Robertson defends Ardern against 'sexist bulls**t'

NBR contributor Matthew Hooton actually called her pretty good, not pretty vacant. But never mind.

Fellow Labour front-bencher Grant Robertson has taken to Facebook to defend Jacinda Ardern.

"I am sick to death of the ignorant, sexist bulls**t that my friend and colleague Jacinda Ardern has had to put up with in the past few weeks," he wrote in a Facebook post overnight (without the asterisks).

"Of course this is not the first time Jacinda or other female politicians have had to put up with this sort of archaic nonsense but it has reached a new level.

"Fresh from being described in the NZ Herald as Labour's 'show pony' (in an article about a survey of business leaders who rated her highly!) she has had to put up with being called a "pretty little thing" by a commentator on national television, and having an NBR article about her titled 'pretty vacant.' In Parliament the National Party MPs sneered and leered when she rose to ask a question this week," he wrote.

Ms Ardern was described as a "pretty little thing" by ex-League coach and Paul Henry show commentator Graham Lowe earlier this week.

Pretty good, not pretty vacant
In his latest "Weekly Hit" column, NBR contributor Matthew Hooton actually praised Ms Ardern's political skills and broad appeal – even if she's unlikely to put his comparison with the prime minister on her CV.

He noted Ms Ardern impressed business executives at The Herald's "Mood of the Boardroom" event and described her, in style, as the natural successor to John Key.

In a companion column, NBR politics editor Rob Hosking was less effusive. He saw her appeal as more superficial. "She has risen largely because she comes over well in the fluffier media – covers of the more fashionable women's magazines, breakfast television, that sort of thing. She goes over a storm on Twitter, Facebook and the social media generally," he wrote.

Mr Key has been a bit heavy on political garnish recently with his focus on Richie McCaw and the flag, Mr Hosking wrote, whereas "Ms Ardern, thus far, is all garnish." 

'Lazy misogyny'
Mr Robertson implied there was plenty beneath the topping.

"I have worked alongside Jacinda for the best part of a decade. She is intelligent, hardworking, engaging and a fundamentally decent human being," he said in his Facebook post.

"I had the privilege of following on from her working on youth employment policy for Labour. Her policy for the 2011 election was well thought out, developed in close consultation with young people, business, schools and training providers. It had practical ideas, big ideas (like Labour's Dole to Apprenticeship programme) and was well received. In 2014, building on the excellent work of Annette King, she devised our children's policy that included more groundbreaking policy initiatives (Best Start package) backed by evidence-based, practical leadership.

"But you won't hear about those things in the articles and theorising on her popularity. It's much easier to reach for lazy misogyny and pre-conceived bias. I am disgusted at what I have read. Kudos to those such as Hilary Barry and Vernon Small who have called out this behaviour.

"As politicians you develop a thick skin, and we should be held to account for what we say and do in our work. But no one deserves this kind of crap. Jacinda, I want to acknowledge you for what you do, who you are and how you carry yourself. You are an inspiration and it is a privilege to work alongside you."

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