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Q+AWith Jacinda Adern

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern acknowledges “there has been messiness” around the Derek Handley, Chief Technology Officer role saga.

“It has been upheld by the State Services Commission as being a robust process, but there’s no question; I mean, a minister has lost their job, and someone isn’t in post for the CTO role. Yeah, I absolutely acknowledge that there has been messiness around that.”

When asked by Rebecca Wright why she wasn’t more forthright with Mr Handley on it being inappropriate to engage about the job via text message, the Prime Minister said, ”I get quite a lot of correspondence emails, text messages. From time to time, I just don’t have the opportunity to individually respond.

REBECCA Do you wish that you’d done that now?

JACINDA Oh. Look, in hindsight, in this particular case, there are a number of things that of course I would’ve liked to have played out differently. But ultimately, I think the big question here is, ‘Was it dealt with appropriately?’ Yes, it was.”

On domestic issues dogging her government over the few past months, and whether political management would be more of a focus on her return to New Zealand, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said, “I’m constantly making sure that I deliver a government that is focused on its agenda, and, look, things around the edges can prove to be a distraction to that. And that’s not what I want.”

The Prime Minister was interviewed by Rebecca Wright for Q+A at the end of her visit to the United Nations and was asked why she seemed careful not to mention President Trump by name and whether she should have been more direct.

“But ultimately, the best way that we can put forward the agenda of the multilateral approach, collectivism, rules-based order, is by talking about the merits of that from our perspective, rather than singling any individuals out, because, actually, there are a range of different nation states who take a different view to us, and that’s not new.”

REBECCA And is New Zealand’s position to sort of stand on the sidelines for this presidency and this sort of era of politics at the moment?

JACINDA Well, I don’t think we are standing on the sidelines. I think we’ve given voice to our values, and those values are hugely important to who we are.

Please find the full transcript attached and you can watch the interview here.

Q+A, 9:30pm Sundays on TVNZ 1 and one hour later on TVNZ 1 + 1.

Streamed live at www.tvnz.co.nz

Thanks to the support from NZ On Air.

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