The prime minister has come under fire over a decision to fly to the Pacific Islands Forum in Nauru for 36 hours. Parents editor Emily Writes listens and learns from the chorus of angry man broadcasters
The sound of grunted angry crowing filled the air this morning. It was clear what had happened. An appalling travesty. A scandal of epic proportions.
An outrage of old men took to their various platforms and exposed the horror to the nation.
Jacinda Ardern, former pregnant person, current woman, mother, mum, matriarch, and audacious female, was at it again.
She had spent close to, or around, somewhere thereabouts, eight trillion and probably fifty one thousand million dollars of taxpayer money, mom and pop’s precious coins, the livelihood of farmers, and also ratepayers, to holiday in Nauru.
In the dead of night she came to your house, lifted the mattress, took your coins, she laughed like Scrooge McLadyDuck and leapt into a sea of your hard-earned overly taxed dollars.
And she did it because she’s (outrageously, obnoxiously) parenting while doing her job.
It would be absolutely loathsome, nay outrageous, actually incomprehensible were she to choose to leave Neve for four days when she’s such a fresh, newly born mother of a brand new baby. But it is also equally loathesome, unjustifiable, quite scandalous and especially brazen and barbaric that she changed her flight plan so she didn’t leave her baby for as long.
To be clear – she absolutely should not be doing her job of attending an important summit where the imprisoning of children and our role as a country in these abuses is debated. But she should also absolutely be doing her job in attending this important summit where the imprisoning of children and our role as a country in these abuses is debated.
Had she chosen to not attend this event, it would have shown how being a mother has interfered with her ability to lead this fair and just country. Shockingly, she has chosen to do her job. And she has chosen to attend – booking her flights around her responsibilities, and because her baby daughter does not have the necessary vaccinations to travel to the Pacific island – which shows how being a mother has interfered with her ability to lead this fair and just country.
The luxury plane the prime minister/mother/woman/female will be flying would already be being used at this time, would, according to reports, be paid for personally by Barry Soper’s precious hard-owned dollars anyway – but that’s beside the point.
This is the first chance we have had to say: “Jacinda Ardern’s baby Neve will cost the taxpayer about $100,000 this week.” And: “PM’s baby is interfering with her job“. Which feels positively orgasmic in its clickworthy glory. We finally, finally, have an opportunity to accuse Jacinda of prioritising her daughter over Duncan Garner.
Oh and it feels so good.
Garner’s commentary on this nation-stopping event of our prime minister flying in a plane? “Protect the little cherub as much as you can. This is not a normal situation. Set the rules and expectations early. I actually have faith that most of the New Zealand media won’t step over the line.”
Oh, oops, wrong column. Actually he said: “Blink and you miss it. They grow up so quickly. It’s fleeting. Next minute, there’s a job, a phone, a new demand, a bad hair day. Make sure you don’t miss it.”
Oh, damn, that’s not it either.
Actually he said: “I’m loathe to criticise a parent for wanting to be with their newborn. Been there, done that, understand it totally. But just pull out of the meeting.”
Proving for once and for all that he’s not a shock jock who vomits opinions at random.
Then over on Newstalk ZB, Leighton Smith opened his mouth and this fell out: “Breastfeeding is to be encouraged for three months. Well the three months is up but she has decided she isn’t going to stop, and wants to keep breastfeeding. So that is interfering with her job as she chose to do it.”
Which proves that the king of New Zealand talkback is not just gross but also bad at counting. Ardern and Gayford’s baby was born two and a half months ago.
Meanwhile, while Jacinda Ardern does what mothers do every single day – work and try to balance being a parent with those demands, there is a two-year-old boy called George on Nauru witnessing horror.
Meanwhile, while the giants of New Zealand broadcasting lecture us on parenting, there are dads on Nauru trying to work out how to protect their children from sexual assault and self-harm.
Louise Newman, professor of psychiatry at the University of Melbourne, told the BBC that “we are starting to see suicidal behaviour in children as young as eight and 10 years old” on Nauru. But suicide is only something we talk about when it impacts New Zealanders apparently. When it happens to children outside of this country … well …
There are reports of more than 30 children suffering resignation syndrome a rare psychiatric condition become catatonic. Also known as traumatic withdrawal syndrome, this leaves these precious children unable to move, cannot speak, cannot eat. There is no help on Nauru.
Doctors 4 Refugees says children see sexual assaults and suicide attempts daily on Nauru.
The prime minister is going to go on a plane, that is already paid for, to this place. She will be away from her child for 36 hours. Like all travel for prime ministers, regardless of their gender, it will be paid for. And maybe she will meet Roze, aged two who is imprisoned on Nauru.
And maybe she will come back and tell us what the place that the Australian government keeps people out of unless they’re brown, is really like. Our government will be able to tell us what’s really happening on that hellhole – and maybe, just maybe, we will start treating all children like they all matter. That their place of birth, or where they had to flee, doesn’t actually mean they have no value.
I don’t know about you, but that’s something I’m happy to pay for.
The Spinoff Weekly compiles the best stories of the week – an essential guide to modern life in New Zealand, emailed out on Monday evenings.