Jacinda Ardern needs to be more careful talking to her media mates about government business. There was a kerfuffle this week when the PM blabbed to her comedian mate Tom Sainsbury at the Vodafone Music Awards. She suggested Donald Trump at the APEC conference had mistaken her for Justin Trudeau’s wife.
She says she was just passing on what she heard. It’s not clear whether Trump did think that. But after publicity this week that was the embarrassing story picked up by international media. Its unfortunate for a capricious man like Trump. At the very least, the loose lips episode makes New Zealand look hokey.
Ardern’s partner Clarke Gayford host’s an outdoor show.. Jacinda and Clarke are also matey with Jesse Mulligan, the RNZ afternoon host and TV3 “The Project” co host. Gayford is an occasional panelist on RNZ’s “The Panel” and was actually on today.
According to RNZ assistant programme manager Chris Reid, Gayford’s status as a panelist pre-dates Jacinda Ardern’s Prime Ministership.
“We gave serious consideration to whether their relationship should disqualify him as a panelist and decided it should not.,” Reid says.
“Any conflict of interest on the panel should be handled in the same way as for other panelists, who disclose their interest and do not comment on stories in which they are closely involved.
“Clarke’s value as panelists is based on his intellect and wide range of interests – he is a talented TV host and enthusiastic outdoorsman, among other things – NOT on his relationship with a political figure,” Reid says. Maybe so. But maybe RNZ should move him on, especially while Labour plans to give RNZ an extra $38 million this year for a new TV service.
Mary English, Bronagh Key and Peter Davis all managed to stay out of politics. Maybe Jacinda would be better off with fewer media ties. Or maybe she needs to seek the counsel of people who are outside that scene.