Wellington, New Zealand –
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern was filmed on Tuesday using foul language at a rival politician on a hot mic, a blow to a leader known for his debating skills and calm, measured responses This is a rare mistake.
Ardern faces a tough election campaign in 2023 after five years as prime minister. Her Liberal Labor Party won re-election in a historic landslide two years ago, but recent opinion polls have shown her party trailing its conservative rivals.
The comments came after David Seymour, a lawmaker who leads the libertarian ACT party, asked Ardern questions about her government record for about seven minutes during parliamentary question time, allowing for a heated battle between rival parties. debate.
Narrated by deputy Grant Robertson, Ardern said something that sounded like “he’s such an arrogant PR…” after sitting down. Her words were barely audible on parliamentary television, but could only be heard in the background on her table microphone as House Speaker Adrian Rurawhe spoke.
Ardern’s office said she apologized to Seymour for the comment. Ardern’s office did not dispute the comment when The Associated Press sought clarification. In an interview with The Associated Press, Seymour said she used those words.
“I was absolutely shocked and surprised by her use of language,” Seymour said. “It’s very out of character for Jacinda, who I’ve known for 11 years.”
He said it was also ironic because the question he was asking the Prime Minister was whether she had ever admitted mistakes as a leader and then corrected them. “She couldn’t give an example when she admitted a mistake and apologized,” Seymour said.
Seymour said Ardern wrote in her text that she “apologised, she shouldn’t have made these comments and, as her mum said, if you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say it.”
Seymour, who said he greatly admired some of Ardern’s political skills, said he had written back to Ardern thanking her for her apology and wishing her a Merry Christmas.