Mark Richardson sick of media's Jacinda Ardern 'sanctimony'

  • 20/04/2018

Mark Richardson has launched a blistering attack at the "sanctimony" over Jacinda Ardern, saying she's "not a pioneer when it comes to women holding successful roles".

It comes as Ms Ardern was chosen as one of the 100 most influential people in the world by Time Magazine during what has largely been seen as a successful European tour.

"Can we all just settle down a little bit?" The AM Show sport host asked on Friday morning.

"Yes, she's a pioneer when it comes to maybe being the Prime Minister of a country and having a pregnancy. She's going to have a baby. That's great.

"But I don't think she's a pioneer when it comes to women holding successful roles, having babies and still doing a fine job of it. That's been going on in this country for some time now."

"I'm sick the sanctimony that's coming out of our disgraceful written media at the moment. They're the ones that are leading this charge and they should be ashamed of themselves."

Richardson says he's not sure why there's so much surprise that Ms Ardern is doing "a good job".

"She's an affable young lady and going to impress and she's going to get on with the people that she comes in front of.

"I mean, John Key did that as well.

"She is the leader. And as one of these 100 most influential people I would hope as a leader of what is a fairly significant country in this world that she is actually influential.

"I'm just sick of all this symbolic crap."

Amanda Gillies then pointed out she's "only the second Prime Minister in the world that's going to be pregnant while ruling the country".

"She is the most powerful woman in the country. We've got to respect that. And so what she's doing is incredible and I say 'yay' to all parents and mothers who have children, and fathers as well. But I don't think she should be belittled."

Richardson was quick to clarify he wasn't saying that's not impressive.

"I think she's a pioneer in that respect [being only the second pregnant PM]. But let's not take it too far.

"Perhaps I'm still annoyed by the way my words in the first place were so badly twisted out of shape. Words were put in my mouth that did not exist at the time and I'm still pissed."

He was referring to his infamous clash with Ms Ardern prior to the election last year, when he said people deserved to know whether or not she was planning to have a baby.

She had been Labour leader for only one day, and the election was about seven weeks away.

"I think it's a legitimate question for New Zealand, because she could be the Prime Minister leading this country. She has our best interest at heart. We need to know these things," he said.

"If you're the employer at a company, you need to know that type of thing from the women you're employing."

Ms Ardern told him it was "totally unacceptable in 2017 to say that women should have to answer that question in the workplace".

Ms Ardern found out she was pregnant during coalition negotiations in October, and told the rest of the country in January. She is due to give birth in June.