Jacinda Ardern
Country: New Zealand
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Jacinda Ardern

Jacinda Ardern, in full Jacinda Kate Laurell Ardern, (born July 26, 1980, Hamilton, New Zealand), New Zealand politician who in August 2017 became leader of the New Zealand Labour Party and then in October 2017, at age 37, became the country’s youngest prime minister in more than 150 years. The charismatic Jacinda Ardern gained fame by leading a struggling New Zealand Labour Party to a surprising victory in the 2017 parliamentary election. She earned a reputation as a “rock star” politician on the way to becoming New Zealand’s youngest prime minister in more than 150 years at age 37.

New-Zealand-Jacinda-Ardern

PC CREDIT: Labour's Jacinda Ardern is the next prime minister --- GETTY IMAGES

Early life and start in politics

The second of two daughters born to a Mormon family, Ardern spent her first years in Murupara, a small town best known as a centre of Maori gang activity, where seeing “children without shoes on their feet or anything to eat for lunch” inspired her to eventually enter politics. Her father—a career law-enforcement officer who later (2014) became the New Zealand government’s high commissioner to the island of Niue—moved his family to Morrinsville, southeast of Auckland on New Zealand’s North Island, where Ardern attended primary and secondary school. She matriculated to the University of Waikato in 1999. Even before earning a bachelor’s degree in Communication Studies (2001), Ardern began her association with the Labour Party. In 1999, at age 17, she joined the party and, with the help of an aunt, became involved in the reelection campaign of Harry Duynhoven, a Labour member of parliament (MP) in the New Plymouth district. Following graduation, Ardern became a researcher for another Labour MP, Phil Goff. That experience would lead to a position on the staff of Prime Minister Helen Clark, the second woman to hold New Zealand’s highest office and Ardern’s political hero and mentor. In 2005 Ardern embarked on an “overseas experience,” an extended—usually working—trip to Britain, which is a traditional rite of passage for the children of New Zealand’s middle and upper class. Instead of labouring in a London pub or warehouse and then touring the Continent, however, Ardern worked for two and a half years in the cabinet office of British Prime Minister Tony Blair, serving as an associate director for Better Regulation Executive with the primary responsibility of improving the ways in which local authorities interact with small businesses. In 2007 she was elected president of the International Union of Socialist Youth (IUSY), a position that took her to destinations such as Algeria, China, India, Israel, Jordan, and Lebanon. In 2008 Ardern was chosen as Labour’s candidate for MP of the Waikato district, a seat that historically had been beyond the party’s reach and that Ardern lost by some 13,000 votes. Nevertheless, she entered parliament as a list candidate. New Zealand’s mixed member proportional (MMP) election system allows candidates who run for a district seat also to be on a party’s list of candidates, from which 49 MPs are chosen in proportion to the number of votes received by their parties. At age 28 Ardern entered the House of Representatives as its youngest member. In her maiden speech she called for the introduction of compulsory instruction in the Maori language in New Zealand schools and she castigated the New Zealand government for what she characterized as its “shameful” response to climate change. In addition to being named Labour’s spokesperson for Youth Affairs, Ardern was appointed to the Regulations Review and the Justice and Electoral select committees.

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PC CREDIT: New Zealand's PM responded to a letter from an 11-year-old who wants her government to conduct dragon research--- GETTY IMAGES

In 2011 she ran for the seat representing Auckland Central that was held by another of New Zealand politics’ brightest young stars, Nikki Kaye of the New Zealand National Party, who was just five months older than Ardern. Kaye narrowly (717 votes) won the race, dubbed the “Battle of the Babes,” but once again Ardern returned to parliament as a well-placed list candidate. Ardern’s support for David Shearer in his successful quest for Labour leadership won her a high profile assignment as Social Development spokesperson. In 2014 Ardern once again faced off with Kaye for the Auckland Central seat, this time losing by only 600 votes. Nonetheless, ensconced at the number five position on Labour’s list, Ardern easily returned to parliament. Labour leader Andrew Little expanded her portfolio to include positions as spokesperson for Arts, Culture, and Heritage, Children, Justice, and Small Business. As Ardern’s political profile increased in prominence, the details of her personality and personal life became better known. Opposed to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ stand on homosexuality and same-sex marriage, Ardern became a lapsed Mormon. She gained notoriety by performing as a disc jockey. She was also involved in a romantic relationship with broadcast personality Clarke Gayford, who in 2016 became the host of Fish of the Day, a part-fishing, part-travel television program that took him to exotic island locales throughout the Pacific. Ardern bridled at media attention to her physical attractiveness, characterized herself as an “acceptable nerd,” and described her approach to life as “relentlessly positive.”

