Who Is Jacinda Ardern? A Rundown on The New Zealand Prime Minister Creating A Fossil Fuel Free Future

Jacinda Ardern is young – the youngest female ever to be elected leader of a nation. She’s charismatic. She’s here to wipe New Zealand’s fossil fuel use off the map. In the light of the recent announcement that she will be banning offshore drilling in New Zealand, let’s have a look at exactly who this leader is, and where she’s come from.

Image Credit: Derek Henderson | Vogue

She Was Raised Mormon

Ardern was raised Mormon. Growing up in a small community on New Zealand’s north island, she attributes many of her characteristics to her Mormon upbringing; her earnestness, her ballsy-ness. She told the Sydney Morning Herald, “I don’t mind door-knocking for politics… Because nothing is as hard as door-knocking for God!” She left the church in her early 20s, but there’s been no bad-blood between her and her family over it.

Her Partner is a Radio and TV Presenter/ Fishing Enthusiast

Image Credit: @NZClarke Twitter Account

The First Man of New Zealand is Clarke Gayford. The pair met when Gayford wrote an angry letter to Ardern about the erosion of privacy proposed by the Government Communications Security Bureau Amendment Bill in 2013. They met for coffee, bonded over shared taste in music, and then the pair embarked on Ardern’s first ever fishing trip. Gayford’s fishing obsession runs deep; he originally scheduled his radio presenting in the mornings, so that he could fish in the afternoons. He also currently hosts a documentary series called Fish of the Day.

She Swapped Parenting Tips With Obama

Ardern is currently six months pregnant, but it’s not going to stop her political plans. She’s going to take only six weeks maternity leave, before returning full-time to the role as PM. In the wake of this, when meeting Obama for the first time, Ardern asked about managing guilt and the work-family balance. According to The Guardian“He just talked about the things you can do. Just to do your best, and that there will always be elements of that [guilt] in the roles that we do, and probably to a certain degree just accepting that; but we are still doing our best.”

She’s Trying to Tackle Climate Change 

Under her leadership, New Zealand has become one of the first countries to ban future offshore oil and gas exploration. While this is largely a symbolic move, as New Zealand is not a major oil producer, it speaks volumes of Ardern’s climate change policy. The move is controversial, of course. The opposition National Party dubbed it, “Economic Vandalism”. However, the decision falls directly in line with her government’s aim to reduce gas emissions to zero by 2050. While New Zealand has comparatively low carbon-emissions compared to larger nations like America and China, Ardern told Vogue,“We’re surrounded by island nations who will feel the brunt of climate change. So I see us as having a responsibility.”

So far, so good for this New Zealand PM. She seems like a cool lady I am sure to be watching her career as it progresses.