A British writer whose effusive praise of Jacinda Ardern and New Zealand saw him criticised as "ill-informed" and wearing "rose-tinted glasses" says Kiwis need to learn to appreciate what they've got.
Author Umair Haque's 3000-word paean to the Prime Minister, published on blog site Medium, called her the "new leader of the free world", citing her handling of the COVID-19 pandemic - especially compared to that of her UK and US counterparts - as well as last year's 'Wellbeing' Budget.
"Jacinda is like the anti-Donald. Young woman, old man. Fiery social democrat - disgusting ultra-conservative bordering on authoritarian-fascist. Thoughtful, intelligent, empathic, warm woman. Sociopath, narcissist, idiot man-child," he wrote.
"She's not just the anti-Donald, though. She's the anti-Bolsonaro, the anti-Boris-Johnson, the anti-Nigel, the anti-Putin, anti-Modi. She’s the literal antithesis in every way of the strongman politics that have swept across the globe like a volcanic eruption of mass idiocy."
He went on to praise Kiwis for electing Ardern in the first place, and - usually a surefire way of getting Kiwis onside - took a jab at Australia, describing our neighbour as being "ruled by ultra-conservative politics, which reject climate change, equality, the world, the future".
But the post didn't have the reaction you'd expect, with a number of New Zealanders telling him his central thesis was "bullshit" and we're not living in the utopia he makes out.
"I wish we could live up to your praise. We have a way to go yet," one person said on Twitter.
"Jacinda has turned out to be a good choice though and it's relieving to see the coronavirus has not taken hold here as a result. But, sadly our right wing parties still see the US as a fine role model."
"Honestly when you're sitting up to your neck in crap, anything that looks remotely like an upgrade will appeal," commented another. "Like every other country, we have issues, plenty of them. Our PM is doing an outstanding job, but she's only human."
Others weren't quite as polite. Responses from others, whose profiles identified them as "lefty", "communist" and "socialist" - so you'd expect might support Ardern - were brutal.
- "...this article is ill-informed nonsense."
- "She's a mildly competent leader of a genocidal colonial government. F**k off with this bullshit."
- "Hi I'm from Aotearoa New Zealand and this f**king sucks and you should feel bad about writing it."
- "I love my country, but to most Kiwi's I expect this reads like it was written with rose-coloured ink."
Haque responded to the criticism on Twitter, saying he expected he backlash.
"I knew that my post from yesterday would make a lot of Kiwis on the left mad. I think the inability of the left to really ever appreciate doing good, it's self-flagellation, is self-defeating. And I do think NZ should be celebrating itself right about now. But that's up to Kiwis."
"Oh f**k off you pompous c**t," replied one Kiwi - their profile identifying them as the coordinator of the Radical Aotearoa Digital Archive, a group seeking to "preserve the publishing culture and ephemera of radical New Zealand".