Duncan Garner: Jacinda Ardern could be forced to resign

Opinion 13/09/2019

Just six months ago, off the back of the tragic Christchurch mosque massacre, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern morphed into something resembling Mother Teresa, complete in her hijab.

She could do no wrong as she stood by, comforted, and cradled those left behind. Even her harshest critics said take a bow Prime Minister - it was Ardern at her best. Empathy in spades. Her re-election guaranteed. 

But how the mighty fall, and fall fast.

Empathy must be genuine and empathy must be more than a triumph of marketing and certainly more than a smile.

Actions have to follow. 

But in her case, they rarely do. 

Ardern has squandered a massive lead - like a racing car driver a lap ahead crashing into the side wall. I simply can't say with certainty if Ardern is going to walk away from this mass pile up. 

I can't rule out that she may be forced to resign as Prime Minister - and if you think that's a bit far-fetched then consider this - the parliamentary press gallery will now hunt and haunt her. They will not leave a stone unturned looking for the document, the person, the moment that proves she's not telling the truth. 

Ardern and Grant Robertson do appear to be hiding something, otherwise known as the truth. 

Robertson won't say what he knew. How cagey. How convenient. It's he that heads the Ardern protection racquet. Many are saying he's known for weeks and I find it impossible to believe he didn't tell the PM. He's not that incompetent. 

But let's say all her staff had heard it but didn't pass it on to her. They should be fired, as should Robertson. The list goes on.

If Jacinda really didn't know anything, then she should have, that could mean "resign". 

If she did and covered it up, also grounds to resign. You can't stand tall at the UN quoting the metoo movement but at home morph into a Prime Minister who simply took no interest in the serious complaints of a young woman. 

Ardern can claim she knew nothing, but the thing is I'm not sure anyone believes her. She's used five years of political capital in the space of this week alone and I genuinely believe it's not over for her yet.

Duncan Garner is the host of The AM Show.