*Shakes fist*

Emily Writes reports on a new and frankly upsetting twist on #TurnArdern

An exclusive interview with Steve McSteverson about his traumatic and tragic ordeal this week.

Many New Zealanders are struggling with the news that a children’s book not commissioned or authorised by Jacinda Ardern was advertised in a newsletter for children’s books. This horrific attack on New Zealanders whose ears are permanently fused to Magic Talk was compounded by the fact that a group of artists paid their own money to put up a piece of art featuring prime minister Jacinda Ardern.

The book in question, Taking the Lead: How Jacinda Ardern Wowed the World, is an illustrated book for children about – you guessed it – Jacinda Ardern, whose clear shortcomings involve not just being the prime minister of New Zealand but also a woman and young. It’s one of a series of books by David Hill and illustrator Phoebe Morris released under the Puffin Picture imprint by Penguin Random House, a publishing company not owned by the government and not funded by taxpayers.

The series is popular and critically acclaimed with a number of the titles named in the annual list of Storylines Notable Books. First to the Top, about Sir Edmund Hillary, won the 2016 Children’s Choice Award for non-fiction, while Sky High: Jean Batten’s Incredible Flying Adventures was a finalist for the Elsie Locke Award for Non-fiction. The pair also produced Hero of the Sea: Sir Peter Blake’s Mighty Ocean Quests, Speed King: Burt Munro the World’s Fastest Indian, and Dinosaur Hunter: Joan Wiffen’s Awesome Fossil Discoveries. 

Three picture books by David Hill and Phoebe Morris. (Images: Supplied)

The book is being sold by Scholastic through its Scholastic Book Club, also known as the Lucky Book Club newsletter. The newsletter is either a delight or a pain in the ass for parents, depending on how much your child begs you for the complete Zac Power set that costs $65. It is not government-owned or taxpayer-funded (unless you count us having to pay for Babysitters Club box sets as taxpayer funding). The book club benefits New Zealand schools because Scholastic gives back 20% of the order spend to schools to purchase valuable educational resources.

Another source of anger for a small portion of New Zealanders is the Jacinda Aroha poster popping up around the country. In a Facebook post, the artists behind the print said: “We think Jacinda has done a brilliant job leading Aotearoa though the Covid-19 pandemic. We were proud to show our support with an iconic painted portrait … you can buy one hand-signed by both of us, and we will paste up another FOR FREE as part of a nationwide street poster campaign to share this message of AROHA.”

To find out more about these angry New Zealanders, I spoke to Steve Steverson, the voice of other Steves everywhere.

Aroha poster by Weston Frizzell

Hi Steve, how –

Well actually, I’m not good. This week had been a very relaxing week. Nothing on the news. Nothing to trouble me. So when I saw that in my child’s Scholastic Book Club newsletter was Aunty Cindy, a known communist and socialist wanting to spread communism and socialism in my country, I was astounded. Nay, I was astonished. Nay, I was appalled. I was all A-verbs but I was not outraged because only pinko snowflake social justice warriors are outraged.

What offended –

I’m not offended! I’m just saying that it’s an outrage that taxpayer dollars are being used to electioneer to our children and brainwash them about climate change. Isn’t that exactly what Hitler did? Surprising.

The Scholastic Book Club isn’t taxpayer –

Think about it: Scholastic is Socialism. Just open your eyes. Hero worship is never good, not that the Jacinda SS would agree. This is a cloying picture book about a political leader being flogged to school kids leading up to an election. It’s enough to make the PM herself cringe!

I think she might have other things on her mind but –

Other things, like socialism by stealth! And also communism by stealth. There are strict rules around electioneering in this country. I don’t know what they are but I know they’re strict. And here’s this socialist book club using my taxpayer money to say that we need to give beneficiaries more money while small businesses are dying. They’re dying, don’t you know? Here comes communism full steam ahead.

So the artwork by –

We’re a democracy – go away now! This is propaganda that Chairman Mao would call over the top. That’s what my wife Karen says anyway.

The artwork of Jacinda Ardern was privately paid for so –

Paid for by The Wellington City Council! During the election period! Propaganda at its worst in New Zealand. The left are so sure of themselves as to think we’re all under their progressive spell. Keep gender identity politics out of our schools. Leave our kids’ minds alone you twisted red witch.

No, it was paid for by an artist collective Weston Frizzell. Jacinda Ardern has nothing to do with these posters and no tax money has been spent. And the regulated period for election advertising begins June 19.

It’s brainwashing is what it is. Stalin did this. It needs to be reported but good luck with the Electoral Commission – you have the deep state to fight, and the useful idiots who want freebies, the media who are basically sheep and don’t realise they’ll lose their jobs too. Just look at Auckland Council workers earning over $250,000 a year let alone $100,000. We have a left-wing deep state in New Zealand, don’t be fooled.

Wait, Auckland Council?

Next, they’ll be hanging bigger posters from the sides of buildings and there’ll be a national holiday where we’ll be required to march in honour of our dear leader wearing our state-sponsored uniforms. Be kind everyone!

So, back to Scholastic –

What about the 980,000 unemployed New Zealanders? The six million small businesses she personally destroyed because of Covid-19? Tyrant! Dictator!

At this point, Steve began singing the national anthem and crying so we had to end the interview.

This post is satire but 90% of Steve’s quotes were taken directly from comments on these two issues. So is it?


Taking the Lead: How Jacinda Ardern Wowed the World, by David Hill and Phoebe Morris (Picture Puffin, $25) is available from Unity Books. 


Like the sound of fresh, exclusive Emily Writes content hitting your inbox every Thursday? Sign up to Emily Writes Weekly 



The Spinoff is made possible by the generous support of the following organisations.
Please help us by supporting them.