Jacinda Ardern skewers Kiwi reporter over 'misogynistic' question
New Zealand prime minister Jacinda Ardern didn't skip a beat when shutting down a Kiwi reporter on Wednesday who asked a press conference question that many people deemed strangely sexist and patronising.
Ms Arden was speaking to the media after meeting with Finish prime minister Sanna Marin when a journalist asked if the pair were meeting because they were of a similar age and had "stuff in common".
"A lot of people will be wondering are you two meeting just because you are similar in age and got a lot of common stuff there … when you got into politics and stuff," he asked during a joint press conference.
"Or can Kiwis actually expect to see more deals between our two countries down the line?"
Clearly taken aback, Ms Ardern, 42, was quick to shoot down the male reporter.
Interrupting, she responded: "My first question is whether anybody ever asked [former US president] Barack Obama and [former New Zealand prime minister] John Key if they ever met because they were of similar age.
"We of course have a higher proportion of men in politics — it's reality," Ms Ardern admitted. "Because two women meet, it's not simply because of their gender."
AAP's New Zealand correspondent Ben McKay described the retort on Twitter as a "complete kill shot".
Fellow journalists and members of the public took to social media to condemn the assumption embedded in the reporter's question, calling it "crass", "misogynistic" and "disrespectful to both leaders".
Ms Marin, 37, was also quick to dismiss the query, adding they were meeting because they were the prime ministers of their respective countries.
As one of the youngest world leaders, the finish PM has faced intense scrutiny at home about her party-loving social life, exacerbated recently when a photo leaked showing a pair of topless social media influencers kissing in the prime minister's official residence.
It is the first time a sitting PM has visited either country, with Ms Ardern pointing out that Finland exports into New Zealand $199 million worth of exports.
Ms Ardern said she particularly valued the insight of Ms Marin into the impacts of Russia's illegal invasion on Ukraine, given Finland shares a border with Russia. "We discussed our strong commitment to supporting Ukraine as the war continues. The conflict I'm very aware is literally on Finland's doorstep," Ms Ardern said.
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Ms Marin said the deteriorating geopolitical environment meant "we need to make sure that democratic countries are working together even more closely".
"We have to make sure that we have the trading routes, that we have cooperation also in the international fora that we need in the future even more so because we are also seeing the pushback of human rights," she said.
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"We are seeing authoritarian countries having their own ideologists in place and the situation is getting more severe.
"So we need democratic countries and the cooperation between democratic countries. The Nordic countries together, Australia and New Zealand we could tighten our cooperation so much more."
New Zealand hopes to bolster trade with the EU after agreeing a free trade agreement in June. Australia is also negotiating a similar deal but is yet to reach agreement.
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