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tv   Jacinda Ardern talks to BBC News  BBC News  April 29, 2018 3:30am-4:01am BST

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this is bbc news. these are the headlines: after friday's historic summit between north and south korea, us president donald trump says his meeting with the north korean leader, kim jong—un, could happen in the next three to four weeks. mr kim has promised to invite us experts to watch the closure of the country's nuclear test site next month — that's according to the south's presidential office. more than 30,000 people in the spanish city of pamplona have protested against the conviction of a group of men for sexual abuse rather than rape. it's been the third day of demonstrations. protesters say the verdict is too lenient, and sets a dangerous precedent for gang—rape cases. there have been more mass demonstrations against corruption in armenia, with the protest leader rallying support for his bid to become prime minister. the parliament is due to choose a new prime minister on tuesday. the ruling party says it won't nominate a candidate in an effort to ease tensions. those are the main headlines, but
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coming up next, new zealand's prime minister, jacinda ardern, talks to bbc news. at 37, jacinda ardern is the world's youngest female political leader. she will give birth injune and although she admitted she was concerned it would adversely affect her poll ratings, in fact, it has done quite the opposite. new zealand has been gripped byjacinda mania... chanting. ..which has now gone global. such is her high profile, you would be forgiven for thinking she'd been in office for some time but she has only been in the post for six months. can i take you back to a year ago? so much has happened since. i barely remember a year ago. the deputy leader of the opposition, trailing in the polls... 0nly just. i think i was made deputy leader in march of last year. so tell us about the moment for you, when you're asked to take over leadership of the labour partyjust before the election? andrew was our leader and i remember it vividly.
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it was the 26th ofjuly, my birthday, and we got an internal poll through saying we were not doing well. and he called me into his office and said, "look, i think maybe we should think about whether you should do this," and i said, "absolutely not. you need to hang on." so, over the next couple of days, i thought about it and i consistently rebuffed the idea. why? why was that your first reaction, no? because i thought with seven weeks out, he had managed to bring the team together and i knew he would be a good leader. he was a good man. and i also worried about the instability. seven weeks out — what will we look like if we are suddenly changing things up? but he made up his own mind. but on the morning of the caucus, i was told within a couple of hours that he was going to stand down and the caucus unanimously voted me in. did you worry about yourself? did feel instinctively you could grab the opportunity? i knew i could and i knew i had to. probably if you're going to worry about yourself, you do it the moment you enter politics.
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a challenge women face is imposter syndrome. my favourite high school teacher was the first want to teach me about what it was. i could not believe someone as extraordinary as him suffered from it and as soon as i recognised it in myself, it was easier to recognise it and see for what it was and we talk openly about it. i wonder if it was an advantage, that you are thrust into it... absolutely. would i put my hand up for it, probably not. you are unexpected and everyone was dealing with someone new and fresh and different. it was a circuit breaker. it meant the election started on the ist of august when i was elected, we went straight into campaign mode. it was probably a circuit breakerfor us. unlike other people's commentary, i do not place all of what happened on the period on our shoulders. it was the foundation of labour for me and we just happened to use it. you did a coalition with a party that is fundamentally different from yours.
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they are more right wing, more nationalistic. was it uncomfortable for you to do that deal? i would describe them as centrist. they had been in a governing arrangement with national and labour before. and our deputy prime minister, he was foreign affairs minister within a labour government in 2005—2008, so that wasn't a new relationship. you can see we have an agreement, a coalition, and the confidence of supply and both of them, the green party and new zealand first, the same statement at the beginning, to transform our economy, oui’ environment to make sure it is clean, green and sustainable and support the well—being of our people, we all agree on that. was there one thing when you said to winston peters, leader of new zealand first that you were the person? you would have to ask him that. you can see in this speech he made when he made his decision, though i found out on the television that i would be the prime minister, with everyone else.
