Jacinda Ardern should tell Clarke Gayford she 'fights her own battles'

  • 17/09/2018

PR expert Trish Sherson says the Prime Minister's partner should take a step back from defending her online, after he weighed in on a debate over her cancelling TV interviews in the weekend.

"If I were Jacinda I'd be saying 'hey mate, I fight my own battles,'" Ms Sherson said on The AM Show, and host Duncan Garner agreed.

Former Three producer Tim Watkin tweeted about Ms Ardern pulling out of Newshub Nation on Saturday and TVNZ's Q&A on Sunday.  

"Good on @simonjbridges for fronting on @NewshubNationNZ this morning when @jacindaardern wouldn't," Mr Watkin said on Twitter.

"The PM had committed to this interview two weeks ago. That was because she had pulled out of another interview several weeks before that," he said, and asked if anyone knew why she'd pulled out of both appearances.

Ms Ardern's partner Clarke Gayford replied to Mr Watkin saying he was "incorrect" and the interviews were not scheduled in her diary, it was a miscommunication. 

"She's doing a stand up tomorrow, she did media yesterday. To infer she's avoiding anyone is wrong."

Ms Ardern's chief press secretary said the Prime Minister would not be appearing on Newshub Nation because he got the date of the interview wrong.

"There's been bit of a diary issue in my team. There's no question I remain very much available for any issue of the day," Ms Ardern said on Thursday.

"This was a simple diary issue."

Speaking to Newshub Nation on Saturday, Mr Watkin said: "I've produced these kinds of shows for eight years. A Prime Minister pulling out of an interview is rare to never happens. For her to have pulled out of three interviews now is appalling."

Newshub political editor Tova O'Brien said: "What's frustrating is she keeps saying 'I make myself available every day, look how lucky you are to live in this democracy where the Prime Minister is available to you'.

"We are lucky in New Zealand but these commitments are part of her job. I was told by someone close to the ninth floor she can't do them because she needs to get out there and be the Prime Minister - being the Prime Minister means you speak to people, you speak to people through shows like this and you are held accountable through shows like this."