Jacinda Ardern’s partner is not going to have it easy. Media and police activism.
In the gossip circles of a basically close-knit mainstream media, it was reported some time back that unpleasant rumours were swirling about the Prime Minister’s partner. It was called “an unprecedented assault of baseless rumour and false innuendo.” Toxic gossip is not new in these circles. Who can forget the tragic case of the beautiful Charlotte Dawson, a media celebrity in New Zealand which she fled for Australia later, saying that she was “savaged” as a celebrity living in this country? “New Zealand is small and nasty and vindictive. It’s a tiny little village…a tiny country at the end of the year,” she said. Her death by suicide shocked so many – as it should have.
The relevant question is, was she right? Who would deny that the political scene is a toxic one with the jostling for power and ambition underpinning many of the rumours that surface – very often never reaching the public at large, but gaining currency in the media in-groups. The latter have now become equally as little respected – so much so that politicians and the mass media are near the bottom of the least-trusted occupations. This is tough on those journalists who do try to write with integrity against the tide of the times, including some well worth respect. That they are apparently now in a minority makes it harder for them.
No doubt the Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Clarke Gayford will have a tough road ahead – even disregarding the media rumour mill. New Zealanders will wish her well, with the imminent arrival of her baby. However, paralleling the usual corresponding euphoria which surrounds any “progressive” celebrities, many New Zealanders have been troubled by Arden’s decision to prioritise her own career over what they see as the best interests of a baby…whose primary caregiver, for very good reason, has traditionally been regarded as its mother. By no means isolated comment also maintains she should have let the country know, before the election, that she was pregnant.
However, there is little doubt that Labour’s strategists would have known that if the country knew before the election that its leader was carrying a baby, many would have been concerned – wondering if a vote for her, in such a demanding job, was in the best interests of the child – let alone for the Prime Minister herself.
We cannot but be aware that many solo mothers have a far more demanding life than those with a husband to support them. Where a deliberate decision has been made for someone in Jacinda Arden’s position to not marry the father of her child, questions are asked. The liberal views of so many self-congratulatory but under-informed media are by no means, as so many journalists seem to take for granted, reflected back by the far more conservative country at large. Memories are surfacing of the younger political Ardern, steeped deep in socialist doctrine, choosing to use the word Comrade…as well as of socialists’ contempt for the family unit, regarding marriage contemptuously as a ”bourgeois” practice. But evidence overwhelmingly points to the presence of married parents, a mother and father, as in the best interests of the child.
Labour is very much a minority government, attracting only 37% of the vote. It cannot claim to have a mandate for some of the ill-thought directions on which it has now embarked, including the foolish clampdown on any further gas and oil exploration – moving into typical ideologically-motivated, deep Green territory. Disgracefully, vitally important decisions are being made behind the scenes by the coalition’s party hierarchy without even Cabinet involvement! Buying lock stock and barrel into the now massively discredited global warming theory is costing the country hugely in economic terms. Little wonder there is rising concern about its decision-making.
The media reporting which has so obligingly avoided any of these issues of concern out in the wider community has been interesting. Long-time journalist Barry Soper describes Clarke Gayford “as being in the social pages long before he’d ever hooked up with Ardern – “he was a man about town.” It’s a curious, almost Edwardian description, whose meaning is not clear. But it does highlight the fact that Mr Gayford, handed the role of primary caregiver for their child, is being asked to make a considerable sacrifice, very much limiting his career and social activities – as any mother in the same position could tell him. And how demanding a role it will be for Ms Ardern, juggling her initial few weeks away from Parliament while expecting to be in constant touch with what is happening. The question still stands, whether this demanding scenario is likely to be in the best interests of the baby – let alone the mother, in those very early days.
Interesting, too, is Barry Soper’s casual mention of the fact that he texted Ardern, outlining the rumours, suggesting she or her partner should address them, and offering them a media platform to do it. His comment that, “The only reply came from her press secretary, insisting that the rumours were false and she wouldn’t be commenting on them” sounded almost miffed – as if he was expecting the Prime Minister to be personally responding to him.
This is an interesting point, because I recall journalist friends taking for granted the fact that they had Prime Minister Helen Clark’s cellphone number and could reach her for direct comment. Reportedly this worked two ways – Clark could leak to chosen media statements she wished to go further. However, whether the preferential, two-way access of selected media to the leader of the country is appropriate is another issue.
This political journalist did make one very valid point when he said that it was a mistake for Police Superintendent Mike Bush to become involved by approving the statement denying that Gayford had been the subject of a police enquiry, and saying he’d never been charged in relation to any matter. In Soper’s words, “This simply stokes the rumour mill, and opens up the suggestion that the police have become politicised. It is unprecedented for the cops to become involved in what are unsubstantiated rumours. The question’s already been asked: Who requested the Police Commissioner’s involvement?”
However, it’s over late in the day to wonder whether or not the police have become politicised and partisan in their activities when we have evidence this is already the case. Equally, we have evidence that mainstream media, with now strong liberal Left leanings, are not only highly selective when publishing what takes their fancy, but now routinely suppress letters to the editor from correspondents when the content challenges their thinking – and their bias.