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0ur perception was the people of this country, regardless of what a lot of people say, did want change and we have responded to that. he talked about people having been failed over the last ten years and that is when i knew it would probably be us. that is remarkable. so you were watching television and you thought, "i am going to lead this country." how was that? it was... what happened inside? it was quite an overwhelming moment because unlike an election night when you can see the build up and where the numbers are going, it was just bang — one sentence. i was standing in the office surrounded by my team, and my partner was there, trying to capture the moment. i had my hands on my face for most of it i think, probably, in nervous anticipation. it was extraordinary. it went from there immediately to planning for finalizing our negotiations. we literally took four days between me and swearing the government
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in and it was very fast. and so, by the time i got home, at "pm, i celebrated with a pot of noodles in my flat. so there has been no time for pause. can i ask about your upbringing? you were raised in a mormon family. i was. i wonder how much you have brought not only to your leadership but the life you lead now? no doubt. no question. i think it is hard to separate out the origin of your values between when you learn of your parents and caregivers — even what religion you are exposed to. i think probably it has given me my focus on serving, and probably social justice and probably guilt as well. mormons aren't known for their love
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of family and community. with this baby, i wonder how you feel about this notion of it takes a village to raise a child? i see it as a necessity. it will be clarke and i. because it will be clarke, he will be the primary caregiver, but we lean on others. we are lucky to have a wonderful family and mothers but it is fantastic. we have been at the commonwealth head of government meeting and there are certain places that are hosting meetings in the future and places, particularly in the pacific, where we can bring the baby and we are great with children. bring the child and we will take care of them. it will take an international community to raise the child. have you started having this difficult negotiations? are you going to wait and see how it is? we will see how we roll. we do not have any expectations. there is no point of me planning it to the nth degrees.
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i wonder about the pressure and when you have the baby and have to be almost all things to all people. you have to be an earth mother, for others you have to be the strong minister who is in charge and a career woman. do you feel that? i think every woman feels that. i am not alone. i think any woman who i talk to, whether in work or stay—at—home mother, they'd feel the expectation to be the other thing. so that is not new. it is slightly different for me because people know that i have to be the prime minister. so there is less guilt and not because i have this existing responsibility so the weight and choice is removed. i have to be all things. one thing i am keen to re—emphasise is that i am no superwoman. nor should any woman be expected to be a superwoman. we achieve what we achieve through grit, determination, and help. who will run the country
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when you are on maternity leave? that will be the deputy prime minister. winston peters. what do you say to people who did not vote for him but voted for you? 0ur politics are different from yours, but it is a coalition and confidence supply government. we build as we go. there is no piece of legislation i can pass without having the support of those partners, and that is how we operate on a day to day basis. we have strong relationships and i have absolute faith, i really do. we have an excellent relationship and communicate with one another and will continue to do so when i am on leave as well. you'll probably be online in the middle of the night when you up with the baby, i imagine. probably. you find all those questions about the baby intrusive — they are very personal? not at all. when you are only the second person in the world to have a baby in office, of course it is going to be of interest. i do not mind that at all.
