Glen Johnson on Jacinda Ardern’s Resignation: Le Monde Diplomatique
New Zealand journalist Glen Johnson, who is currently in Ukraine, writes on the resignation of Jacinda Ardern, the international acclaim she received for her handling of Covid, and the years of threats, vitriol and misogynist abuse she faced. The story is published by Le Monde diplomatique.
“Much of the focus around Ardern’s resignation has highlighted opposition from fringe far-right and anti-vaccination groups,” Johnson writes. “Such groups, however, obscure the real forces that sought to tear Ardern down: elements in the business community, the political opposition and the national media cultivated a highly toxic environment in which the radicals, often the poor, marginalised and downtrodden, would emerge. Hate was seeded and normalised across the country, with Ardern as its focal point.
“Ardern was subjected to a torrent of abuse, including threats of rape and murder, and her party bled support to the centre-right National Party. Police charged eight people with threatening to kill her, while the New Zealand Herald uncovered video of a person shooting her image at close range with a silenced rifle with telescopic sights. She will need a protection team for years to come.
“New Zealand has been subjected to an anti-democratic moment. As a (female) colleague at my former kiwifruit packhouse job put it, ‘I’m disappointed [that Ardern resigned]. I was quite happy with her and she was voted in by the people.’”
Johnson has been twice shortlisted for The Kurt Schork Awards for Excellence in International Reporting.
Original article by Glen Johnson, Le Monde diplomatique, February 2023.