40th Prime Minister of New Zealand
- ...for other women, it is totally unacceptable in 2017 to say that women should have to answer that question in the workplace. That is unacceptable in 2017. It is the woman's decision about when they choose to have children.
- This is my generation's nuclear-free moment, and I am determined that we will tackle it head on.
Interview with Lisa Owen at Newshub Nation, 21 October 2017Edit
- I would call it an active government. One of our key focuses will be making sure that we don’t leave anything to chance. One of the concerns that we’ve had for a long time is that we have an economy at the moment that is not serving all New Zealanders. People are not feeling the benefits of any form of prosperity; wages aren’t keeping up with inflation; the cost of housing is outstripping most people’s reach. And what is the point, for instance, of economic growth when we have some of the worst homelessness in the developed world? Our plan is to be an active government, one that’s focused on ensuring people have decent jobs, decent housing, and hope for the future.
- On how she would describe her government.
- The Greens have a confidence and supply agreement, again with their own policy agenda that we will pursue together. But what I hope people will see when we release those full agreements in full is that there is synergy between those agreements, that, collectively together, we are focused on improving our environment, improving the outlook for families and their future, making sure that New Zealand is a place of great opportunity. [...] Certainly there are differences in the way that each party plays a role in the government that they are a part of. So, for instance, a coalition agreement – by default, collective responsibility provisions apply to that party as a coalition member. Confidence and supply – collective responsibility applies to where ministers are serving. So by default those arrangements are different. But in terms of the way that I will work with both leaders, that relationship will be exactly the same. It will be a relationship of respect. We will work closely together from the very beginning when we are crafting our agenda and developing the kind of government that we’re going to be. [...] It is fair to say we have absolute common ground when it comes to wanting to see the wages of our most vulnerable lifted.
- One of my roles was consulting other political parties to ensure that support was there to pass a legislative agenda. That is absolutely not new. What has changed over time is the way that those relationships have evolved. The processes, I think, have become a lot more refined. We’re probably a lot more effective and efficient in the way that we conduct coalition governments now, and certainly you’ll see that I think we will make sure that we run a very efficient, effective government.
- Well, of course it all depends on proactive a government is. When you have a market economy, it all comes down to whether or not you acknowledge where the market has failed and where intervention is required. Has it failed our people in recent times? Yes. How can you claim that you’ve been successful when you have growth roughly 3% but you’ve got the worst homelessness in the developed world? How can you claim that growth is making people feel prosperous when most people’s incomes aren’t keeping up with inflation? So the measures for us have to change. We need to make sure that we’re looking at people’s ability to actually have a meaningful life and an enjoyable life where their work is actually enough to survive and to support their families. [...] We campaigned on the tweaks that we believe are required, but on my measure, if you have hundreds of thousands of children living in homes without enough to survive, that’s a blatant failure. What else could you describe it as?
- Oh, I’m ambitious that we eradicate child poverty. There should be no place in a wealthy society like ours for children to grow up without their basic needs being met.
- My expectation is that our families package, which we will be introducing as a matter of priority will have the effect of lifting tens of thousands of children out of poverty. From there, though, I want to establish clear targets. We’ve always said that we want them put in legislation, and every year we will then report, as part of the Public Finance Act, on how much progress we’ve made. So, I can say now that, yes, I wanted to match their 100,000, but I want incremental goals to hold us to account. In my mind, some of the targets that we’ve set ourselves, some of the goals that we measure ourselves on as a society, don’t take into account the effects on individuals, on their wellbeing. This will be a government that takes into account those markers, and the wellbeing of people will be my sign of success.
- My plan is to introduce the legislation – it’s already drafted – which sets out what our measures of poverty will be. That’s been an often-disputed issue. We will finally have some agreement that will be in law. From there, we’ll go ahead and set those targets. Certainly it will be a matter of priority, but the legislation comes first.
- [I]t’s not just KiwiBuild. For us, it’s also making sure that we start building those state houses again; we’ve lost stock. And we’ve set ourselves a goal of at least 1000 a year. First step for us is getting a form of affordable housing commission up and running. [...] Before you are able to start getting the hammer out, you’ve got to make sure that we’re able to do the overall planning that will be required.
- I have an expectation that there’ll be a cooling in the existing market. But as I say, our view that we absolutely maintain is that we’re bringing on-stream a section of the housing market that is undersupplied and that we don’t expect to see a dramatic drop in people’s housing values. [...] At the moment it’s cooling because we’re seeing potentially that easing off by meeting the fact that we’re easing off a bit of demand. It’s not clear whether or not that will be sustained. We believe that if we want to make sure we’re addressing the issues we have, it is about addressing supply as well.
