New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s hair has been subject to jabs from political opponents, following an awkward TV interview and her partner’s innocent tweet.
Throughout the week, Ms Ardern has been asked about her hair and hit back at subtle jabs from the nation's opposition leader Simon Bridges making light of it.
The questions about Ms Ardern's hair started when her fiancé tweeted about helping her dye it at home and a presenter asking Ms Ardern if she was going grey.
Mr Bridges, the National's leader then told reporters: "There's no hair dye", after visiting the barber.
"Just saying," he added, as reported by various NZ media outlets.
Ms Ardern was then asked about the comment while in Rotorua on Tuesday, to discuss how New Zealand’s tourism industry will recover following the coronavirus pandemic.
“Probably I'm not alone in being someone in New Zealand who dyes their hair, so I think I'm in fairly good company,” she said.
Ms Ardern was defended by New Zealand’s Māori Development Minister, Nanaia Mahuta.
“The Prime Minister has been more worried about the substance of her character and I think that's what we will focus on,” Ms Mahuta said, according to the. NZ Herald.
Over the weekend, Ms Ardern’s fiancé tweeted about how he dyed the PM’s hair and how he helped cut their daughter’s hair, which lead the questions about her hair.
“Helped dye partner’s hair and gave daughter a haircut with scissors I bought at supermarket for $6,” Clarke Gayford tweeted.
“Remarkably both parties still talking to me.”
Helped dye partners hair and gave daughter a haircut with scissors I bought at supermarket for $6. Remarkably both parties still talking to me.
— Clarke Gayford (@NZClarke) May 17, 2020
Following the tweet, during a TV interview where Ms Ardern was forced to school a presenter after he asked if she was going grey.
“That’s not a polite question to ask, I was about to say a lady, but anyone, actually,” Ms Ardern told The AM Show’s Ryan Bridge, smiling.
NZ PM praised around the world
While her hair has become a focal point, Ms Ardern’s response to the coronavirus pandemic has been praised globally.
“Her messages are clear, consistent, and somehow simultaneously sobering and soothing,” The Atlantic wrote of Ms Ardern.
“And her approach isn’t just resonating with her people on an emotional level. It is also working remarkably well.”
It’s not just foreign outlets who have been impressed by the 39-year-old leader.
A Newshub-Reid Research Party Standings poll found Ms Ardern’s Labor Government is up by 14 points, with 56.5 per cent.
Meanwhile, the opposition leader, Mr Bridges, may not need hair dye, but he has been described as “politically a dead man walking”, as his National party slumped to a 30.6 per cent.
That figure is 13 points lower than National's last poll return and its result at the 2017 election, meaning roughly one in every three National voters has signalled they'll vote elsewhere in the September 19 election.
Ardern’s popularity won’t last, opposition says
Mr Bridges pointed out that incumbents around the world had enjoyed poll bumps in the wake of COVID-19, and Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern's poll supremacy wouldn't last.
"You go to Trump. You go to Boris. You go to anywhere in Australia," he said.
"In lockdown we've had wall-to-wall coverage of the government and the health aspects.
"But that's not an election campaign (when) we're going to to see things turn very much from the health response to the economic.
"National has the team, the track record and the plan under me to get New Zealand working again."
Newshub political editor Tova O'Brien described Mr Bridges' leadership as over, declaring him "politically a dead man walking".
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