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Endurance: Ardern’s Incredible Voyage. Artist’s impression by Tina Tiller
Endurance: Ardern’s Incredible Voyage. Artist’s impression by Tina Tiller

PoliticsOctober 26, 2022

About those rumours that Jacinda Ardern will soon resign

Endurance: Ardern’s Incredible Voyage. Artist’s impression by Tina Tiller
Endurance: Ardern’s Incredible Voyage. Artist’s impression by Tina Tiller

This one goes all the way to Elephant Island.

Update, 1.15pm January 19 2023: Upon further reflection, we might have been too hasty with this one.

These things we know to be true. Jacinda Ardern, for most of her life, was not the prime minister. Then she became the prime minister, as indeed she is at this very moment. But one day – mark my words – she will not be the prime minister any more. Where is the lie? These are simply uncensored, unembellished facts. Nothing more, nothing less.

But just what galvanised wire connects these timber posts of truth? Which spring clip strainers hold them firm? For that you need an insider, by which I mean someone who stays inside and reads a lot of the internet. A lot. Kindly take a seat. This is going to blow your mind. 

There is speculation afoot that Jacinda Ardern might resign any day now. It all stems from questions being asked in the speculative commentary community, following a columnist’s hunch she will be “out by Christmas”. Any evidence? Sources, named or anonymous? No. But ask yourself this: five years in, amid a cost of living crisis and with Winston Peters’ baritone laughter prowling her nightmares, is Jacinda Ardern more likely to resign yesterday or tomorrow? Well, she didn’t resign yesterday, did she? Exactly.

On the subject of Russian stratagems in the second world war, Winston Churchill famously spoke of “a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma”. What we’re dealing with today in relation to whether Ardern is on the brink of resignation is uncannily similar, really, except it’s a speculation, wrapped in a speculation, inside a speculation. Is it true? Ardern says no. But she would, wouldn’t she? Just like she would deny that she is this very moment lighting a blubber-fuelled lantern and chatting with a penguin somewhere off the coast of Antarctica. 

What she won’t attempt to deny is that she attempted to travel to what I call “the frozen continent” yesterday. She will say the plane had to turn around and return to Christchurch owing to the weather. The pilot will say that. So will the organisers, as will all the others aboard. Striking, isn’t it, how they’re all singing from the same hymn sheet? But who – think about it – wrote the hymn? Who printed the sheet? And also, who paid the piper, if there is a piper involved in this particular hymn. 

Were Jacinda Ardern truly sick to the back teeth of being the prime minister, what would she do? Quit? Perhaps. Persevere? Also perhaps. Or would she recruit a deepfake stunt double and send it back to Aotearoa while she jumped in another Herc that continued on to her icy paradise. If that is precisely what she did, would she deny it? Of course she would.

Ardern is known to adore Ernest Shackleton. Her favourite book is Alfred Lansing’s Endurance: Shackleton’s Incredible Voyage, which according to several well placed sources is about Shackleton’s incredible voyage aboard The Endurance. This December marks 110 years since the launch of the ship which Shackleton would go on to sail towards the Antarctic Circle. The vessel was creaking, inching towards its target when it became inexorably engulfed in pack ice. Come in closer, this is important. The Endurance had three masts. Ice is a frozen form of waters. Shackleton and his men all survived. 

The towering biography of the New Zealand prime minister put it this way: “Jacinda Ardern may well be remembered in much the same way as her hero, the great Ernest Shackleton from the Heroic Age of Antarctic exploration.” The speculation among many, such as my uncle Steve who lives in Tasmania, is that, at this very moment, Jacinda Ardern is retracing Shackleton’s steps, seeking refuge at a whaling station on Cape Valentine, Elephant Island. A test of endurance like no other.

She will deny it. The stenographers of the mainstream media will scoff. But the speculation is undeniable, the rumours are right there, a couple of paragraphs ago where I wrote them. The evidence is everywhere, from comments I read on Facebook to something I overheard in the produce aisle at the local Four Square and Uncle Steve’s emails. Can you afford to take the spin doctors at their word? Because where there is smoke, there are pageviews. And as internationally renowned political analyst Dan Brown put it in The Da Vinci Code, “What really matters is what you believe.”

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