Job offers will be flooding in for the former prime minister. We take a look at what might be on the table.
Jacinda Ardern bids farewell to parliament this evening with a valedictory speech in the House of Representatives. She has already confirmed a couple of post-politics gigs: as special envoy for the Christchurch Call (unpaid) and a position on the board of Prince William’s climate charity (also unpaid). These are hardly full-time roles, however – more like moonlighting tasks. What else might the former prime minister take on to fill her time and pay her bills? Let’s survey the possibilities.
Some sort of UN role
The conspiracy theory crowd would go crazy if this happened (according to some of them, she’s already had a new role lined up for months) – but it’s certainly a possibility. Ardern’s mentor Helen Clark headed off to the UN Development Programme after leaving parliament and later launched an unsuccessful campaign to become UN secretary-general.
Could Ardern follow in her footsteps? Quite easily, one would imagine. Roles within the UN are more about diplomacy than, say, whether or not there should be a capital gains tax in New Zealand. For that reason, Ardern’s strengths of relationship-building and speech-giving would be welcomed at the UN.
Audible, Spotify and the like have paid top dollar for high-profile hosts. In the footsteps of New Zealand political luminaries such as Simon Bridges, Paula Bennett and, erm, Max Key, Ardern could pull a big global audience to, say, The Jacinda Ardern Experience. Or maybe just Jacinda: The Podcast. There aren’t a lot of people who could both host a podcast and provide a contact book of the most powerful people in the world who would actually take your call. The Obamas have ventured into content creation, as have Harry and Meghan, both with massive pay packets. Why not a special episode in which Ardern reconciles Wills and Kate with Harry and Meghan through the power of audiocast?
Ardern’s hero? Shackleton. She can’t get enough of the place. Lorde was flown there in 2019 and ended up on the cover of Metro and later admitted that she shouldn’t have used her “pop star resources” to snag the opportunity. She ended up writing a book and donating money to climate science research. Ardern certainly has the pop star resources, but does she have a best-selling album to inspire?
Ardern earned a big enough salary for the past six years to service a few mortgages. If guaranteed financial growth is what she’s after, there’s no surer path than through collecting property. The Labour government has made it a little harder to rake in the cash as a landlord, though not hard enough for it to be anything but a lay-up for someone in Ardern’s position.
The former prime minister always said her passion in politics was children. She took on the hefty role of poverty reduction minister and while her ability to make real change is still up for discussion, there’s little question that Ardern had a genuine interest in this area. The children’s commissioner role was recently disestablished – but who better to revive the position than Ardern herself?
Morrinsville fish and chip shop
This was Jacinda Ardern’s first job and it could be her next. Wouldn’t be the first time she’d made a big move for a Chippy.
Chemist Warehouse ambassador
Of all the decorated roles in the world of diplomacy, is there any that ranks higher? Don’t get your hopes up, though, Jacinda. You’d have to usurp Dan Carter first.
Ardern was quick to defend her former colleague Kris Faafoi when he sidestepped from cabinet minister to lobbyist. Perhaps Ardern too would like to wander through the revolving door? It’s now just the regular front door of parliament after PM Chris Hipkins’ lobbying crackdown, but considering how many years Ardern has spent in the Beehive, that shouldn’t be a problem for her.
The Spinoff’s Anna Rawhiti-Connell ordered the media to stop bringing up Ardern’s one-time DJ career. But… maybe now is the time to bring it up. Have we ever stopped to consider that Ardern might want to DJ?
Who can forget the time Jacinda Ardern picked up Stephen Colbert from the airport and then chauffeured him around Auckland’s hot spots (Crave Cafe in Morningside).
Maybe she just wants a break. And that’s fine too.