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World News

New Zealand Prime Minister Ardern surprised his abusive rival at the hot microphone

WELLINGTON, New Zealand — New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern was caught on a hot mic on Tuesday using a vulgarity against a rival politician in a rare misstep for a leader known for her debating skills and calm, measured responses.

After five years as prime minister, Ardern faces a tough election campaign in 2023. His Liberal Labor party won re-election two years ago in a landslide of historic proportions, but recent polls have put his party behind his conservative rivals.

The comment came after lawmaker David Seymour, who leads the libertarian ACT party, peppered Ardern with questions about his government’s record for about seven minutes during Question Time in Parliament, allowing for heated debate between rival parties.

As an aside to her deputy Grant Robertson, Ardern said what sounded like “He’s such an arrogant pr———” after sitting down. His words are barely audible on Parliament’s television but are just picked up in the background by his desk microphone. as Speaker of the House Adrian Rurawhe speaks.

Ardern’s office said she apologized to Seymour for the comment. Asked by The Associated Press for clarification, Ardern’s office did not dispute the comment. In an interview with the AP, Seymour said she used those words.

“I am absolutely shocked and amazed at his use of language,” Seymour said. “This is very unusual for Jacinda, and I have known her personally for 11 years.”

He said it was also ironic because his question to the Prime Minister had been whether she had ever admitted a mistake as a leader and then corrected it. “And she couldn’t give a single example of when she admitted she was wrong and apologized,” Seymour said.

Seymour said that in her text, Ardern wrote that she “apologized, she shouldn’t have commented, and that, as her mother said, if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say it”.

Seymour, who said he greatly admires some of Ardern’s political skills, said he responded to Ardern to thank her for her apology and wish her a very Merry Christmas.

ABC News

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