Ardern becomes party leader

In 2017 Ardern registered a landslide victory in the parliamentary by-election for the vacant seat representing the solidly Labour district of Mount Albert in Auckland. When Labour’s deputy leader, Annette King, announced her resignation, Ardern was unanimously elected as her replacement. Meanwhile, as the general parliamentary election scheduled for September 2017 approached, Labour’s showing in preference polling was abysmal. Even after some nine consecutive years with the National Party in power, there was seemingly little interest among voters in trying Labour Party rule. A pair of polls in July found Labour Party support to be less than 25 percent—some 6 percent worse than the party’s standing in a June polling. With fewer than two months left before the election, Little stepped down as leader but not before securing Ardern’s pledge to stand as his replacement (reportedly, she refused seven times before agreeing). Running unopposed, Ardern was elected leader on August 1.

The 2017 election of Jacinda Ardern

Thus began a spirited sprint by Ardern to replace the National Party’s Bill English as prime minister. Her charismatic optimism, strength, and down-to-earth charm quickly energized voters—especially women and the young—and, in response, Labour’s preference polling numbers climbed. In terms of the issues, Ardern called for free university education, reductions in immigration, decriminalization of abortion, and the creation of new programs to alleviate poverty among children. More broadly, she promised a “fairer deal” for the marginalized. As “Jacindamania” swept the country, pundits began characterizing Ardern as a “rock star” politician in the mode of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and former U.S. president Barack Obama. She also became something of a feminist icon after her response to an interviewer’s question about whether she planned to have children. Initially, Ardern said that she had no problem answering the question. The next day, however, when another interviewer implied that employers had a right to know whether prospective female employees planned on taking time off from work to have children, Ardern responded much more forcefully: I decided to talk about it, it was my choice…, but for other women it is totally unacceptable in 2017 to say that women should have to answer that question in the workplace. It is the woman’s decision about when they choose to have children. It should not predetermine whether or not they are given a job or have job opportunities. English accused Ardern of lacking foreign policy experience and encouraged voters to look beyond the “stardust” she spread. In the event, the National Party was the biggest vote getter, winning some 46 percent of the total (excluding special votes), and Labour’s share was about 36 percent. Based on those results, the National Party stood to hold 58 seats and Labour 45 seats, not enough for either to attain a majority, even with the Green Party’s seven seats in support of a Labour government. When the special votes (those cast by New Zealanders who were overseas or who had registered to vote on polling day) were tallied, Labour and the Green Party each gained a seat at the expense of the National Party.

Premiership
Forming a coalition government

All of this left the centre-right New Zealand First Party, which won nine seats, in the kingmaker role. New Zealand First’s 72-year-old leader, Winston Peters, kept the country in suspense for weeks as he negotiated with both the National Party and Labour over New Zealand First’s potential participation in a coalition government. Finally, on October 19, Peters went on national television to announce that he had chosen to go into a partnership with Labour that would be further dependent on “supply and confidence” support from the Greens. “Far too many New Zealanders have come to view today’s capitalism not as their friend but as their foe,” Peters said in announcing his intention to govern with Labour. Ardern found out at the same time as the rest of the country that she was about to become its 40th prime minister, and she was sworn in on October 26. In June 2018 Ardern gave birth to her first child, a girl. She thus became the first leader of a country in nearly 30 years to give birth while in office.