- The sweet spot is acknowledging that we have pressure on our infrastructure. And I think, actually, that is common ground between all parties that will form this government because there is undoubtedly strain based on the fact that we have had a government that’s entire growth agenda has been based on population growth rather than focusing on making sure that we move to a productive economy. Our view is that it is about the settings. It is about making sure that we are meeting the skills gaps that we have – and we do have them in New Zealand – meeting those skills gaps by making sure that we are undertaking those work tests, by making sure that our export education industry isn’t exploiting people, and by making sure that people on temporary work visas aren’t exploited either. That’s the area we’re focused on, and there’s agreement there.
- On her immigration policy.
- If that’s the way you want to describe a government that’s going to be active and focused on making sure that we have jobs in our regions, that we have infrastructure that’s well supported and that we’re growing our economy by ensuring that we are investing in our people, then that might be the way you describe it. I describe it as a proactive government – one that’s focused on people.
- About if her administration will going to implement a economic nationalist policy.
- No, not necessarily. Not necessarily. I think there’s nothing wrong from saying that, actually, there are interventions that are required and that we should be making sure that we are focused on generating well-being for New Zealanders.
- On if she thinks that economic nationalism has negative connotations.
- [Y]ou’ll see absolute agreement between our parties on the need to improve water quality. For us, it was all around the way that you reach that goal. You’ll see in our final agreement the consensus we’ve reached in that area, but it is fair to say Mr Peters advocated strongly on that issue.
- Look, our policy has been to cease the ongoing investment in those irrigation schemes. But where they already exist, we absolutely accept that there is a role that they have now been built into the well-being of those areas and regions, but those subsidies will not continue. [...] Of course, the issue of the water royalty was about questions around water use and land use and putting a price on that. But, equally, issues around nutrient levels and the standards that are applied to water quality are incredibly important as well. Enforcement’s incredibly important. Those were elements that we also talked about during the campaign that just didn’t generate quite as much discussion. We’ve formed a view collectively around what requires emphasis and focus if we are to lift our water quality in New Zealand and make sure that our rivers are just swimmable again. Bottom line, though – if you stop polluting rivers, they heal themselves.
- On subsidising irrigation schemes.
- All of us have agreed that if we want to make sure we make progress on the enormous challenge of climate change, that we do need an independent body that is holding the New Zealand Parliament to account on the progress that we’re making, to the goals that, actually, we’re all signing up to. So, yes, we all agree an independent climate commission – one that gives us guidance, that actually suggests whether or not we’re following our own carbon budgets and whether we’re on track to the collective goal we’ve set ourselves of net zero carbon emissions by 2050, that we’re on track to achieve them. So, again, that guidance really helps bring together consensus on how we’ll achieve that goal. [...] We’re building the commission together. That’s something we designed together. I think you’ll find, though, that once you’ve got the goal in place, it all then comes down to the mechanism. And we can have a conversation around mechanism, but as long as we’re all signed up to the fact that we are collectively focused on the goal of net zero carbon emissions by 2050, everything else then just becomes your mechanism to deliver that goal. The climate commission will play a role in that; carbon budgets will play a role in that; the Net Zero Carbon Act will play a role in that. We’re all committed to each of those elements.
- I need to play to the strengths of the team we have together. No one will question the strengths that the Green Party bring to this issue. Nor will they question the dedication that the Green Party will bring to this issue. My focus was bringing the best talent to the table, giving jobs to those who bring a huge amount of experience and making sure I utilise that best. That was my focus. [...] Because, as Prime Minister, I’m committed to climate change. Regardless of whether I hold that portfolio or not, this is an issue I’m absolutely dedicated to. I will work closely alongside the minister who holds that portfolio. But just because that minister sits outside of cabinet is not a reason in my mind to deprive them of the opportunity to use the experience they bring.
- On if the Climate Change Minister will going to be in cabinet.
- I preside over a government that is made up of three independent parties who have built consensus around the issues we will collectively pursue. The fact that we will work together collaboratively does not diminish the identities of those parties. There are a number of reasons why confidence and supply is a form of arrangement that will suit the needs of particular parties and why others will prefer coalition. I have no trouble, and I do not question my role or authority simply by allowing a party to speak to that issue themselves.
- On why the Greens are outside of cabinet.
- [B]lock Offers and their popularity have diminished over time. It’s become less economic, particularly for offshore. We’ve been clear that we need to ensure we’re moving towards just transitions. It is a process for New Zealand to acknowledge that our future is not in fossil fuels. [...] It’s not where our future lies, but my plan is to transition our regions, not to jar them.
