As Jacinda Ardern goes viral, Simon Bridges belittles trade efforts as lacking 'ambition'

A video about Jacinda Ardern's leadership is going viral online - from Africa to the Middle East - but Simon Bridges is describing her foreign agenda as lacking "ambition". 

It's been two years since Prime Minister Ardern took office, and to mark the date, Labour created a two-minute video in which Ardern states the Government's achievements so far. 

She highlights job creation, building state houses, banning offshore property speculators, planting 140 million trees, and "better cancer care", to name a few.

The video posted on Twitter by the Labour Party has been viewed more than 45,000 times, while others who posted the video to their own accounts have gathered millions.

It's been shared by the likes of Zimbabwean politician Nelson Chamisa and Islamic activist Majed Mahmoud. 

"This is leadership!" Chamisa wrote on Twitter. 

The Opposition was quick to try and quash the momentum, publishing a similar video that blocks out the achievements Ardern says and replaced it with failures such as KiwiBuild and delays to Auckland's light rail. 

"We fixed the PM's video for her."

But the support for Ardern was still plentiful, with a popular Pakistan video channel describing the original video on Twitter as "simply brilliant".  

Former Prime Minister Helen Clark said: "At a time when protesters in many countries are demanding that their governments address inequality & sustainability, the progress in NZ is refreshing."

International relations expert Al Gillespie said it's important to look at Ardern's global success as "a long line of great New Zealand leaders who have gone overseas and achieved fantastic things". 

"I think she's got it right... That positive approach she's got kind of mirrors what John Key's done as well... She's continuing a strong legacy."

The international praise for Ardern comes off the back of a refreshed free trade agreement between New Zealand and China after years of negotiating, giving New Zealand further preferential access to the superpower. 

It was announced at the East Asia Summit in Thailand's capital Bangkok, where it was also announced that New Zealand, along with 14 other countries, had concluded negotiations on a significant trade pact called RCEP. 

But India still has "significant outstanding issues" about the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) before it's ready to sign on, pointing to concerns around the gradual elimination of tariffs. 

That could open up the country's domestic markets to a flood of cheap Chinese goods and agricultural produce from Australia and New Zealand that would harm local producers.

The Opposition isn't convinced the Government's had a win on either trade deal, with National's trade spokesperson Todd McClay giving them a "3/10 for trade". 

Pointing to the China deal, McClay said the $36 million of gains on New Zealand wood are "insignificant when you consider the $32 billion worth of total trade with China". 

New Zealand exports to China have tripled since 2008 when the original free trade agreement was signed.

Export NZ executive director Catherine Beard had a different view, saying the upgrade of the NZ-China free trade deal would bring "solid benefits". 

But she expressed concern over the incomplete RCEP deal, as it would have "delivered a massive market for New Zealand goods". 

Ardern said in a media stand-up in Bangkok that India's hesitance to join the pact "won't hold up the agreement continuing to progress". 

"There's a lot of interaction between the countries, and that will give certainty for businesses that are looking to any one of these countries to grow their export opportunities."

Minister for Trade and Export Growth Damien O'Connor, who accompanied Ardern in Bangkok, said all the nations involved in RCEP "enthusiastically endorsed where we've got to and have left the door wide open to work actively with India".

National leader Simon Bridges said the Government should have prioritised sending a minister to India, seeming to suggest that could have boosted New Zealand's relationship with the emerging superpower. 

Bridges visited India in August with National's foreign affairs spokesperson Gerry Brownlee to promote the bilateral relationship. 

He described the Government's trade agenda on Tuesday in Parliament as "one where I don't see seriousness and purpose of ambition". 

Meanwhile, the Employers' & Manufacturers' Association (EMA) says it's embracing a "historical 24 hours for New Zealand trade".