New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has apologized for insulting an opposition MP during Question Time in Parliament.
David Seymour, leader of ACT, the liberal opposition party, intervened controversially asking the prime minister to give the example of a time when she acknowledged her mistake, apologized and made up for it.
Jacinda Ardern leapt to her feet, visibly annoyed, and responded, addressing the Speaker of the Assembly, Adrian Rurawhe.
At the end of the speech, while the president resumed the floor to continue the debate, the prime minister muttered an insult – “he’s such a str… arrogant” – captured by the microphone in the chamber which remained open and barely audible.
An unusual misstep for a leader known for her debating skills and for her calm and measured responses as in the recent episode of the press conference with Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin when she answered with irony a reporter’s question that she had asked reference to the age of the two leaders – “I wonder if someone has asked Barack Obama and John Key (former prime minister of New Zealand, ed) if they met because they were of a similar age”.
The ACT secretary protested and a spokesman for the prime minister’s office confirmed that Ardern later apologized to Seymour, reports the BBC website.
In charge of government for 5 years, Labor’s Ardern is 42 and has enjoyed very high approval ratings and international appreciation for her country’s response to the coronavirus pandemic.
However, one year before the elections and with the rising cost of living, Ardern is under political pressure; polls now see Labor trailing the main opposition National by five percentage points.