The March 2019 mosque attacks in Greater Christchurch

In March 2019 Ardern was called upon to lead and comfort her country in the wake of what she characterized as one of its “darkest days,” after an attack on a mosque in central Christchurch and another on a mosque in suburban Linwood during midday prayers on March 15 resulted in the loss of at least 50 lives and injuries to about 50 other individuals. In both cases the assailant allegedly was a 28-year-old white supremacist Australian national who had posted a 74-page anti-immigrant manifesto on social media immediately prior to beginning his attack with assault rifles and shotguns. Before he was apprehended by police, the gunman—who had streamed the attack on the first mosque on Facebook, apparently using a head-mounted camera—had killed 42 people at the first mosque and another 8 at the second, some 3 miles (5 km) away. According to his rambling hate-filled manifesto, the alleged assailant had come to New Zealand specifically to undertake the attacks to highlight that even a place as remote as New Zealand suffered from “mass immigration.” The anti-immigrant motivation for the attacks was especially jolting in a country with a reputation for welcoming immigrants. Indeed, Ardern had recently announced that in 2020 New Zealand would be increasing the number of immigrants it accepted annually from 1,000 to 1,500. Ardern labeled the assault a “terrorist attack.” In addressing the country, she said of New Zealand, We were not a target because we are a safe harbour for those who hate. We were not chosen for this act of violence because we condone racism, because we are an enclave for extremism. We were chosen for the very fact that we are none of these things—because we represent diversity, kindness, compassion, a home for those who share our values, refuge for those who need it. She then called for changes to New Zealand’s gun laws, a statement that appeared to meet with broad approval in a country where gun ownership was widespread.

White Island (Whakaari) tragedy, coronavirus pandemic response, and election to a second term

Ardern’s compassionate but strong response to the mosque attacks earned her praise from around the world, as would her calm, measured reaction when tragedy again befell the country, in December 2019, after a volcanic explosion on remote White Island (Whakaari) claimed 21 lives. At the time of the eruption, 47 people (adventure tourists and guides) were on the uninhabited island. The image of Ardern comforting first responders with hugs became iconic. Notwithstanding the positive perception abroad of Ardern’s leadership, many New Zealanders appeared to be less than satisfied with the prime minister’s record on tackling housing shortages and child poverty, issues that she had pledged to address. As a result the parliamentary election called for September 2020 promised to be a close one. The dynamics of the election were changed, however, by the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic that swept the world, beginning early in 2020. Ardern and her government took a “go hard and go early” approach to the pandemic, responding fast and forcefully by halting foreign visitation to New Zealand in mid-March (becoming one of the first countries to close its borders in response to the global health threat) and imposing a strict nationwide lockdown when just over 100 cases of COVID-19 (the disease produced by the virus) had been confirmed. In the process, the country’s tourism-dependent economy sustained a historically hard blow. GDP tumbled by more than 12 percent in the June 2020 quarter, the steepest quarterly decline in the recorded history of New Zealand’s economy. At the same time, however, this draconian public health response produced remarkable results, as New Zealand contained the outbreak quickly and thoroughly. By August the country had gone some 100 days without evidence of community spread of the virus. When cases were diagnosed in Auckland that month, the election was postponed until October, and the country was again locked down. But by the time of the election on October 17, however, the virus was again contained, having been limited to about 2,000 cases overall to date, with only 25 deaths nationwide. Mask-wearing and social distancing requirements were removed. Ardern had skillfully overseen the country’s successful response to the pandemic with a combination of science-driven hard-line policies and a deft human touch that included casual empathetic online appearances and a promise to children that the Easter Bunny and Tooth Fairy would be treated as essential workers and allowed to continue to perform their jobs. Voters rewarded Ardern by handing her a landslide victory. Having captured some 49 percent of the vote, Labour had its best showing at the polls in a half century and stood to become the first party since the introduction of proportional representation in 1993 to be able to form a majority government without a coalition partner. Nevertheless, the Green Party, which had been part of Ardern’s ruling coalition, increased its share of the vote from 6 percent in the last election to 8 percent in that one. All of this came at the expense of the opposition National Party, which fell from 44 percent of the vote in the 2017 election to 27 percent. In her victory speech, Ardern reached out to all New Zealanders: We are living in an increasingly polarized world. A place where, more and more, people have lost the ability to see one another’s point of view. I hope that this election, New Zealand has shown that this is not who we are. That, as a nation, we can listen and we can debate. After all, we are too small to lose sight of other people’s perspective. Jeff Wallenfeldt

Jacinda Ardern and ‘Feminine’ Leadership
Why we should reclaim Feminine Leadership Behaviours as Everyone’s Leadership Behaviours

This year, we watched a woman leader show something not often associated with leadership — Empathy. We saw Jacinda Ardern, the Prime Minister of New Zealand, respectfully mourn the terrorist attacks in her country. And she did it in all the ways that a ‘macho man’ wouldn’t — she didn’t talk about ‘striking back’, she didn’t wave her fists in the air as a show of strength. Instead, she got down to business to pass gun laws and refused to give the attacker attention. But why is this obviously praise-worthy behaviour considered so unusual? What do people expect from leaders? For the everyday person like you and me, we probably think of a ‘leader’ as someone who is confident, decisive, assertive and hard. Strong-man leadership is all the rage these days The softer, kinder characteristics that Arden demonstrated were very feminine, ones we see rarely due to the lack of female leaders around us. But these aggressive characteristics are more often associated with men. Numerous research studies have shown that we still hold a double standard with everyday female leaders. The same assertive behaviour in males that is seen as positive and strong, is seen as negative and bossy in women. Women have to fight harder to be seen as leaders, even when they have the same approach and ideas as men.

