Stephen Colbert visits Jacinda Ardern

New Zealand’s prime minister managed to quickly get a ban on assault rifles in her country after the horrific Christchurch shooting. Colbert accepts her invitation to visit the country to talk about this and other things and she picked him up at the airport, driving her own car. What impressed me is how the New Zealand prime minister drives a modest car herself without a massive security entourage, lives in a normal sized home, and acts like a normal person. That is as it should be with heads of states unlike the ridiculous circus surrounding the US head of state.

At the beginning in the car, Colbert was really annoying, finding her cell phone in the car and pulling the jerk move of repeatedly trying to get her to give the passcode to her phone, which she refused. He kept making guesses until, predictably, her phone got blocked. It was behavior that was more in keeping with Colbert’s former Comedy Central character than in his present role. The interview got better after that.


  1. fentex says

    A good spend of a few hundred thousand in advertising.

    NZ benefits in many ways from two things -- our distance from anywhere (and conflicts across borders over resources et al) and small size.

    This makes life expensive, but also pragmatic (the richer we get the more I worry it fragments society). I’ve always thought the benefits of small size are something a stricter division between state and federal authorities in the U.S would provide there.

  2. Bruce H says


    If someone were to build an improbably seaworthy sailing craft and made his or her way to New Zealand on it from a nation in the middle portion of North America, do you think such a person could live there successfully as an undocumented immigrant? Asking for a friend.

  3. says

    The sad thing is that Ardern is fairly likely to lose the next election as the right wing is as strong in NZ as anywhere else.

  4. fentex says

    Bruce H #2

    I have no idea how that would work out for anyone, I suspect it wouldn’t go too well -- NZ is renowned for how easy it is to do business and get things done here but that’s because we use pretty streamlined information systems that would, I suspect, pretty quickly trip your friend up.

    And they might be surprised at how expensive it is to get by here -- lots of people trying to immigrate find they can’t afford it.

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