particular issue in SDMB forums. But if two posters are trying, as you claim, to “set out some reasons” behind some current political developments for the benefit of less-informed foreigners, and one poster is more careful than the other about sources and details, naturally the more careful poster is going to end up using more time for the task.

Canadians, on the whole, are nice people who grew up in the shadow of American culture and sometimes spend time worrying about how they are perceived. A tabloid article on Canada anywhere in the world will be endlessly dissected by our domestic media.

Our current prime minister Trudeau, has many positive attributes and many flaws. When he was newer on the scene, he had a lot of positive coverage in the foreign press for his idealism, relative youth and progressive-sounding ideas. These sometimes were not followed through on, could seem insincere or hypocritical in certain situations, took the place of more substantial priorities, or just did not work well in practice. I still like Trudeau. But I wonder if he has some similarities with Ardern - foreigners might only hear or overrepresent the good things, or lack a nuanced view.

You’re probably correct here.

Another similarity might be that the right-wing hates Trudeau with the passion of a thousand burning suns. and will turn ANY conversation around to this topic. They use black and white thinking too… If you don’t hate him too, then you must LOOOOOOVEEEE him. There is no middle ground.

Sounds like there is a contingent in NZ who think of Jacinda Ardern in much the same way.

…I think that this article by Giovanni Tiso provides the best summary of the Ardern legacy that I’ve read over the last few days.

So now Chris Hipkins is Prime Minister?

Do those in the know here expect him to be able to turn around Labour’s slide in the polls?

If the National Party does take over in October’s election what major policy direction changes would result?

…no idea, to be honest.

Its important to understand the political environment before the 2017 election. They had just been through four leaders, all of them slightly the same-shade-of-the-same as the other: Phill Goff, David Shearer, David Cunliffe, then Andrew Little. And Andrew Little was getting hammered in the polls. Little saw the writing on the wall and (like Ardern did now) rightly stepped down, Ardern took over and everything turned around.

Hipkins isn’t the sort of inspirational leader that Ardern was, but almost nobody out there is. He’s a “blokey bloke”, that is unoffensive enough and a sharp contrast to his political opposite, Luxon.

I think that taking Ardern “off the chessboard” will put a significant dent in the National Party’s strategy. They had been coasting along on dogwhistles and “anything but Jacinda” but this will force them to step up their game.

But I’m not going to predict this one. I’ve seen how quickly it can turn (both ways) and I think it could possibly turn quickly here.

I won’t pretend not to be biased, so I’ll just direct you to their website here:

Taxes, gangs, the economy and the cost of living crisis are their priorities.

The Labour Party platform is here:

A focus on a strong economy, housing, child poverty and climate change.