Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s unparliamentary remark towards David Seymour has made headlines around the world with one calling it a “rare blunder”.
Ardern was heard calling the Act Party leader an “arrogant prick” as she took her seat in Parliament yesterday afternoon, following questions in the House of Representatives.
Seymour told the media afterwards that the Prime Minister had apologised to him via text message.
The Guardian’s Eva Corlett called her “the latest leader to fall victim to a hot microphone” following US president Joe Biden and South Korea president Yoon Suk Yeol, who had also recently been caught out swearing on a live mic.
In January, Biden appeared to think his microphone was off when he called a Fox News reporter, Peter Doocy, “a stupid son of a b****” for asking a question about inflation, Corlett reported.
In September, after speaking with the US president at the United Nations general assembly in New York, Suk-yeol was caught saying: “How could Biden not lose face if these f****** do not pass it in Congress?”
He was referring to an attempt to increase the US contribution to the Global Fund to Fight Aids, Tuberculosis and Malaria.
Associated Press’ Nick Perry called Ardern’s words “a rare blunder” for a leader known for her skill at debating and calm, measured responses.
The Telegraph’s Roger Maynard called Ardern’s remark, “the colourful turn of phrase”.
Meanwhile, Sky News Australia’s Joseph Huitson took a hit at Ardern and Labour government’s declining popularity.
“Ms Ardern is down to 29 per cent, marking her worst approval rating since coming into office in 2017, and slowly bridging the gap for Nationals leader Christopher Luxon as preferred prime minister.”
Quoting the latest 1News/Kantar poll, Huitson reported “the Labour Party has dropped one per cent to a 33 per cent primary vote, behind the National Party - Labour’s main opposition - which now leads on 38 per cent”.
“The results put Ms Ardern’s government at risk of losing the majority at next year’s election with the Nationals and ACT now projected to secure 64 MPs, more than the 61 required.”
Talking to the media, and referencing time when he had been called names by Labour MP Willie Jackson, Seymour said: “Some days I am a useless Māori, others days I am an arrogant prick.
“The apology we are really looking for is for New Zealanders worried about rising prices and ram raids.
“Jacinda Ardern texted me and said, ‘I apologise, it’s not something I should have said and she said, as my mum would say, if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say it’.
“I agree with the sentiment and it is all good as far as I am concerned. I just said, thank you and I hope you have a very Merry Christmas. At the end of the day, it’s not the end of the world.”
Seymour told Newstalk ZB’s Heather du Plessis-Allan he’d been called worse, and he actually saw it as “a victory”.
“I asked her the question... before she said it... can she give us one example where she’d made a mistake, admitted it, apologised and fixed it.
“She couldn’t answer the question which is probably why she was a bit flustered... the great irony is now I actually have got her to apologise for something. So that’s progress. I just wish she’d apologise for a few other things.”