Jacinda Ardern defends Clarke Gayford after controversial column

  • 24/04/2018

Jacinda Ardern has responded after her partner Clarke Gayford was criticised in a controversial New Zealand Herald column.

The article, called 'Why does Clarke Gayford bug me?' by Deborah Hill Cone was promoted with a 'breaking news' banner by NZME on Monday morning.

"There's something about our First Bloke that keeps nagging me every time I see his cheerful face," she wrote, before proceeding to list reasons why.

Appearing on The AM Show on Tuesday, Ms Ardern questioned the need for "unkind articles", saying she was a "Pollyanna on these kinds of things".

"I didn't read the column," she told host Duncan Garner.

"I could tell that it wasn't particularly nice."

Ms Hill Cone criticised Mr Gayford for seemingly enjoying being the spouse of Ms Ardern, saying he "seems to lap the attention up, like the political equivalent of manspreading".

She said the photo of him posing with other spouses of the leaders of the Commonwealth was "cringey" and he gives her "a little bit of acid reflux".

Garner said that the spouses of prime ministers have all done "really hard work" for New Zealand, and it's a "really tough job".

"Do you think Clarke is fair game?" he asked.

"I do acknowledge that he's in the public eye in a different way than perhaps other spouses, but I still think there are lines to be drawn," Ms Ardern replied.

"Regardless of political flavour I would say that that wouldn't be right."

Mr Gayford has also hit back, comparing Ms Hill Cone to the "bottom feeding fish" on an upcoming episode of his TV show.