Jacinda Ardern forced to apologise after hot mic catches her calling rival ‘arrogant pr***’

Her words are now part of parliamentary record

Shweta Sharma
Tuesday 13 December 2022 16:40 GMT
Jacinda Ardern calls opposition party leader an ‘arrogant pr***’ on hot mic

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New Zealand prime minister Jacinda Ardern was put on the spot by a hot mic that caught her calling her rival an “arrogant pr***” – a disparaging remark that was broadcast on parliament television.

Ms Ardern, known for her oratory skills and sharp critiques, was forced to later apologise after she made the comment during question time in parliament on Tuesday.

The leader of the opposition libertarian Act party, David Seymour, was bombarding her with questions, including asking for an “example of her making a mistake, apologising for it properly, and fixing it”.

The prime minister stood up and responded to the question by saying her government had managed isolation of Covid patients and said the administration will do things differently if it was confronted.

She said she stood by the work her government had done over the past term.

Following the comments, Ms Ardern resumed her seat and could be heard saying, “He’s such an arrogant pr***”.

Her words were barely audible in the Parliament TV broadcast and missed by most MPs sitting in the House, but were picked up in the official transcript of the debate, which means they are now part of the parliamentary record.

Ms Ardern’s office said she apologised to Mr Seymour for the comment.

“I’m absolutely shocked and astonished at her use of language,” Mr Seymour told the Associated Press.

“It’s very out of character for Jacinda, and I’ve personally known her for 11 years.”

“And she couldn’t give a single example of when she’s admitted she’s wrong and apologised,” he added.

“Jacinda Ardern text me [sic] and said, ‘I apologise. It’s not something I should have said.’ And she said, ‘As my mum would say, if you don’t have anything nice to say don’t say it at all.’ I agree with the sentiment, and it’s all good.”

The prime minister’s gaffe comes ahead of a tough election campaign in 2023. Her liberal Labour Party won re-election two years ago in a historic landslide but recent polls put her party behind its conservative rivals.

She is not the only world leader who was caught on hot mic, leading to an embarrassing situation. In January, Joe Biden called Fox News reporter Peter Doocy “a stupid son of a b****” when he asked the president a question about inflation.

In September, South Korea president Yoon Suk-yeol used profane-laced language while referring to US lawmakers.

“It would be so embarrassing for Biden if those f***ers at the National Assembly don’t approve this [bill],” he was caught saying in a video posted by South Korean television broadcaster MBC on its official YouTube channel. Mr Yoon’s administration went on the defensive and called the reports “untrue”.

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