Jacinda Ardern laughs off 'pretty communist' protest sign

  • 18/09/2017

A farmer at the Morrinsville protest against Labour's water tax is being slammed for his sign calling Ms Ardern a "pretty communist."

When asked what she thought of the sign, Ms Ardern laughed, simply saying "there's your answer".

She then said, "I'm a pretty communist? Did they intend that to be a compliment or an insult? I'm not entirely sure."

An image of the sign was tweeted by Labour's chief of staff Neale Jones, who said if a sign like it appeared at a Labour event he'd ask for it to be taken down.

Greenpeace NZ head Russel Norman tweeted: "14 years ago Bill [English] held a sign of misogyny and climate denial on tractor called Myrtle. Myrtle is in Morrinsville today w same old attitudes."

Former Prime Minister Helen Clark tweeted that the sign is "misogynist" and the protest was "climate change denial".

Craig Sinclair, a farmer from Tauwhare near Morrinsville, is the man behind the sign. 

When asked what the sign meant he told Newshub: "Sort of getting a bit socialistic. She's getting a bit socialistic. Wants to take stuff off people."

He says he is "concerned" about a Labour-led Government, and if Labour is elected "a few people will start to learn about basic economics".

Mr Sinclair says, "There's some false ideas out there that all farmers are loaded. I'm not loaded. I've got eight kids. I get Working for Families." 

He feels that farmers in New Zealand are taken for granted, and says exporting is important to make money for New Zealand.

Ms Ardern says, "Having grown up in Morrinsville I've always known that there are people who take a different view when it comes to politics than I do."  

She says there isn't an rural/urban divide in New Zealand and Labour's plans have plenty of support, including from farmers.

"I know that there are plenty of farmers who are environmentalists and want to see us clean up our rivers," she says.