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what i hope is that someday in the future it will not be interesting any more. and do you feel a commitment to some of the honesty you have expressed and that's important for women as well? i don't know how to be anything else. maybe that is one of the benefits of coming into politics without this particular ambition to be in leadership is that i find myself here and i have never had any particular facade — or, as some people would say, filter — and that is what i am most comfortable with. if there is some benefit for being honest about the experience to others, all be better for it. do you honestly say you did not want to be prime minister? you were voted in high school to be the most likely to be prime minister. was it not a burning ambition for you? no. i stand by every single interview i gave where people asked me
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about the leadership and i would say no. i stand by that. i had a view on this world that you cannot do everything and you cannot have family and be in that kind of position, and now i am having to prove that you can. do you think that women can have it all? i think they cannot but they should not have to do it alone, they do not have to be the sole charge to make it look easy. i do not agree. we will always juggle and we may carry guilt as we go but we do not have to do it all by ourselves. so the support of clarke is important. it absolutely is and i count myself lucky. is he looking forward to it? i think so. but probably because we don't know yet. who is getting more advice, because everyone knows he is going to be the primary caregiver but i wonder if people are approaching him in the supermarket and are telling him all of the... i get people who come to me
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and i have started telling them to go to clarke, and they do. so they will give me something and then rush off to tell him. a lovely thing is the number of people who have come up to us and said, "my partner stayed at home as well and he would never trade it for the world." and the number of people who have said that, i think there is a lack of exposure around partners who are choosing to be the caregiver. and we should create a movement of support for who takes on the role, be it woman or man. it is hard to remember a year ago, but what about this past week? emmanuel macron, chancellor merkel and you have been meeting with the queen and the royals and have been named one of time magazine's top 100 most influential people. your political star is shining so brightly right now. as someone said to me once, i remember when i was in the opposition and elevated to numberfour and a government minister came over to the other side
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of the house and said, "well done. there is only one place to go." perhaps that is the new zealander‘s approach to life — everything is a bit precarious, particularly when you are in politics — so i will use the political capital i have to do what i can to make change, but i do not expect it to stay. are you worried that you cannot match these expectations, which are now global? yeah, um, they will never be greater than my expectations of myself. what are your expectations of yourself? to use the time i have to make — just to be the best prime minister i can be in the three years that i have been given and not to take a view that everything i do is about maintaining a poll, because... so you don't look beyond three years? i think if you become too poll—orientated, you start making decisions for the wrong reason. i don't want to do that. yes, of course, i want to be in the position as long
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as i can to make the most change i can but i want to make decisions based on evidence and what is right. you would have been one of the only women in that room — most commonwealth leaders are men — how was the dynamic? do you know, iam — one should never get used to these things but i am. for a long time in politics, i'm used to being outnumbered. in fact, you know, when we were lining up, you know usually the seating arrangements for these opening ceremonies, you're used to a boy—girl arrangement. well, it's a bit hard when there's only three out of 53, so that does make mean you feel that extra weight on you and on your shoulders to make sure that you are promoting issues of gender equality and so on. but actually, what is really important is that we have more champions
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in that room that aren'tjust women. you believe in multilateral trade deals — president trump believes in bilateral trade deals. which do you think delivers more for the people? yeah, i mean, we see ultimately, um, operating within a rules—based system as our ultimate. that is the important part for us. and what we have seen in recent times is a slide towards protectionism, towards tit—for—tat. no—one wins in that scenario. but the people who lose the most are usually those that who of a size like new zealand, those who are the underdogs and so, for me, the ultimate, regardless of bilateral or multilateral trade agreements, is actually operating within the rules, because countries like new zealand suffer when we don't. prime minister, you went on a march, a women's march, but many people saw it as an anti—trump march, so what was it like when you actually met him? yeah, and you're right, i went there and spoke, actually, about the work we needed to do in new zealand around women's rights, so that was the platform i used it for because you know i do
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think there is a tendency given we've had the vote for 125 years, we've got a female a prime minister, governor—general, chief justice, for us to be slightly complacent. but not good representation on boards in new zealand. no, not on boards. we still have a huge amount of work to do in a number of areas but actually for me, a gender pay gap, women overrepresented in low—paid work, domestic violence, the everyday experience of women is something that i am very focused on. and so yes, sitting on an international stage, i am very careful to be mindful of our own domestic situation. absolutely encourage progress globally, but recognise that we've got to get our own house in order too. he's quite a man, though, president trump. hmm. what did you say to him? how was that meeting? i have learned not going to speak too openly about conversations with other leaders.