- Look, the moment that you’re sitting at a table, you’re acknowledging that you’re going to give up seats, that you’re going to— In some cases, actually, where you agree, you’re going to give up acknowledgement of that fact that your policy’s very similar; you intended to do the same thing. But you’re acknowledging that other parties share those ideas and that they’re the ones that prioritised it and therefore they’ll be the ones acknowledged as having delivered it.
- Change is not a sentiment, although it certainly can start to feel that way in the midst of a campaign. The change we were talking about was meaningful. It was change for people’s lives for the better. It was about decent housing, being able to go to the doctor when you need to, being able to swim in a river. It was meaningful, material change.
- For me, the measures of success will be both environmental and social. What I’d like to see us do is as a nation have a set of measures that we use consistently so that the public can hold us to account. But as I’ve also said all the way through this campaign, the measure of success to me is not how a financial commentator or an economic commentator from abroad views New Zealand, but how a New Zealander feels about their state of affairs, their hope and chances for the future.
- Oh, do you know, I actually had a good working relationship with a range of their members before going into those talks. It certainly provided an opportunity to spend more time with Mr Peters. His absolute focus on policy outcomes was impressive. I also have a great affinity for the passion that Tracey Martin has for children’s issues and education — a lot of common views in that area between us too.
- On the New Zealand First caucus.
- [A] leader of a party knows their people best.
- Whilst I cannot give any confirmation at this stage around fatalities and casualties, what I can say that it is clear that this is one of New Zealand's darkest days.
Clearly what has happened here is an extraordinary and unprecedented act of violence.
Many of those directly affected in this shooting may be migrants to New Zealand. They may even be refugees here. They have chosen to make New Zealand their home and it is their home. They are us.
The person who has perpetuated this violence against us, is not.
They have no place in New Zealand. There is no place in New Zealand for such acts of extreme and unprecedented violence, which it is clear that this act was.
For now my thoughts, and I'm sure the thoughts of all New Zealanders, are with those who have been affected and also with their families. My thoughts are also with those who are in Christchurch who are still dealing with an unfolding situation.
- Her first address on the Christchurch massacre, reported in "One of New Zealand’s darkest days Jacinda Ardern condemns Christchurch mass shooting" One News New Zealand (15 March 2019)
- It is clear that this can only be described as a terrorist attack.
From what we know, it does appear to have been well planned. … There are currently four individuals who have been apprehended, but three are connected to this attack and are currently in custody, one of which has publicly stated that they were Australian born.
These are people who I would describe as having extremist views that have absolutely no place in New Zealand and in fact have no place in the world. … I have spoken this evening to the mayor of Christchurch and I intend to speak this evening to the imam, but I also want to send a message to those directly affected.
In fact, I am sure right now New Zealand would like me to share a message on their behalf too.
Our thoughts and our prayers are with those who have been impacted today. Christchurch was their home. For many, this may not have been the place they were born, in fact for many, New Zealand was their choice. The place they actively came to, and committed to. The place they were raising their families. Where they were parts of communities that they loved and who loved them in return. It was a place that many came to for its safety. A place where they were free to practice their culture and their religion.
For those of you who are watching at home tonight, and questioning how this could have happened here. We, New Zealand, we were not a target because we are a safe harbour for those who hate. We were not chosen for this act of violence because we condone racism, because we are an enclave for extremism. We were chosen for the very fact that we are none of those things.
Because we represent diversity, kindness, compassion. A home for those who share our values. Refuge for those who need it. And those values will not and cannot be shaken by this attack.
We are a proud nation of more than 200 ethnicities, 160 languages. And amongst that diversity we share common values. And the one that we place the currency on right now is our compassion and support for the community of those directly affected by this tragedy.
And secondly, the strongest possible condemnation of the ideology of the people who did this.
You may have chosen us, but we utterly reject and condemn you.
- The guns used in these terrorist attacks had important distinguishing features. First, big capacity, and also their delivery. They had the power to shoot continuously, but they also had large capacity magazines...
Today, I’m announcing New Zealand will ban all military-style semiautomatic weapons. We will also ban all assault rifles. We will ban all high-capacity magazines. We will ban all parts with the ability to convert semiautomatic or any other type of firearm into a military-style semiautomatic weapon. We will ban parts that cause a firearm to generate semiautomatic, automatic or close-to-automatic gunfire. In short, every semiautomatic weapon used in the terror attack on Friday will be banned in this country...
What we’re banning today are the things used in last Friday’s attack. It’s about all of us, it’s in the national interest and it’s about safety.
- March 20, 2019, at a news conference at Parliament in Wellington (Cave, Damien; Graham-McLay, Charlotte (March 20, 2019). "New Zealand to Ban Military-Style Semiautomatic Guns, Jacinda Ardern Says". The New York Times: p. A1. )