There comes a time in every successful politician’s career when their Twitter accounts are ruthlessly trawled through by a combination of political activists, bemused bystanders and, yes, bored journalists.
Somehow it’s taken three years for prime minister Jacinda Ardern to experience the same treatment. Over the past few days, Twitter has been alight with decade-old commentary by then-Labour backbencher Ardern, with many making the charge of hypocrisy in resurfacing Ardern critiques of John Key’s government for a perceived lack of action on issues like social welfare and the environment.
What’s interesting about this recent online excavation movement is that most of the tweet diggers are on the left. Not exclusively, though: David Seymour’s in on the game, too.
In recent days, the prime minister has also been upbraided online for the repeated “ruling out” of key issues, dating back to her decision to rule out a capital gains tax for the entirety of her tenure as New Zealand’s leader.
Jacinda Ardern has painted herself into quite the corner with her permenently ruling out of all the solutions to the nation's problems
— Francis McRae (@FrankMcRae) November 18, 2020
Just yesterday, Ardern pinned it on the entire country, saying that, in fact, “New Zealanders ruled it out”.
“We campaigned on it several times, and we just couldn’t bring New Zealanders with us,” she said.
But when it comes to her own tweet archive, here are nine posts that Jacinda Ardern might now be regretting (presented in no particular order).
‘The gaffe man!’
Are people really discussing Boris Johnson as possible candidate for PM? When I lived in London he was known as the gaffe man!
— Jacinda Ardern (@jacindaardern) August 13, 2012
This tweet of Ardern’s has taken on much higher significance since both she and Boris Johnson ascended to the leaders of their respective countries. It also seems to resurface in tabloid UK media at least once a year.
‘For the love of..’
John Key just told the gallery he doesn't think Auckland houses are over valued. THEY'RE EARNING MORE THAN PEOPLE!!! For the love of..
— Jacinda Ardern (@jacindaardern) April 20, 2015
In a week where the skyrocketing price of Auckland houses has made countless headlines, this 2015 tweet from Ardern seems especially pointed.
‘Comprehensive housing plan’
Government's constant reference to their 'comprehensive housing plan' is proof that repeating something constantly doesn't make it true
— Jacinda Ardern (@jacindaardern) September 6, 2016
Megan Woods, October 5 2020: “Labour has a comprehensive housing plan.”
As one tweet response to this simply says, “Lol. Has not aged well”.
‘A shortage in some areas’
Same as above, really. Awks.
Did I just hear Nick Smith argue that Auckland housing is more affordable now, when it's taking 10% more of people's incomes than in 2008?!
— Jacinda Ardern (@jacindaardern) March 29, 2016
This one is presented without comment.
‘Like hearing a drug addict lecture an alcoholic’
Listening to National Ministers lecture ACT on environmental issues feels a little bit like hearing a drug addict lecture an alcoholic….
— Jacinda Ardern (@jacindaardern) November 24, 2010
‘The future of the St James Theatre’
Still trying to get the Govt to reveal its international convention centre plans and the future of the St James Theatre http://tiny.cc/1vyna
— Jacinda Ardern (@jacindaardern) December 7, 2010
I have still never stepped foot in Auckland’s St James Theatre. At at this stage, I expect I never will.
I know an Alan Jones. Unlike the Aussie version, he isn't a git or intensely disliked by the general population.
— Jacinda Ardern (@jacindaardern) September 30, 2012
Last year, Sky News ran an “exclusive” story revealing Jacinda Ardern’s true views on controversial Australian broadcaster Alan Jones. Turns out, it was this tweet likely uncovered by a tired Sky intern.
Twyford v English
Nice to see Phil Twyford get a mention six years back.