Jacinda Ardern gets her hands in the air for DJ Jacinda Ardern. Photo: Craig McCulloch / RNZ

‘My orthodontist would be so proud’: Jacinda Ardern puppet unveiled

The PM gets the Backbencher treatment in DJ pose, Winston Peters gets a refit, but the publican is unsure whether it’s worth bothering with Simon Bridges yet, writes RNZ’s Craig McCulloch

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has been immortalised as a puppet DJ at the Backbencher pub across the road from the Beehive.

But National’s new leader Simon Bridges will have to wait a little longer before he too earns a figure of his own.

Ardern attended the unveiling on Wednesday evening, watching as her likeness was added to the pub’s vast array of political puppets.

The new addition depicts the prime minister as a particularly toothy DJ kitted out in a red tracksuit, with turntable in front and headphones in one hand.

“I predicted that you would really play up my eyes,” Ardern quipped.

“Thank you for immortalising me … my orthodontist Mark Ewing would be so proud.”

‘I hate that. I really hate it! I really, really hate it.’ – Jacinda Ardern on being pictured DJing

She described her effigy as “a character from Trainspotting at best, and Glee at worst” and said it was a “remarkable piece” given she’d only professionally DJ-ed once.

“But I guess you used to have [former United Future leader] Peter Dunne looking like he walked on water, too.”

A fresh tribute to Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters was also revealed – his puppet’s eighth outfit to be displayed at the establishment.

“I suppose, as the prime minister says, it’s a sign of some sort of recognition – I don’t know whether it’s the finest,” Peters said.

“But I’m very proud of the fact that you haven’t taken me down and put me away.”

He went on.

“As Muhammad Ali would say, if they even dream of doing that, they should wake up and apologise.”

Winston Peters with his eighth iteration as a Backbenchers puppet. Photo: RNZ / Craig McCulloch

Former National leader Bill English and Ilam MP Gerry Brownlee were also reimagined as “the guys on the way out”.

Mr English’s reconfigured-puppet was depicted carrying a bindle on stick with a sign overhead reading “Stage Door Exit”.

When asked whether new National leader Simon Bridges might be next in line for a puppet, Backbencher owner Alistair Boyce was non-commital.

“People asked me when Phil Goff became leader of the Labour Party, would I make a puppet? And I had to say no, I don’t believe he’s gonna be there in three years’ time.

“So I’m not sure about Simon Bridges. There’s a few question marks there.”

Bill English and Gerry Brownlee make for the Backbencher exit. Photo: RNZ / Craig McCulloch

Mr Boyce said he commissioned Ms Ardern’s puppet almost immediately after she was named leader of the Labour Party.

“It was a no-brainer, really … it was pretty clear straight away that she was going to make a big impact.”

The finished product took roughly three months to build and cost more than $10,000, he said.

Film artist Bryce Curtis has been creating the political puppets from latex rubber for the gastropub since 1990.

Other notable politicians to have effigies in their image have included John Key, Helen Clark, Jenny Shipley, Metiria Turei and Hone Harawira.

This piece originally appeared at RNZ

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