Auckland Councillor feels 'sorry' for Jacinda Ardern for being heckled on street in Canada

Dame Jacinda Ardern has been heckled on the street after arriving in Canada for a climate conference.  

The former New Zealand Prime Minister is in Montreal for the Global Progress Action Summit and was approached by a videographer for far-right media outlet Rebel News, who later uploaded the footage online. 

In the clip the man approaches Dame Jacinda while capturing the video and asks: "How much fossil fuels did you burn coming here to talk about climate change?"  

Dame Jacinda ignores him and continues walking before another man, who appears to be a security guard, intervenes and repeatedly tells the videographer to "leave her alone".  

"I'm on a sidewalk ... You can't touch me, you can't put your hands on me," the videographer says as the security guard attempts stop him from following her inside the building. 

The video was posted on X - formally Twitter - by Lincoln Jay, who claimed he questioned Dame Jacinda on "hypocritical behaviour" as she was on her way to the summit. 

It has yet again raised questions about the safety of politicians.  

Auckland Councillor Josephine Bartley told AM on Monday she understands heckling is part of the job of being a politician, but believes it shouldn't come at the expense of your safety.   

"I feel sorry for Jacinda, it's like she's going to get it for the rest of her life," she told AM.  

Former Auckland Business Chamber boss Michael Barnett, who was appearing on AM alongside Bartley, said the incident raised questions about heckling.  

"I think heckling is older than democracy but so is respect and good manners. I think the other point for many of the people that heckle, if they have one issue, they don't look at the complexity of what some of the broader issues are," he said.  

"For this heckler talking about emissions, sometimes there is a cost to change and the cost is sometimes getting people together to travel and so on."  

Bartley also believed the incident has raised questions about the lack of effort to tackle climate change.  

She told AM there has been "inaction" on climate change.  

"It does seem like for a lot of people it's not as urgent yet. We've got the floods out there and then you see the climate activists who are gluing their hands on racetracks," she said.  

"I think when they get to that stage of blocking the motorways, they've lost people. The cause is forgotten and it's all about someone gluing their hand to the racetrack, so climate change, absolutely it's important."  

At the summit, Dame Jacinda took the stage alongside Norwegian Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Store, former Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. 

Trudeau posted to X of his meeting with Dame Jacinda, who he described as his "friend".   

In April, Dame Jacinda delivered her valedictory speech where she spoke about several issues important to her, including climate change and child poverty, and about leading New Zealand through the Christchurch terror attack and COVID-19 pandemic. 

She concluded the speech by noting she was a "worrier" and a "crier and hugger", and had learnt during her time in Parliament that she didn't need to change to survive. 

"I cannot determine what will define my time in this place, but I do hope I've demonstrated something else entirely: that you can be anxious, sensitive, kind, and wear your heart on your sleeve, you can be a mother or not, you can be an ex-Mormon or not, you can be a nerd, a crier, a hugger - you can be all of these things, and not only can you be here; you can lead." 

Dame Jacinda was Prime Minister between late 2017 and January this year. When announcing her resignation, she said she no longer had "enough left in the tank" to lead the country. 

She's taken on several roles since stepping down including Special Envoy to the Christchurch Call and working with Prince William's Earthshot Prize. Later this year, she will also join Harvard University to take on leadership fellowship roles. 

The former MP for Mt Albert left Parliament in April. She accepted a Damehood in the King's Birthday honours.