Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has just celebrated one year in the country’s top role, so Metropol caught up with her about rolling with the punches, the Christchurch rebuild and the joy of motherhood.
What has your first year in office taught you?
Patience and gratitude. Everything takes longer than you’d like but every day I am grateful for the opportunity to be doing such important work.
If your daughter Neve went into politics, what advice would you give her?
Long pause… Well, I hope by the time she’s old enough it will be a slightly kinder place! I’d tell her to follow her heart.
How do you deal with pressure or stressful situations?
I don’t stress as much as I used to. I still feel enormous pressure to not let people down, but I’ve learned to roll with the punches more than I did. There will always be tough decisions to make and I know I’ll be criticised for some of those, but I’m here to do the best I can and that’s what I’ll continue to do.
If you weren’t in politics what else would you like to do?
Telling stories, in some form. More than likely doing something on behalf of kids too.
The greatest Prime Minister (living or dead) in your opinion is/was….. and why?
Michael Joseph Savage – he left a legacy that lasts to this day in the form of housing and support.
What are your thoughts around the rebuild of Christchurch?
There seems to be a real sense of optimism and excitement in Christchurch at the moment and it’s fantastic to see. We’ve had the opening of the new central library to rave reviews, we’ve been able to confirm funding for the new stadium, the convention centre is underway and we’ve fixed a $70 million budget blowout in the Metro Sports Facility and got that project back on track.
But I know the recovery of a city is about more than just bricks and mortar. It’s about people, so we’ve also prioritised mental health support in Canterbury schools to ensure every child can have access to a mental health worker and we’re reforming EQC and providing more services to speed up getting people’s insurance claims solved.
If you had one wish what would it be?
That everyone has something to do, somewhere to live, someone to love and something to hope for.
You’ve met a lot of celebrities in your role as Prime Minister. Who was your favourite and why?
Honestly? The kids I meet at schools around the country would be my favourites, hands down.
Describe motherhood in one word.