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we did not have a formal bilateral or any conversation directly about new zealand and the united states‘ relationship. we have a world now politically that's dominated by these sort of macho men and their populist policies — notjust president trump but you know, president putin, xijinping, duterte, 0rban in hungary. yes. how do you, from another political perspective, counter that incredibly strong global narrative? yeah, i do think that, you know, ultimately political leaders are — they are subject to their environment and they can either create that environment or they can capitalise on it. i do think that globally, we are in a position at the moment where there is this growing sense of insecurity. now, it's probably had a long lead time through globalisation, it's probably now been exacerbated by a changing technological environment where people's work feels precarious, their financial security feels precarious, and there's a real sense that they are perhaps looking to politicians to give them some answers. now, we can either respond to that
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with a message of fear, cultivating that idea that someone else is responsible for their problems and they can easily be solved by rolling back decades of change, or we can give a message of hope. you know, my view is that we have a responsibility, when we are in a position of power, to actually provide that security but not do it by stoking fear of others around them, and so, i take a different approach. how do you reach out to people who feel that they have been left behind? i do think that there are — some of these are political issues that we should have answered a long time ago. and i do think this is probably what the progressives are coming up against. they've. .. and do you see yourself as being aligned to leaders like prime minister trudeau of canada and others...? i'm a progressive, but i'm progressive in a new zealand context which will vary even in comparison to anyone else.
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i do get asked a lot, you know, "are you this person of a political leader? are you this person over here?" i wonder if anyone ever asks trudeau "are you a new zealand progressive?" but each of us will have our own way because we have our own domestic issues. but in new zealand, look, it is a housing crisis. it's that we have growing inequality. and, for me, it is actually practical. we need to give the solutions to those problems. and a third of children in new zealand live below the poverty line, which i think comes as a surprise to a lot of people. comes as a surprise yes. comes as a surprise in a wealthy country like new zealand, how do you explain to a child who doesn't have shoes to wear or lunch to take to school that this is the environment that they live in? well, you don't. you change the environment. and how are you doing that? it's about incomes. we have a low wage economy in new zealand. now, that's going to take a while to change and turn around but in the meantime, we have tools. you know, that's when we saw those numbers grow. that's because that's when our family benefit got cut. in the 2000s,
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we saw them go down, that is because we brought in tax credits. we're doing the same again. in ourfirst 100 days, we introduced a package that means over 380,000 families, low and middle income, will be $75 a week better off, and tens of thousands of children in poverty will be lifted out because of that. that was the first step, but it — we've got some way to go. do you think as a society new zealand has lost a sense of empathy? no! no, i don't. in fact, that's the thing that gives me hope. you know, we do have a homelessness crisis in new zealand and new zealanders do feel shocked by that. when surveyed prior to the election, two of the top issues during that election were homelessness and poverty, and ultimately, they voted for a change of government because of it. so, no, new zealanders have not lost their empathy. in fact, i think what they are looking for in this government is for us to finally become how we see ourselves. we see ourselves as clean and green, we see ourselves as a fair country where everyone gets a decent start, where we don't have status and rungs and no matter where you were born, you can achieve anything.
