Jacinda Ardern has responded to a surge in house prices, concerns about carbon emissions and calls for action on child poverty by pledging to care more about these issues. The pledge comes after a week of harsh criticism and opposition attacks, and in response to them Ardern has promised to drastically raise the already high levels at which she cares.
The move has delighted her supporters and international admirers, with US vice-president-elect Kamala Harris liking Ardern’s announcement on Instagram, while calls for the prime minister to receive a Nobel Peace Prize have intensified. But critics and commentators have raised doubts about the new caring, wondering whether the promised new levels of care are credible, and even questioning whether the government should solve problems in addition to caring about them.
This is so funny as it is so close to reality.
Details about the increased caring are yet to be revealed but experts predict it will be in line with the prime minister’s previous track record of looking thoughtful and sad whenever questioned about an issue in front of media, and will consist of furrowed brows, worried frowns, and empathic nodding. The furrowing, frowning and nodding, which Treasury refers to as F2N, will increase by one percentage point a year, aggregating each year to an astonishing 9% increase in Net Prime Ministerial Caring, or NPMC, by the end of the decade.
It might be part of their living standards framework!
Further details about the caring will be determined by a task force, and the State Services Commission has formed a working group to determine the terms of enquiry for the interdepartmental agency that will establish the task force.
Ardern would not be drawn on whether climate, housing and child poverty were challenges, crises or disasters, and in response to questions about their priorities she explained that each of them was her highest priority. “Let me be clear. Child poverty is the reason I became a politician. And climate is the greatest problem facing the world, while housing touches every whānau. So in answer to the question of which I care about more, my answer is: be kind to one other.”
Some people on Twitter thought that last paragraph was an actual quote from Ardern. To be fair, it almost could be!