20 Jan 2023

Country facing more pain with or without Ardern - Christopher Luxon

10:54 am on 20 January 2023
Christopher Luxon

Photo: RNZ / Samuel Rillstone

The lives of ordinary people will not be changed by Jacinda Ardern quitting as prime minister, National leader Christopher Luxon says.

He told Morning Report the first thing that went through his mind when he heard of Ardern's decision was respect for the job she had done.

However, her decision has not changed anything for ordinary New Zealanders. This week had seen a record low level in business confidence and a 32-year high in food prices.

"It's going to get worse, it's going to get more painful and they need a government that's going to get things done for them so they can get ahead," Luxon said.

He said Ardern's move did not cement National as the favourite to win the election and he was focused on coming up with solutions for everyday New Zealanders.

Asked about the misogyny and vitriol that Ardern in particular has endured, he said politics was a robust environment and New Zealanders needed to maintain civility and respect when dealing with those who held opposing political views.

Luxon said while he was aware he was the subject of plenty of negative comments on social media, he chose not "to live on Twitter" and instead focused on the job at hand.

"There's people on all sides that have all sorts of different views that sound off but for me my identity is not tied up in what others are deeply thinking about me in that regard."

Asked if it was worse for female politicians he said he was unsure. It was sad that in some countries the polarisation had reached levels where those with opposing views could not have a conversation.

"We can have robust debate and discussion; we maintain civility for each other; we disagree strongly; we don't have to be disagreeable with each other personally.

"And that's a choice we all get to make here in New Zealand about how we want to carry ourselves and model that out to each other and our teams."

He had passed on his best wishes to Ardern yesterday and she responded by thanking him, he said.

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Commenting on the "minor reshuffle" he announced yesterday in which former leader Judith Collins was promoted from No 18 to No 10 in his lineup he said both Collins and another former leader Todd Muller who also moved up the rankings had performed well in the last year and deserved their promotions.

Both areas they were working in - technology and science for Collins and agriculture and climate change for Muller - would be critical for the country's future.

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