Fake quote said to be from Jacinda Ardern goes viral

Viral tweets circulating on social media suggesting the Prime Minister said New Zealand doesn't have an issue with the "rage of older white men" because "we've never allowed Rupert Murdoch to set up a media outlet here" are inaccurate, fact-checkers have found.

"Asked why New Zealand does not suffer from the rage of older white men like in other western Anglo countries, PM Jacinda Adern (sic) replied, 'Because we've never allowed Rupert Murdoch to set up a media outlet here.' The guy has wreaked havoc on civil society in US," said one tweet earlier this month.

It attracted more than 224,000 'likes' and has been shared about 45,000 times on Twitter. Other similar tweets have popped up and received thousands of likes.

But the Prime Minister - whose surname is spelt Ardern - never said that. There appears to be no record on Google of it and it also doesn't come up in Parliament's transcripts.

A statement from the Prime Minister's Office to the Associated Press and CNN also dismissed the claim.

"We have no recollection of the Prime Minister making this comment and cannot find any source for it," a spokesperson said.

Newshub has contacted Ardern's office for comment.

The comment is similar to a quote from political commentator and public relations expert David Cormack in 2020. He told the Guardian: "A huge reason that our politics is not so extremely polarised and so far out there is because we no longer have Murdoch-owned press in New Zealand, and it’s never taken a foothold."

Murdoch founded News Corp, which publishes some of the world's most well-known newspapers, including The Sun and the Wall Street Journal, and is also behind the US right-wing television channel Fox News.

An upcoming book about Joe Biden reportedly claims the US President found Murdoch to be "one of the most destructive forces in the United States".

Murdoch has had some involvement in New Zealand media in the past. News Corp had a stake in Australia's APN News & Media. Its assets at the time included NZME, which publishes the New Zealand Herald.