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PC CREDIT: New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern (File photo) Photograph:( Reuters )

The thing is, many ‘feminine’ characteristics such as empathy and understanding are actually very effective for strong leadership. Despite this, these traits are not associated with it. Because these traits are traditionally feminine, they are not automatically assumed to be leadership traits because women are not traditionally considered leaders. This just shows you the power of gender associations in distorting our views. This is detrimental to us overall — because we have such strong associations between men and leadership, we fail to see where feminine characteristics can lead to great results. And the effect is bad for male leaders as well — male leaders who seek help are more likely to be seen poorly, while women leaders are expected to seek help. Seeking help is an important part of leadership, where collaboration and supportive environmental lead to better results and cohesion, but men are judged for doing it.

Why even have ‘masculine’ and ‘feminine’ labels?

But let’s get to the real issue here — why are we even associating certain leadership behaviours as feminine or masculine? In today’s world, we are more aware than ever of the difference between sex and gender — sex is our biology, gender is the roles and behaviours we impart on each other because of what society says is normal for our sex. So why do traits need to be masculine or feminine? And this is where I come back to Jacinda Ardern — in the media’s discussion of her behaviour, there is a lot of conversation around women’s leadership styles. But, I think this discourse misses the point — the fact is, in today’s world, most of the leaders ARE men. Why should we wait for them to be replaced by women before we start seeing improved leadership? Instead, let’s focus on these behaviours themselves and disassociate them from gender. Let’s teach EVERYONE empathy, kindness and respect, and the willingness to listen. Rather than labelling these as feminine and isolating future and current male leaders, let’s hold them to the same standard of behaviour.

Changing our expectations around leaders starts with you

Within your workplace, your school, your communities, try and see which leaders are showing the most effective mix of leadership traits, both ‘masculine’ and ‘feminine’, and see beyond the gender. Are they assertive when they need to stand up for something they believe in? But are they also empathetic and take the time to understand? Are they staunch in their ideals and show integrity? Do they also show emotion to reflect what their followers are feeling? Teach these leadership qualities to both genders, and see where the next generation of leaders will take us: Honesty, charisma, communication, empathy, integrity, forethought, dedication and passion. Leadership shouldn’t be gender-bound.

Outstanding Achievements

Jacinda Ardern’s greatest achievement In making it a full term with New Zealand First without her own party suffering, Jacinda Ardern has succeeded where other prime ministers have failed, Liam Hehir writes What is Jacinda Ardern’s greatest achievement in the realm of party politics? Is it breaking the 60 percent barrier for party support in opinion polls? Is it seeing off Bill English, Simon Bridges and Todd Muller, while being well on her way to defeating Judith Collins?

No. The Prime Minister is poised to achieve an even unlikelier feat. In defiance of New Zealand political history, Ardern has shared government with New Zealand First and come out of it undamaged. Going into coalition with the party spelled the end of the fourth National government. Unhappy with how things with its junior coalition partner were working out, National transport minister Jenny Shipley staged a coup against Prime Minister Jim Bolger. Winston Peters was sacked from Cabinet shortly thereafter. In the 1999 election, New Zealand First received less than five percent of the vote and only survived by dint of Peters winning the seat of Tauranga, National limped into the 1999 election with just over 30 percent of the vote. Labour took over the reins of power. The second time around, New Zealand First had attached itself to Labour. This was quite surprising, in a way, because Helen Clark had ruled out working with Peters in 2002. However, a rapprochement occurred around 2004 over the foreshore and seabed issue with the parties working together to extinguish potential Maori land rights. From that time, New Zealand First came to be seen as a member of the centre-left political party family in New Zealand. In 2005, it agreed to give confidence and supply to Labour. Peters became foreign minister and racing minister.

