Barry Soper: Adulation for Jacinda Ardern is never ending

There will be no end to it for several years, that’s the prediction.

The gooey outpouring of adulation for Jacinda Ardern is never ending.

Last week it came to a head in Waitangi where Ardern was held up an a peace icon, she had restored the day to one of celebration rather than commiseration.

The Prime Minister’s a genuinely nice woman, she knows how to engage with people and to put them at ease, not unlike John Key before her. It shouldn’t have come as any surprise to anyone then that she survived Waitangi not only unscathed but eulogised.

She spent more time there than any leader has done in the past, talking to and charming people who usually wouldn’t get within cooee of a Prime Minister. And the troublemakers on the lower marae didn’t get their day in the limelight.

She offered Labour on a plate, inviting them to hold the Government to its promises.

Given that National, in terms of Treaty settlements, has always done much better than Labour has, that could well be a fraught invitation. Getting the local, divided Ngapuhi tribe, the largest and poorest iwi to the Treaty negotiating table, will be one of her Government’s biggest challenges.

And she could well have made a rod for her own back. With a baby in tow, will she spend as much time at Waitangi next year, and without a settlement in the north, will they be any less impoverished next year.

Waitangi aside, the Ardern adulation will continue as the baby bump grows. An uninvited touch of the tummy by a woman at Ratana made the news and caused a fair level of debate about whether it was acceptable.

And then we have the gushy story about Ardern’s shopping expedition to a maternity store, after her office rang to make an appointment which the shop owner found odd considering the opening hours were on the shop’s website.

The owner was told Ardern may not turn up herself, a staffer could come to pick up some items. Five and a half hours after the shop closed for the day, a burly detective turned up to case the joint before Ardern herself appeared at the door which the owner described as overwhelming, really!

It’s clearly right up there with the real Queen grocery shopping after hours at Fortnum and Mason.

Unwittingly Ardern chose well to be outfitted with the shop owner telling her she’s only voted twice, once for Helen Clark and of course the other time for Ardern. And not to miss a business opportunity, Ardern and the owner are now featured on her shop’s website.

So the adulation will continue to flow. National may as well take the next 12 months off.

No Conspiracy Here