I’m waiting still for a reply from the Press Council – now many weeks overdue, which this august body has not yet even acknowledged receiving – even though it promises receipt of a formal complaint within two days. A follow-up enquiry has also been ignored. As I am familiar with two or three of the names on this council, I am not holding my breath in expectation of the response to which it is supposedly publicly committed. However, if my third enquiry continues to be ignored, then it will be time to check to whom the Press Council itself is answerable.
The are serious issues, questions of accountability, and the suppression by the Nelson Mail of the letters below some weeks back – and a follow-up enquiry made to this newspaper – is an important matter – because the content of these letters involves what Barry Soper is questioning – an arguably inappropriate police involvement in a highly politicised situation. Given the Fairfax media’s now quite blatant practice of featuring editorials and opinion pieces which allow no genuine consideration of those radicalised issues of the day which attack family values – and of refusing to publish letters legitimately expressing genuine concern, it is no wonder its newspapers are closing down all over the country.
“Dear Editor “For the police to publicly favour the “lesbian, gay, transgender, queer, intersex and questioning” movement now becoming confrontational and aggressive is quite shocking. Those warring with the biological fact of being born male are actively targeting and recruiting vulnerable children in schools, while demanding to share women’s and children’s toilets.
“Using the weasel excuse of “discrimination”, children are being prescribed pernicious “sex education” programmes detailing as perfectly acceptable what many consider abnormal – with the word “normal” now ridiculously regarded as “hate speech”. “
Under the banner of that other weasel word, “diversity”, police marched in the Auckland Pride campaign with rainbow colours on a police car. Individuals’ free choice must always be respected. But Police Commissioner Mike Bush’s partisan policy stance, offering recruitment support, is inappropriate and unacceptable. When have the police ever marched in a parade supporting Christian values, or any other of those core values underpinning our society?
“Canadian psychology Professor Jordan Peterson’s courageous confrontation of this destructive counterculture war, and of the moral relativism now flooding the West, is attracting capacity crowds. Commissioner Bush should reflect on the fact that among the loudest support from Jordan’s young audiences is for his appeal for the sanctity of marriage, and child-rearing.”
Although this letter makes important points –they are not ones which the majority of today’s journalists wish to hear. The Editor of the Nelson Mail is apparently no exception. Churchill’s very important reminder to “Never, ever, ever quit,” is one that too many, deeply concerned about what is happening to New Zealand, seem to have forgotten. Yet it is the key to winning back this country.
So I wrote again as below…although I by no means support the National Party – nor any political party for that matter, given the accumulative damage they have all caused to this country. Only by working toward what the clever Swiss have achieved, control of our politicians (www.100days.co.nz) so that New Zealanders themselves can make the decisions about our directions ahead, will we be able to mount an effective challenge to being ruled by today’s politburo. However, after a typically unbalanced editorial quite common now for this newspaper, I felt it was not good enough to walk away. Hence this follow-up.
“The Nelson Mail’s increasingly “liberal” editorials apparently take for granted the majority of the community feels the same. For example, you noted the new leader of the National Party, Simon Bridges, voted against same-sex marriage and opposes euthanasia. You reported he goes to church and his father was a Baptist Minister – (are we meant to recoil with horror?) – stating this puts him not only at odds with “the liberal faction”, but “potentially the momentum of popular opinion in this country and around the world”.
”It’s a leap too far. You offer no sound evidence to substantiate such an extravagant claim. Obviously the unpleasant targeting of those concerned about the worrying directions of the day – (particularly families and parents) – deters much feedback. So does the now common, bullying tactic of calling “homophobic” those who question abandoning the values so long stabilising our society. Many will not agree with the partisan stance inappropriately shown by the police hierarchy marching in the LGBTQIA parade in Auckland – nor with schools now offering programmes which disturb many children, confusing them about their sexual identity.
“Apparently encouraging “diversity” doesn’t extend to supporting genuine debate? And only extremist groups’ “cultural sensitivity” counts?”
Needless to say, this letter also did not get published. However, there are ways around this, and cancelling your support for any Stuff – Fairfax media publication to access local news and correspondence from other sources available is a very good strategy.
These are increasingly important issues for us all – and what is equally as important is the fact that the police hierarchy felt it appropriate to take a stand which must have made many individual police deeply uncomfortable. It’s time Commissioner Bush was indeed called upon to explain his inappropriate, apparently personal partisanship in relation to an issue causing so much concern to the wider community.
What are our prospects ahead, if we have a corrupt democracy and corrupt media? As Toby Young points out in a recent Spectator, “a lack of democratic accountability leads to the corruption of the political class”.
What democratic accountability do we have in this country, when, as West Coast MP Damien O’Connor recently stated, the decisions are made by the party hierarchy. Nick Smith also admitted, during the doggedly charming John Key’s tight-fisted control of his party that when the leader says jump, he asks how high…
MPs are supposed to represent their electorates – nobody believes this any more. MPs now largely do as they’re told. The corruption of the political class is apparently well under way in New Zealand.
While party politics controls the country, instead of New Zealanders themselves – the achievable way the Swiss have shown us – we’ll continue to pay a huge price for the basic incompetence and sheer ignorance underpinning so much of the decision-making we’ve been inflicted with is recent years. And look what it’s done to this country…
© Amy Brooke, Convenor, The 100 Days. See my book “100 Days – Claiming Back New Zealand …what has gone wrong, and how we can control our politicians.” Available through my BOOK Page at www.amybrooke.co.nz, or at Amazons Kindle.