Jamie Mackay runs The Country...on the radio.

Jamie Mackay: No, Jacinda is not 'a sad example to all women'

Jacinda Ardern's pregnancy announcement got one listener up in arms on The Country. Photo / Dean Purcell
Jacinda Ardern's pregnancy announcement got one listener up in arms on The Country. Photo / Dean Purcell

Perhaps it's a generational thing but as an ageing Baby Boomer I'm not a huge fan of social media.

Whilst acknowledging it's the most powerful social network of all, the whole Facebook thing still leaves me a bit cold. Being asked to befriend people I hardly know or look at posts of what muffin someone's having with their coffee is not my cup of tea.

Having said that I must confess to being an avid user of Twitter which I find to be the most immediate news source someone working in the media can use.

The beauty of Twitter is you can follow who you choose without them having to 'friend' you, as can be the case on Facebook. I largely follow news and sports organisations, interesting people and politicians. The latter two, somewhat surprisingly, are not mutually exclusive.

For example, last week former Prime Minister Helen Clark tweeted:

"Dramatic days in Cape Town, South Africa. The city is forecast to run out of water on 12 April after 3 years of severe drought. This has devastating consequences for human health & services. All the world's cities need to be resilient & sustainable."

With parts of our country being gripped by drought (at the time of writing), this was good old fashioned United Nations common sense from the former Mother of the Nation, Helen. Agreeing with her wholeheartedly, I retweeted her tweet and couldn't help but add my two cents worth, in the hope some of my friends in the Green Party might just get the message. My reply was simple:

"How about a novel idea. Let's build some dams to store and harvest water #WTFhappenedtoRuataniwha?"

Then Helen 'liked' my tweet! While it's been the highlight of my very limited social media career, it just reinforced some sound thinking from a very sound mind (Helen's not mine).

When I look around the world at some of the despots, dictators and dicks running countries far larger and more powerful than ours, some of whom are also particularly active on Twitter, I think we should be thankful for the stable government we've long enjoyed. And that's regardless of your political persuasion.

Not since Rob Muldoon lost the plot with his drunken snap election decree and subsequent sulk in 1984, have we suffered from any form of unstable leadership. We rounded out the millennium with David Lange, Geoffrey Palmer, Mike Moore, Jim Bolger, Jenny Shipley and Clark.

I've been in the privileged position of conducting a weekly radio interview with the Prime Minister of the day since 2000. History will judge Clark and John Key kindly. Bill English never got enough time in office to prove what a good PM he could have been and it's too early to judge Jacinda Ardern, although she does join Lange and Key as the only members of the Celebrity PM Club.

However, not everyone agrees about Jacinda's celebrity status, let alone her marital status!

We get some weird social media and text traffic on our radio show. Criticism, sometimes harsh, is part and parcel of working in the public eye. Over the years you develop a thick skin and it's mostly water off a duck's back. However, occasionally you do get one that surprises even the most hardened of campaigners.

Here's a text I got from a bloke called Michael, in all its unedited glory, following on from what he deemed to be a soft interview with the PM.

"U such a Slimy Socialist snake Jamie,,, why didn't u didn't ask your Leader why she Pregi and NOT married,,, a Sad exampl to all women and the World,,,".

As one of my work colleagues so eloquently put it, did that text arrive via a mobile phone or carrier pigeon? Commentary like that belongs in the 19th century.

There's an old saying in the media, that's even more applicable for politics. You can't please all of the people all of the time. The PM and I obviously displease Michael.

Call me a slimy socialist snake Michael, but I'm with Jacinda on this one.

Jamie Mackay is the host of The Country which airs on Newstalk ZB and Radio Sport, 12-1pm, weekdays. jamie@thecountry.co.nz

- The Country

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