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PC CREDIT: Helen Clark and Jim Bolger both suffered at the hands of coalition with Winston Peters and New Zealand First. Photo: RNZ/Elliott Childs.

Helen Clark and Jim Bolger both suffered at the hands of coalition with Winston Peters and New Zealand First. Photo: RNZ/Elliott Childs. It all came a cropper, you may remember, over questions about donations from figures like Owen Glenn, the Vela family and Sir Bob Jones. Despite Labour giving all the protection to Peters that it reasonably could, he ended up being censured by Parliament and stepping down amid a Serious Fraud Office investigation (in which, it has to be noted, he was subsequently cleared). The bitter taste of those matters was a factor in the final loss of confidence voters had in the Clark government. The New Zealand First vote tanked once more and this time it was out of Parliament altogether. National re-captured the Treasury benches. The party was back in 2011. In the years that followed, it continue to grow closer to Labour. The convergence was most clear when Labour chose to scapegoat Chinese people for the unaffordable costs of housing and undertook a variety of other questionable stands that we would more typically associate with New Zealand First. Then Ardern became leader. Campaigning as an inspirational progressive and liberal internationalist, the immigrant bashing had to stop and its legacy was promptly shoved down the memory hole. There was no repudiation of Peters, however, and after he chose to install Ardern as prime minister after the 2017 vote, they have enjoyed co-governance of these islands for the last three years. The usual thing has happened, and New Zealand First and those associated with it have been the source of much embarrassment for the government. Cabinet ministers from the party have made injudicious and sometimes xenophobic comments. Something called the New Zealand First Foundation was investigated by the Serious Fraud Office after documents outlining its finances were deposited for journalists in a skip bin, and last week we learned that charges are being laid.

Government with New Zealand First was once thought to be a Faustian bargain: you get three years but face destruction at the end of it. It seems, however, that this only applies to long-lived governments.

Amid all of this and the usual fallout from non-delivery of key promises made at the last election, the party is facing very long odds of re-election. At this point, it would take a miracle. That is, of course, as expected. And yet somehow, despite everything, none of this has tarnished Ardern. She hasn’t made any moves to sack or effectively discipline New Zealand First MPs in her cabinet. Peters will, by all indications, serve a full parliamentary term as a minister. The prime minister refused to criticise him in last week’s Newshub debate. How has this happened? Government with New Zealand First was once thought to be a Faustian bargain: you get three years but face destruction at the end of it. It seems, however, that this only applies to long-lived governments. When New Zealand First went with National in 1996 and Labour in 2005, it bailed out existing governments that were already exhausted. The patience of the voting public was already frayed and the subsequent scandals only helped convince them that a time for a change was needed. Voters are, of course, much more willing to give the benefit of the doubt to first-term governments. So while voters might be willing to let Ardern skate on the current issues with New Zealand First, they may not be so patient if they continue to drag on into the next term and beyond. That assumes, of course, that the party is around to figure in the equation at all. Which, the Prime Minister will be pleased to have noted, is not a sound assumption to make. Jacinda Ardern turns 40. Here are just some of her massive achievements to date At 37, Jacinda Ardern became the world’s youngest head of state in 2017, as New Zealand’s Prime Minister. Over the weekend and a little less than three years later, the latest Newshub polls indicate record approval ratings for Ardern’s Labour party. The results came in on the same day that Ardern turned 40, and they are recorded as Ardern’s leadership is being recognised internationally. Birthday celebrations are being marked by a number creative means. Block Vandal, a Wainuiomata street artist, painted a Lego-styled image of the Prime Minister on a Lower Hutt retaining wall in the Wellington Region in NZ. He took a picture of his work and posted it on social media with a caption: “Happy Birthday Jacinda. Hope you had a great day with your family!” Ardern’s face now accompanies a dozen other Lego faces of superheroes including Batman, Wonder Woman and The Incredible Hulk. To mark this significant birthday milestone from one of the world’s most celebrated leaders, we’re taking a look at just some her incredible achievements since taking the role.

