Government Watch / Politics

New Zealand’s Icon of Liberal-Fascism Finally Collides with Political Reality

AMAC Exclusive – By Andrew Abbott

New Zealand

Not too long ago, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern was hailed by Western liberals as a model of successful left-wing governance for others to emulate. Now, with her Labour Party falling out of favor with voters heading into an election next year, Ardern’s only recourse has seemed to be doubling and tripling down on her left-wing authoritarian impulses, yet another sign of the fatal flaws in the “progressive” governing model.

Ardern first rose to power in New Zealand in 2017, becoming the youngest Labour Party leader in history and just the second female prime minister of the island country. A former president of the International Union of Socialist Youth, Ardern’s left-wing bona fides were clear from the start, and her government has unsurprisingly pursued one of the most left-wing agendas anywhere in the world. Soon after taking office, Ardern called capitalism a “blatant failure” – an ominous sign of things to come.

Hints of Ardern’s authoritarian side began to emerge in 2019 following the tragic Christchurch shootings in New Zealand that left 51 dead. Not content with merely enacting a series of stringent new gun laws, Ardern also demanded Big Tech companies restrict “extreme speech” – defined presumably as anything the left finds objectionable – in the name of “preventing terrorism.”

With the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, Ardern became one of the leading global faces of crippling lockdowns and draconian “zero COVID” policies. She proudly touted that New Zealand had the “widest ranging and toughest border restrictions of any country in the world.” New Zealand had long been considered one of the freest economies in the world, with a notably “hands off” government approach. The lockdowns represented a sharp departure from that philosophy. Nonetheless, her leadership in the early days of the pandemic was widely celebrated, with a domestic approval rating of 77 percent.

Initially, this strategy appeared successful in the sparsely populated, geographically isolated island country. From February 2020 to January 1, 2022, the number of active cases in the country never exceeded 4,000. Soon, however, it became clear that lockdowns were destroying the economy and were unsustainable over the long-term. At the same time, the world began to learn that the virus was, thankfully, not especially harmful to the vast majority of healthy people. The experience of countries like Sweden, which pursued a strategy of minimal lockdowns while protecting the vulnerable, showed that the lockdown strategy would likely only delay an inevitable surge of cases. Yet Ardern shut down anti-lockdown protests and labeled anyone who dared question her policies a threat to public health.

When the country began relaxing restrictions in 2022, COVID rates predictably exploded. While other nations were recovering and reopening, New Zealand was in crisis. Every day in 2022 surpassed the worst days in 2020 and 2021. Four times as many people have died in 2022 than in all of 2020 and 2021.

Ardern finally ended most restrictions in September 2022, but her fall from grace with voters was already complete. The country is still reeling from the unintended consequences of her severe lockdowns, with youth academic performance, mental health, and public safety all cratering under the weight of her pandemic policies. Still, some of Ardern’s most loyal supporters have expressed outrage at the decision to end restrictions.

Despite lifting the lockdowns, it’s clear that Ardern still harbors deep authoritarian impulses. Last month at the UN General Assembly, Ardern openly compared free speech to “weapons of war,” calling for the regulation of online speech. Even as she faced growing backlash for her policies at home, global elites applauded as Ardern openly and unreservedly voiced her support for government censorship.

It may well be the case that Ardern is simply setting herself up for her next career move – perhaps leading an international organization aimed at curbing free speech like the one she set up following the Christchurch shootings. Ardern’s approval numbers have plummeted, and she has gone from the most popular New Zealand Prime Minister in recorded history, with a +76 approval rating, to an all-time low of 30 percent. She is now trailing her top challenger, Christopher Luxon, who is currently favored to win in the country’s elections next year.

In Ardern’s case, global elites may swoop in to save her from complete disgrace and embarrassment. But for progressives elsewhere, the landing might not be so soft if they continue to alienate voters and discard long-established democratic norms and values.

Andrew Abbott is the pen name of a writer and public affairs consultant with over a decade of experience in DC at the intersection of politics and culture.

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james carlyle
3 months ago

She is a bona fide Communist as well as all the other descriptions in this article.

