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Jacinda Ardern just summed up her refreshing approach to politics to Stephen Colbert

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Hannah-Rose Yee
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The prime minister and the talk show host went on a buddy road trip through New Zealand and, quite frankly, we’d like to join.

Jacinda Ardern said she would pick up Stephen Colbert herself.

And so, when the host of The Late Show With Stephen Colbert turned up at Auckland airport after a 16 hour flight from New York, he waited for the prime minister of New Zealand to pick him up in her own car. Like a gentleman, Colbert offered to put his own suitcase in the boot of her vehicle. And then they were off.

“That’s not particularly extraordinary at all,” Ardern told the talk show host. “I still do the odd airport run… I’m a woman. I multi task.” 

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While the pair were driving towards Ardern’s Auckland house for their interview, a fellow driver stopped his car to give them a wave. After Ardern and the driver exchanged a friendly ‘Kia Ora’, a New Zealand greeting, Colbert leaned over the prime minister to put his two cents in.

“Did you recognise her or me?” Colbert asked. The answer? “Jacinda”.

Colbert went to New Zealand to interview Ardern, as well as a few other of the country’s luminaries, as part of a weeklong trip. Colbert is a huge fan of the country, and not just because it’s the place that spawned his beloved Lord of the Rings. In particular, Colbert has expressed his respect for Ardern and the refreshing way she approaches politics.

During their interview, Colbert asked Ardern about how she went about banning assault rifles in the aftermath of the 2019 Christchurch shooting.

“We’re pragmatists in New Zealand,” Ardern explained. “So when it was described to me the weapons that were used and how easily they were obtained my immediate reaction was that can’t stand, it has to change. I needed the votes of three political parties in order to do it, but I didn’t think I would even need to ask them if they thought the same thing so I just went out there and said our laws will change. And in the end every single member of parliament except for one voted for that change.”  

Ardern lays flowers at the Kilbirnie Mosque in Wellington, New Zealand, on 17 March

She continued: “There were some people who werent happy about the change don’t get me wrong. We’d turned something that they had legally purchased into something illegal, so we offered them to bring them in and we paid for them.” 

In short, New Zealand went about ensuring that guns that were required for protection and farming were kept legal, while others were banned. “We’ve removed the ones that were designed to take people’s lives en masse,” she said.

Colbert was so impressed with Ardern’s answers that he stayed for “a New Zealand state dinner of sausages and white bread”, or as they call it in Auckland: a barbecue. He even offered to officiate the forthcoming wedding between Ardern and her fiancé Clarke Gayford.

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“Clarke, what do you think of that?” Ardern called to her fiancé in the other part of their house.

“Uh, I mean, sure. Let’s talk,” Gayford yelled back.

Ardern and Colbert burst into laughter. “That was a bit awkward,” she joked. Here’s hoping Gayford comes round to the idea, purely so that we can see Ardern’s wedding ceremony broadcast on The Late Show With Stephen Colbert

Images: Getty

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Hannah-Rose Yee

Hannah-Rose Yee is a writer based in London. You can find her on the internet talking about movies, television and Chris Pine.

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