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ROBERT MacCULLOCH: What's Eating Ardern? Linking NZ's First Female Finance Minister Ruth Richardson's budget to her neighbor's suicide 30 years ago is just awful

Jacinda Ardern's international PR strategy is being unleashed. She's working on becoming a Great Ambassador for Herself and a Terrible Ambassador for NZ. The more she puts her good self up, the more she pulls NZ down and makes her fellow Kiwis look bad. Have you heard Helen Clark or John Key - our former Prime Ministers - upon retirement, get stuck into other Kiwis on the world stage? Not so Ardern.

Her recent address in Bologna targeted NZ's first female Finance Minister, Ruth Richardson. Ardern said Richardson's "Mother of All Budgets came out", when she was 11 years old, cutting public spending. "I even recall seeing a cartoon as a child depicting the then-Minister of Finance [Richardson] standing over a large cauldron of soup with a child begging for more". Of the "impact on people", Ardern recalls "the spread of illnesses associated with poverty .. I remember a neighbor's son taking his own life" (at 1 hour 43 mins into the video below). Ardern said Kiwis back then - of which I was one - called those on benefits "dole bludgers" and spoke of an "Asian invasion".

In this dark story of our mean past, it wasn't just Ruth who made us beggars, life not worth living & who spread plague. She had accomplices - Orks from Middle Earth with names like Richard Prebble & Roger Douglas. Apparently they deployed "fear" to do their dirty work. Stoking fear is not a thing Ardern would dream of doing herself, of course. She'd never tell 1.6 million Aucklanders that thousands & thousands of us would die, die, die - even though most of us were already vaccinated including all of the vulnerable ones - unless we did an almost 4 month lock-down in late 2021, the cause of today's cost-of-living crisis. Pity she put us last in the queue for the vaccine.

Why would an Italian audience even want to hear how someone called Ruth did a budget 30 years ago which somehow was linked to Jacinda's neighbor's son taking their life in Morrinsville? Ardern claimed high unemployment & debt in NZ in the 1980s to early 1990s arose from reforms that made us more "open" & less regulated. She conveniently forgot to mention the oil price shocks - and Foreign Exchange crisis caused by then PM Rob Muldoon - which came before.

What was Ruth's legacy? When she started as Finance Minister in the early 1990s public debt was 40-50% of GDP. It subsequently fell over the next decade to less than 10%, until Ardern ramped debt back up to pre-Ruth 1990 levels, paying for everything during the pandemic on borrowed money (see below). She could only do so because of Prebble-Douglas-Richardson's championing of fiscal responsibility in prior years.

The Italians I know who sat through Ardern's speech were quietly wishing those types would come to Italy to fix their crippled economy, which is afflicted by overwhelming debt & red-tape.

At least Ardern can now start writing more shallow, dinky self-serving PR stories from Harvard, building a narrative that Nicola Willis is the new Ruth Richardson. It really is that pathetic.


Robert MacCulloch holds the Matthew S. Abel Chair of Macroeconomics at Auckland University. Rob blogs at Down To Earth Kiwi 

6,118 views183 comments


Helen VDW
Helen VDW
Apr 04

Harvard should've bestowed her with a doctorate in theatrics. Her spiel as valedictorian for Harvard's graduates on misinformation should've been leveled at herself and her accomplices. How brilliantly she played the role of empathetic leadership enough to get her face on the cover of time magazine. It looks as though she's still working hard at self-promotion. Matt 7:16 "By their deeds, you will know them"


Smiling, gloating, authoritative, sadistic, despotic, incompetent leadership. Tyranny is not accomplished by one despot standing alone. There are many willing minions. 

I spent two weeks imprisoned  In solitary confinement with an armed guard outside my door. 

Then again , that's what we came to expect from the " Sole source of all truth."

May she remain in the Northern hemisphere, and rot in hell. 

And we would not be allowing a months-long platform for those despicable, tattooed, tongue-wagging, primitive monsters to rant, rave and bellow - seriously frightening and scaring New Zealanders

I started to cry

Which started the whole world laughing

Oh if I'd only seen...

That the joke was on me.


Ardern's relationship with the truth has always been spotty. The story about the neighbour's son is probably bullshit.

Replying to

How can she be full of it when so much has already come out of her mouth?


I thought she didn't have enough gas left in the tank! She's an embarrassment to the world. All smiles and nothing but the usual BS.

Replying to

What a waste of electricity.

Aaron has electrical knowledge, maybe he could fix the wiring to greater effect!


I can imagine Ruth suing this trollop for all she is worth.

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