Auckland bar under fire for 'vile' signs celebrating Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern's resignation

An Auckland bar is facing criticism after posting offensive signs about outgoing Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern in response to her resignation. 

Ardern announced she was stepping down from the top job at the Labour caucus retreat on Thursday.

She said she has given the role her absolute all but doesn't have enough in the tank for another term. 

The Prime Minister's resignation came as a shock with politicians, world leaders, celebrities and everyday Kiwis thanking Ardern for her service to the country. 

But not everyone was as respectful about the politician's decision to step down. Shooters Saloon Bar & Hotel in Kingsland found itself in hot water on Friday after its owner wrote offensive messages about Ardern on the side of the building. 

One large sign reads: "Ding dong the red witch bitch has gone."

"Red witch leaving party," another reads. 

The signs haven't gone down well online with one person saying they are "vile". 

"Omg! I literally sucked in breath. That's so awful," another said. 

"Yuck, yuck, yuck," someone else added. 

"Gross," another person simply commented. 

A sign on Shooters Saloon in Kingsland.
A sign on Shooters Saloon in Kingsland. Photo credit: Newshub

Shooters Saloon owner Shayne La Rosa admitted to Newshub the sign was disrespectful.

"Of course it's disrespectful but she hasn't respected us," La Rosa told Newshub. He went on to say he took issue with the Government's COVID-19 response including the mandates which is why he wrote the signs. 

But La Rosa said they weren't sexist. 

"There's nothing sexist in it, don't try and take that angle. I wouldn't care whether she's... transgender, homosexual, I wouldn't give two hoots."

A sign on Shooters Saloon in Kingsland.
A sign on Shooters Saloon in Kingsland. Photo credit: Newshub

La Rosa isn't the only hospitality business celebrating Ardern's resignation. Motueka Hotel also said it was offering discounts in celebration on Friday. 

It comes after New Zealand's last Labour Prime Minister Helen Clark blamed social media hatred and vitriol for Ardern stepping down. 

"During almost five and a half years as Prime Minister, Jacinda has done an extraordinary job in leading New Zealand through major crises, delivering on a large social policy agenda aimed at rebuilding opportunity and fairness, presiding over an economy which has performed better than most of its peers in challenging global circumstances, and positioning New Zealand as a country which stands for international co-operation and decent values," Clark wrote. 

"The pressures on Prime Ministers are always great, but in this era of social media, clickbait, and 24/7 media cycles, Jacinda has faced a level of hatred and vitriol which in my experience is unprecedented in our country. 

"Our society could now usefully reflect on whether it wants to continue to tolerate the excessive polarisation which is making politics an increasingly unattractive calling."

But Clark's comments didn't go down well with everyone with political commentator and former National Party ministerial advisor Brigitte Morten calling them "naive" and "condescending". 

"I think it's a little bit condescending and perhaps a little naive to say that this played a role," Morten told Newshub Late. 

"Nobody gets to be Prime Minister without having a thick skin, nor does any Prime Minister have the time or inclination to spend their time scrolling through Facebook or Twitter comments," Morten told host Ingrid Hipkiss on Thursday.

However, Morten didn't doubt some of the threats made against Ardern and her family on social media would've taken a toll.

"Of course, the stress of having the wellbeing of her family put under threat... would have played a role in whether she thought the balance was right," Morten said.