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i want us to be that in reality, and i think that is what new zealanders want too. i mean, some prominent new zealanders would disagree with you. taiki waititi, the director of thor, who is maori, has recently said new zealand is a racist country. he said we were the best country in the world but we were, but if anything, i am pleased we live in an environment where we can talk about that and, you know, i didn't disagree with taika. we do have issues. but we are a place that when we have them, we confront them. we don't let them fester. we try to resolve them. so, again, becoming the place we believe we are. how do you balance, as a prime minister, those competing agendas and your passion for the environment versus the demands of the economy? yeah, and i grew up in a small dairy farming town of 5,000 people and where dairy was, and remains, the backbone of that community. and i think the key here is again, to see — turn that challenge into an opportunity. you know, yes, we have had intensification. we've done some things to make sure that actually we make
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better land use decisions so there have been government subsidies for large—scale irrigation schemes. we've said no more to that. if something stands on its own two feet, then that is the way to make a decision on appropriate land use, and that won't always be dairy conversion, but we are a dairy nation which is why we should be the best, the most environmentally sustainable one, one that conscious consumers can say "i'm happy to buy that product because they are farming in such a way that is preserving the environment and is heading towards carbon neutrality." so 50% of our emissions in new zealand come from agriculture, so that means we have to get in front of the game and start developing some of the r&d that's needed to actually demonstrate to the world you can be a carbon—neutral farming environment. you inevitably might it pushback on that but also on this controversial offshore drilling ban, which environmentalists around the world have said
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is a huge success for the world. how do you respond, though, to the critics who say you've got this really ambitious social agenda that's costly and this is actually going to costjobs? well, i would push back and say it would cost us if we didn't make the decision now. westpac bank in new zealand did some work very recently that said if we get — if countries that get ahead of the climate change challenge actually will benefit through that leadership. whereas, it will cost if it's delayed. there are 4,500 people in new zealand directly employed through oil and gas exploration. now, if we say to that community, "look, we are going to allow the permits that currently exist to stand so nothing changes tomorrow, but we're giving you a 30—year lead time, we are stopping permits now, there are 50 out there that will run for many decades yet but we have to start transitioning." i grew up in the ‘80s. i saw what happened to communities
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when they didn't have a lead time for a large economic shift and it was jarring and it was brutal and i don't want that to happen so that's why we've got tomake the call now. prime minister, thank you so much for talking to us. thank you. yesterday we had a lot of cloud in the sky across much of england, thick enough to bring some rain as well. further north—west, showers developed through the day, but that cloud has been melting away as well. some passing showers in scotland, but a fine looking sunset here in 0ban. as the skies have cleared more over recent hours we have more pictures of the full moon being sent to us, spectacular shots from people out and about under those clear skies. clear skies, yes, but a chilly start to the day. for the early risers, frost patches to look out for in the rural areas of scotland. not quite so cold further south
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under this zone of thick cloud. most areas of cloud could be thick enough to give us a few spots of light rain on and off through the day. the best of the early morning sunshine again through western areas, but slow—moving showers will form again, particularly in northern ireland. later in the day we will see a band of rain moving in from the continent, bringing some wet weather to end the day across south—east england, with strengthening winds here making it feel particularly chilly. that wet weather will continue to extend across south—east england and east anglia as we go on through sunday night. 0n into monday. we are going to get this area of low pressure moving up from the near continent. the rain gets more extensive and the winds get colder and stronger. this is what is in the forecast on monday. heavy rain, a windy day with gales around the east coast, and it's going to feel cold, more like a february day than one in late april. so the wet weather is there. a bit of uncertainty as to how far west this band of rain will reach. there is the chance of seeing a few
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snowflakes mixed in with this and some sleet, mostly on high ground, above 200 metres of elevation. even that won't settle. it's mostly cold rain that will be falling, with those chilly winds. temperatures really struggling. highs in birmingham, five celsius. it is going to feel that cold. 0n into tuesday, that area of low pressure continues to feed cloud and bits of pieces of rain across eastern areas. another weather front moving in from the atlantic, bringing wet weather to northern ireland later in the day. in between these two systems the weather should be quite quiet on tuesday with some sunshine around. chilly where it is cloudy with the rain moving in, and in the best of the sunshine, temperatures climbing at least up into double figures fairly widely. looking at the outlook over the next few days and the week ahead, you will be pleased to hear once we have got rid of that chilly weather and the rain to start the week, the weather should improve. highs of 19 in london as we head towards next weekend. welcome to bbc news, broadcasting to viewers in north america
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and around the globe. my name is nkem ifejika. our top stories: signs of more progress: north korea says it will close its atomic test site and allow international inspectors to see its dismantelment. president trump confirms negotiations to set up his meeting with kimjong—un are under way — the talks could take place in may. and we are doing things and the meetings in the next three or four weeks will be important — the demilitarisation of the north —— of the korean peninsula. de—nuke!
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