In addition to running a country, Jacinda Ardern also appears to be teaching a master class in shutting down sexist men in the classiest of ways. And now a transcript of the New Zealand prime minister calling an opposing male politician an “arrogant prick” during a parliamentary debate last week has been auctioned off, raising NZ$100,000 for prostate cancer research.
The comment was caught in a hot-mic moment after David Seymour, the leader of New Zealand’s Libertarian Right Act party, asked her, “Can the prime minister give an example of her making a mistake, apologizing for it properly, and fixing it?” While I personally would have marched over and socked him for being so condescending, Ardern has more poise than I do.
She fired back: “Mr. Speaker, there’s been a number of occasions where we acknowledge where we will not have perfect responses,” before giving an example that was too specific to New Zealand politics for me to follow entirely, but certainly sounded like it was accepting appropriate responsibility. “But Mr. Speaker, I stand by the work that we’ve done as a government over this last year and over this past term. We’ve always made decisions that we believe to be in the best interest of New Zealand at the time.”
As she returned to her seat, she muttered, “He’s such an arrogant prick.” (Can’t argue with you there, ma’am.) The remark was picked up by the chamber’s microphones and made it into the debate transcript, which I think is the political equivalent of screenshotting someone’s juicy 10-second Snapchat. According to The Guardian, Seymour petitioned for an apology later in the meeting, but since Ardern had already left, she texted him one instead. She later made a joke to Parliament that she was a woman of her word, standing by everything she said, including “insults and apologies.”
After the clip went viral, the two political opponents put their differences aside to use their spat for good (or maybe just quell any PR nightmares before the holidays), and auctioned off a signed copy of the transcript to benefit the Prostate Cancer Foundation. Seymour quipped that he was “standing up for pricks everywhere.” (OK, I’ll hand it to him, that’s funny.)
After bidding closed on Thursday, the auction winner, who bid a little over NZ$100,000, received a framed and signed copy of the transcript. “Can’t say I expected this…..a faux pas with the old mic in parliament has turned into $100,100 for the Prostate Cancer Foundation,” the prime minster wrote on her official Facebook page. “My thanks to David for being a good sport and to everyone who placed a bid. And to everyone, Merry Christmas!”
If I could raise even a fraction of that money every time I called out an arrogant prick, I’d be saying that shit with my whole chest.