Jacinda Ardern 'looking good' but not walking the talk - Simon Bridges

The AM Show 25/09/2019

National Party leader Simon Bridges is giving Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern top marks for effort and "looking good" on the world stage, but says she has secured no "real achievements".

Ardern's mega Monday in New York saw her speak at the United Nations Climate Action Summit, meet with Boris Johnson and Donald Trump, and release new details about progress on the Christchurch Call.

While Ardern said her meeting with the US President was "excellent" and they had a good discussion on trade and gun reform, the biggest announcements came regarding efforts to fight online extremism.

At the United Nations, it was revealed 31 new countries and two organisations have signed up to the Christchurch Call - the US isn't one of them - while algorithms used to find terrorist and extremist content will now be shared among social media companies. 

The Global Internet Forum to Counter Terrorism (GIFCT) - an organisation set up by Facebook, Microsoft, Twitter and Youtube to aid information sharing about terrorist content -  will become independent.

A blueprint has also been announced for collaboration between social media companies and governments after terrorist attacks has been devised.

But when asked to give Ardern's performance a grade, Bridges says she is coming up short.

"It depends what your criteria is. If it is effort and looking good out there, it is probably quite high. If it is real achievements, I think it is very low," he told The AM Show.

"Jacinda Ardern seeks to be a woke champion of the progressive left, but to do that, you've got to walk the talk.

"On the Christchurch Call, what have we got? We have got a committee."

Photo credit: The AM Show / Supplied.

Ardern's speech on climate change also attracted attention, with the Prime Minister saying no one had the "luxury of copping out". 

"Not those who deny climate change, nor those who believe it’s too far gone," she said in her keynote address to the UN Secretary-General's Climate Action Summit Private Sector Forum.

Trump's stance on climate change is murky, with the President promising to withdraw the United States from the landmark 2015 Paris Agreement, while also rolling back a number of Barack Obama's efforts to reduce the United States' emissions.

During her meeting with Trump, Ardern only made a brief mention of climate change. 

"I mentioned briefly the climate summit and referenced that and our participation, but not a long discussion," she said following the meeting.

Bridges said that isn't good enough and an example of Ardern's rhetoric not matching her actions.

"If you say, climate change, well she said that this is something no one has the luxury of copping out on, yet she did. When she had the chance to put things to the most powerful person in the world, the leader of the free world, who could make a difference, she didn't," he told The AM Show. 

The National Party leader has previously criticised Ardern for going overseas when domestic issues were pressing. But while he maintains there are many issues here she needs to deal with, on Wednesday he acknowledged she needed to be at the United Nations.

"I have been clear from the start on that. She should be there. I have been critical about small trips that I don't think move the dial for New Zealand. These are set pieces, she should be there."

Ardern will stay in New York for the next few days and speak at the United Nations General Assembly later on Wednesday.

The AM Show / Newshub reporter Jamie Ensor