3 months ago

I bet New Zealand is indoctirnating it’s students with Marxist crap just like here in the US! Until the education system is stopped from this Marxist crap shoved down our kids throats, the left will continue it’s march thru the world, causing chaos and hurting millions of people! Everyone needs to wake up to this and STOP voting for ANYONE advocating these Marxist policies!!!

Mario Capparuccini
3 months ago
Reply to  Carol

Our nation crams the secular religion of Marxism down the throats of our grandchildren at taxpayer expense but the libs howl like wolves if we were to dare teach the Ten Commandments. Your comments are very much appreciated by me.

3 months ago
Reply to  Carol

New Zealand has been taking the Liberal road for a long time.

3 months ago

And i imagined there were places to run to that were immune to the virus of socialism. It seems clear now that there are none and that this disease must be fought on a local level.

Scott S
3 months ago

I fail to see the appeal of Socialism, Marxism, and/or Communism. Especially when these ideologys eventually end in Totalitarianism.How many attempts are necessary before the world’s citizens begin to wake up from their Hopes and dreams of achieving a Socialist Utopia.The obvious and undeniable truth is that these dreams, in reality, end as dystopian nightmares.Wake up people!!

3 months ago
Reply to  Scott S

When most people are unable to think in a critical fashion, they can not reason well enough to see the obvious dangers that either socialism or communism poses to them. They can’t “wake up” as you suggest, because they neither have the mental acuity nor the historical knowledge necessary to make an intelligent decision on the matter.

Knowledge and wisdom are the enemies of both socialism and communism, because they give the individual the ability to see the truth and avoid the danger. On the other hand, ignorance and a poor education are the best friends either socialism or communism, because the ignorant and the poorly educated have no means to understand what they are being sold. There is a reason the left in this country and elsewhere is so intent on dumbing down the younger populations. It makes them ripe targets for these destructive ideologies.

Ken Barker
3 months ago

Lots of would-be dictators “out there”. I’m thankful that the God who created and loves us is still on His throne, and responds to the pleas of righteous people.

3 months ago

Imagine being so dense you have to walk int a wall a dozen times before you figure out the wall is there. Read a world history books, examples are abundant explaining in detail how these “isms” don’t work.

Gunny Joe
3 months ago
Reply to  Jeb

When the schools or the elite have changed what history is taught, the way of the liberal will continue. Have we the American People allowed it to go to far? We have had good leadership, but not required the changing of the laws/regulations put in place by the liberal leadership that good leader replaced.

3 months ago
Reply to  Gunny Joe

Liberal teachers unions must be stopped or redirected to stop their insane curriculum and teach kids what’s important to have some character and knowledge.

Stephen Russell
3 months ago

Note how NZ Canada , Australia mirror the most Facist run states for lockdowns

3 months ago

Eventually, most people tend to see authoritarians they elect for what they really are. It’s just a matter of how much pain the people must endure before their eyes are finally opened to the truth of what they actually voted into power. No matter how well most authoritarians dress up their message of “shut up and do as you’re told or else” and pretend to be “for the people”, eventually they drop the pretense and show their true nature to the people they rule over. In the case of New Zealand, it just took a bit longer than most. However, in the end it seems enough of the population have finally wised up and now see the current PM for what she really is.

If the country is actually fortunate enough to be able to rid themselves of her iron-fisted rule in the upcoming elections and that of her party as well, they should count themselves extremely lucky. Most countries that follow this foolish path usually find themselves permanently stuck with the consequences of electing Socialists and adopting the policies of socialism. Should the people of New Zealand succeed in ousting Ardern and her party from power, then the long, hard work begins for undoing most of the draconian policies and laws that were put in place under her tenure. Simply ousting the PM, but leaving all the bad policies and laws in place would leave the door wide open to a future election of another authoritarian.

Philip Hammersley
3 months ago
Reply to  PaulE

So correct. Venezuelans woke up way too late!

3 months ago

Correct, as did the people of Argentina, Bolivia, and other socialist paradises all around the world that have seen their countries run into the ground.

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