Australia’s long-running current affairs show 60 Minutes aired a bizarre profile on New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern on Sunday night.
Veteran reporter Charles Wooley followed the PM to Waitangi, Parliament and to her home, grilling her less about her policies and more about her pregnancy.
Opening by asking how much she thinks the baby helps in terms of her approval rating, much of the 13-minute segment was either devoted to the impending arrival or fishing questions for “the first bloke” Clarke Gayford.
Charles Woolley is bloody painful. Was interested in the Jacinda Ardern interview on 60 Minutes but he made it cringeworthy.
— Reg Roberts (@RugbyReg) February 25, 2018
The line of questioning at times appeared to leave Ardern and Gayford visibly uncomfortable, especially when Wooley announced that there was one, “really important political question I have to ask and that is what is the date that the baby is due?”
When provided with the answer (“June 17”), he then proceeded to muse that “it’s interesting how many people have been counting back to the conception..as it were”. Cue bemused and anguished looks from the Kiwi couple, before Wooley, a father of six himself, added that “why shouldn’t a child be conceived during an election campaign?”
Clearly keen to move on, Ardern attempted to quash the line of questioning by emphasising that the “election was done, over” before the baby’s conception date.
In another segment, Wooley went out fishing with Gayford, seemingly only to allow him to make the suggestion that “Jacinda was the catch of the day”.
Spending as much time talking to the other man in Ardern’s life, Winston Peters, as Gayford, Wooley lavished praise on his main subject, highlighting her “no fuss, can do attitude”, her ability to “handle delicate relations with New Zealand’s ‘first nations’ people”.
His attempted joke that Ardern “was not just the messiah” appeared to fall flat with her, while his summation was that, “I’ve met a lot of prime ministers in my time, none so young, not many so smart and never one so attractive”.
Queensland-based Australian radio host Reg Roberts was one of many across the Tasman who expressed their outrage at the segment.
He posted on Twitter: “Was interested in the Jacinda Ardern interview on 60 Minutes, but he [Charles Wooley] made it cringeworthy.”
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