Marketing expert rates Jacinda Ardern's New York trip 'eight to nine' out of 10

A marketing expert has given Jacinda Ardern a glowing report card as her latest overseas trip comes to a close.

Ardern has been in the US the past few days, attending the UN General Assembly, meeting world leaders and promoting New Zealand on TV - most notably The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, the top-rated late-night talk show in the US. 

Massey University senior lecturer and PR expert Chris Galloway said on Friday he'd rate her "performance on the international stage" an "eight to nine" out of 10, saying her appearance on Colbert was the highlight from a marketing perspective.

"I'm cynical enough to think New Zealand will get more out of Stephen Colbert's visit than it will from 25 minutes with Donald Trump," he told The AM Show.

But he reckons many Kiwis just won't care.

"What plays in New York might not necessarily go down the same way in New Plymouth and New Brighton... Clearly Jacinda is doing well and is an excellent representative and voice for us on the international stage. 

"But... when it comes around to voting next year, people are going to be looking at - do they feel better off? Can they go to the hospital and get treated within a reasonable time? Those sorts of fundamental issues are going to be what cuts it for people."

Labour MP Willie Jackson, also appearing on The AM Show, was understandably effusive about his boss' performance, rating it "10 out of 10".

"What a magnificent performance... it was probably the best visit by a New Zealand Prime Minister for the last 20 years," he said, citing Ardern's cordial meeting with Trump, whose ideology probably couldn't be much further from Ardern's. 

"They're great mates," Jackson insisted.

National MP Judith Collins called Ardern a "wuss" for not bringing up climate change with the US President, who has claimed in the past it's a hoax. 

" I think that Jacinda Ardern has - let's be real here - she has charisma, she has a big smile, she has a nice personality, but I don't believe there's a lot else there."

Judith Collins and Willie Jackson.
Judith Collins and Willie Jackson. Photo credit: The AM Show

"Cut it out Judith," Jackson interrupted. "You're sounding like Paula Bennett."

'Time for people to go a bit over-the-top'

Dr Galloway said the other standout performer in New York this week was 16-year-old teenage activist Greta Thunberg, who stunned the world with a passionate speech to the UN earlier this week. 

"This is all wrong. I shouldn't be standing here. I should be back in school on the other side of the ocean," she told leaders at the UN Climate Action Summit. 

"Yet you all come to me for hope? How dare you! You have stolen my dreams and my childhood with your empty words. And yet I'm one of the lucky ones. People are suffering. People are dying. Entire ecosystems are collapsing. We are in the beginning of a mass extinction. 

"And all you can talk about is money and fairytales of eternal economic growth. How dare you!"

Greta Thunberg.
Greta Thunberg. Photo credit: Reuters

Asked by The AM Show host Duncan Garner if her words were "over-the-top", Dr Galloway said she actually "spoke so very well, so passionately, summed it up".

"I would disagree about it being over-the-top. I think it's time for people to go a bit over-the-top in order to get the message through, in order to get people to pay attention. Surely this is a time for language that grabs people's attention and moves them to act."

Thunberg addressed the criticism on her Twitter page, saying she doesn't understand "why adults would choose to spend their time mocking and threatening teenagers and children for promoting science, when they could do something good instead".



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