She became the second female state leader to have a baby in office, and challenged expectations

On 21 June 2018, less than a year into her tenure as PM, Ardern became the first sitting New Zealand PM to give birth and the second female state leader to do so in the world, when her daughter Neve Te Aroha Ardern Gayford was born. “I’m sure we’re going through all of the emotions new parents go through, but at the same time feeling so grateful for all the kindness and best wishes from so many people,” Ardern has said. Ardern had announced her pregnancy on social media, saying, “ I’ll be PM & a mum.” Since then, she has transformed public assumptions about women in leadership. The transparency she offers the world (frequently posting videos, updates and news on social media abodut her role as a parent) has been a welcomed relief from the traditionally opaque obscurity into the private lives of our politicians. Six weeks after the birth of her daughter, Ardern posted a Facebook Live video about her time off from her duties as a PM and settling into life with new baby daughter, Neve. During the stream, Ardern revealed that the family is “doing really well,” but laughingly acknowledges she and partner, Clarke Gayford have “no routine to speak of”. “I can hear now a chorus of parents laughing at the suggestion that you would ever have a routine with a five-week old baby but we’re doing really well nonetheless,” the Prime Minister joked.

She eliminated COVID-19 in her country

In late April, Ardern announced that there was no longer any undetected community transmission of COVID-19 and that her country had effectively “eliminated” the virus, with health authorities aware of and able to trace each current case. “We have done it together,” Ardern said in a press conference on Monday afternoon, just hours before the country began a phased exit from Level 4 lockdown measures. “There is no widespread undetected community transmission in New Zealand. We have won that battle. But we must remain vigilant if we are to keep it that way,” she said. A short while after, New Zealand has since lifted all COVID-19 restrictions except for international border closures, meaning New Zealanders’ lives can return to normal, or “as normal as we can in the time of a global pandemic.”

She became the first world leader to bring baby to the UN general assembly and challenged more expectations

Ardern made headlines in 2018 when she brought her daughter into a UN speech after she brought her daughter into a UN General Assembly in New York. On the global reaction, she said at the time: “I love that people have shared in this joy with us, and that’s been because I have a really public role and so I accept that means that our family life will be quite public… But at the same time, I’ve chosen a public life, Neve hasn’t.” Ardern appeared with her three-month-old daughter at the UN and was seen playing with her before giving a speech at the Nelson Mandela peace summit. Ardern told reporters that her partner’s expenses were paid for out of her own pocket; later, her partner posted a photo on Twitter on Monday of their daughters’ security pass, which reads “first baby, adding “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. Great yarn for her 21st (birthday).”

She banned military-style semi-automatics less than a month after Christchurch shootings

Ardern received universal praise for her leadership in the aftermath of the Christchurch shooting, where an alt-right white suprematist killed 51 people and injured 49 in two mosques. Ardern refused to name the Christchurch terrorist attacker in her public addresses: saying, “I implore you: Speak the names of those who were lost, rather than the name of the man who took them. He may have sought notoriety, but we in New Zealand will give him nothing, not even his name.” Just six days after the shootings, Ardern announced gun control measures to ban all types of semi-automatic weapons. “On 15 March [the day of the attack] our history changed forever,” she said. “Now our laws will too. We are announcing action today on behalf of all New Zealanders to strengthen our gun laws and make our country a safer place.”

She became the first NZ PM to march in an LGBTQ+ Pride event

In February 2018, Ardern was the first ever NZ PM to march in a Pride parade. She joined a crowd of more than 25,000 in Auckland that called for more support for LGBTI people with mental illness. Ardern told TVNZ that the parade was about diversity and inclusiveness. “I’m really proud of the work the team has done to make that real over the years and in our laws.” “But we can’t be complacent. As long as there are kids in New Zealand, if they are LGBTQI, if they have high levels of mental health issues or self harm, that tells us that we still have work to do.”

She pledged to to provide period products to all girls

Earlier this year, Ardern made a public commitment to end “period poverty” by giving all school-aged people who have periods free sanitary products. Access to sanitary products and to safe, hygienic spaces in which to use them is not equally distributed – and Ardern wanted that changed. “By making them freely available, we support these young people to continue learning at school,” she told reporters. “We know that nearly 95,000 nine-to-eighteen year olds may stay at home during their periods due to not being able to afford period products.” She promised to spend NZ$2.6m on a scheme that would provide free sanitary products (aka tampons, pads, menstrual cups, etc) to schools in an effort to tackle period poverty. As NZ heads to the polls on September 19, things are looking positive and certain for this incredible leader. Despite the promising poll figures, Ardern told Newstalk ZB Breakfast host Mike Hosking that she always keeps a “healthy skepticism around polls”. “We will never be complacent, a lot can change very quickly,” she said. “We know that we have to continue everyday to earn the support of New Zealanders.”

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