It's a pity when a New Zealand leader rises to deliver their statement to the United Nations General Assembly that there aren't many people around to hear it.

Truth is, in the order of things, we're not a power broker, we're a blip on the radar screen at the bottom of the Pacific. We usually get a speaking slot late in the day and this year was no exception with Jacinda Ardern walking to the podium after 9pm, New York time. But unusually she at least got a slot on the first day of Leaders' Week rather than the last, a time when most have already packed their bags and headed home.

Tradition has it that as host nation the American President gets the second speaking slot, always to a packed, amorphous auditorium. Unlike last year, at least Trump was on time for his slot this year and unlike the last time he wasn't laughed at as he proclaimed he was the best leader to ever occupy the White House.


But it was as though this usually highly energised leader had taken a tranquilliser as he rose to deliver what was an American evangelical sermon. What he said clearly had Ardern's speech writers sitting up and taking notice, not that his message should have come as any surprise to them.

He left leaders in no doubt, the United States is a law unto itself, it's on its own as the President insists it should be.

Here beginneth the lesson: "If you want freedom, taken pride in your country, if you want democracy, hold on to your sovereignty and if you want peace, love your nation. Wise leaders always put the good of their own people and their own country first. The future does not belong to globalists, the future belongs to patriots."

Certainly Trump's been true to that view but whether he's made America Great Again in the eyes of the rest of the world is debatable.

Contrast that view to Ardern's and you can see why she was dubbed "The anti-Trump" in her Vogue magazine outing last year. She told those who stayed around to listen that our globalised, borderless world asks us to be guardians, not just for our people but for all people.

She posed the question, what if we change what "us" means? "Instead of fierce nationalism or self-interest, we seek to form our tribes based on concepts that can and should be universal. What if we no longer see ourselves based on what we look like, what religion we practise or where we live but instead by what we value?

Yep humanity, kindness and a sense of connection where we all look after each other, regardless of where we live, all got the tick in her well-being mix.

The difference between these two is stark which probably goes some way to explaining why an invitation for Ardern to visit the White House wasn't forthcoming this week.


Her faultless performance though slotted nicely into what the United Nations is meant to be about: united. His monotone was unapologetically about nationhood and little else.

But the reality is, a nice New Zealand, much more so than America, has to embrace the global village - it's called economic survival.