NZ’s Pregnant Prime Minister (plus Tweets)

First off I must apologise. (Yes, that’s how we spell it in New Zealand.) I’ve been neglecting my website for a couple of weeks. There has been writing going on, but none of it made it here. Two posts are progressing slowly, and one may actually see the light of day. (Not every post I write makes it to the website; I often decide they’re just not good enough.) I’ve also been doing some other writing when the inspiration strikes me, and it struck during the last few days. So, I thought I should do a tweets post to prove I still exist.

One of the big items of news in New Zealand is that our prime minister, Jacinda Ardern, is due to have a baby on 17 June. Ardern will be only the second leader of a modern country to give birth while in office. The first was back on 25 January 1990 when the prime minister of Pakistan, Benazir Bhutto, gave birth to her daughter Bakhtawar. Circumstances will be a bit different for Ardern then they were for Bhutto though.

Her plan is to keep working until she goes into labour, then take six weeks off. Her partner (no they’re not married!), Clarke Gayford, will then stay at home to look after the baby and she will return to work. Gayford is both the brains behind, and the front-man for, fishing show Fish of the Day, which screens in twenty countries. It won a Gold award at the Houston International Film Festival.

Clarke Gayford

Clarke Gayford, surfer. (Photo credit: Lawrence Smith via Click pic to go to source.)

Gayford grew up near Gisborne, just like me! As well as being a keen fisherman, he also loves to surf. reports that by the age of ten, he knew the English, Maori, and Latin names of most fish that swim in New Zealand waters. He’s a graduate of the NZ Broadcasting School, and worked in radio before moving to television.

After six weeks, Ardern will return to work, juggling work and motherhood in the same way that most women do these days. She’s told media that she has “no real plan” in place for how to cope after the baby is born. Basically, like most first time parents, Ardern and Gayford will be working it out as they go. There are currently two MPs who are also breastfeeding mothers in parliament. They often have their babies with them, and even feed them in the House when their duties require them to be there when they need to be fed.

Jacinda Ardern and Clarke Gayford at Buckingham Palace

Jacinda Ardern and Clarke Gayford in their way to an official dinner at Buckingham Palace as part of the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting (CHOGM). Ardern is wearing a traditional Maori korowai (cloak). (Photo credit: Getty Images via Click pic to go to source.)

Ardern is doing a good job of staying down to earth despite the expectations many are placing upon her to become a role model for all working women. Her pregnancy is progressing well, and she’s healthy. There were no problems getting the clearances she needed for her recent long haul flights to Britain and Europe where she did a good job of representing our country. At a joint press conference, German Chancellor Angela Merkel even said to the New Zealand press, “… you can be proud of your prime minister.” (Ha! We’re one up on you US!)


War Tweets

This is a much more serious issue, and should be what this post is about, but I’d already written it before I found out.

The US is at war with Syria. Trump does not appear to have said anything.
(Via Ann German.)







Have you got that USians? You are at war with Syria. You are no longer just fighting in Syria. What Trump has done by authorizing today’s attacks means war!


Political Tweets

And in news from across the Atlantic pond … (I have to say, this doesn’t surprise me either.)
(Via Ann German.)

Good. This was an absolute disgrace!

Pre-Mueller Tweets

(Via Ann German.)


Human Rights Tweets

Brave young women in Iran making a point  – wearing the hijab should not be compulsory.




Gun Safety Tweets

Just sayin’.


Religion Tweets

I was on a roll yesterday:


Environmental Tweets

More of mine:



Sports Tweets

Lydia Ko is back!


History Tweets

Bit gruesome, but I suppose it’s better than five minutes later …


This is better, but WTF are “Tables for Ladies.”


Very cool.


Archaeology Tweets

Cool find in New Zealand.


Funny Tweets

Who saw the White House Correspondents Dinner?
(Via Ann German.)


Trump didn’t like what she had to say of course …


This is what Betty Bowers had to say to that …


Un-effing-believable! Jason Miller, almost Trump’s press secretary, currently spokesperson for Trump on CNN, believes the moon landing was faked. He came to believe this following his time on the Ted Cruz campaign team. I can’t believe this is real, but it’s coming from Slate, who are usually reliable.
(Via Ann German.)


Oh no! My diet is 59% Republican!


Marine Tweets

Just havin’ fun …


Didn’t see that coming did you?


Other Animals Tweets

How cute is this?! These are supposedly the ones Jesus rode. How do they know? They have a cross on their backs. It wasn’t there before. Because that’s how evolution happens.




Bird Tweets

Wow! Crows are so smart!


Check out what’s happening with New Zealand’s Kakapo.




Dog Tweets

What’s happening?




This is why these are my favourite dogs …


Almost as cute as a cat.


Cat Tweets

Cuddle party!


Just do what Mum does and you’ll be fine!


This one has been around for a while, but I love it, so it’s going in …


So cute.


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32 Responses to “NZ’s Pregnant Prime Minister (plus Tweets)”

  1. Mark R. says:

    Nice collection.

    I’m 62% Democratic in terms of diet. 🙂 Though to be fair, I don’t eat much of the food in the survey anyway.

    I loved how once the retriever opened the door, he/she had the appearance of confusion…”what did I just do?”

    Thanks for the news we’re at war with Syria…as stated, Trump didn’t mention it so the media is moot on the subject. I don’t pay attention to the news during the weekend because I need the break for my mental health. I’m always surprised on Monday about what Trump did and/or tweeted during the weekend. His insanity grows weekly as does the weakness of the GOP.

    • I don’t eat much of the food in the survey either, so I did it on preferences. That means I was basically heading for the least healthy (and highest fat content) option every time! In reality I’d make the effort to be a bit more responsible in my choices. I suppose it means Republicans are fatter than Democrats and have a greater need of a decent healthcare system, which is why a majority have come to like Obamacare.

      Yeah, the dog is hilarious. It can open the gate, but since there is a human there, it’s waiting for instructions on what to do next! 😀

      One thing I didn’t mention, and should have. If the US is at war with Syria, it’s also in a proxy war with Russia and Iran. Israel has also bombed government targets recently. The only thing the US has had to say about that officially is to deny it was them (the US). This may not be able to be ignored.

      • nicky says:

        I doubt wether highest fat is necessarily most unhealthy, I thought that trope would have been debunked by now. My choice also turned out to be about ‘republican’, at about 57%, but then, there were quite some items I had not even an idea of what they were. What is the difference between a Burrito and a Gyro? What is a BLT? In general I avoid starches, since they give me reflux/heartburn.

        • Mark R. says:

          Gyro is a Greek sandwich…spitted lamb / tomato / lettuce with a tart yoghurt/garlic/cucumber sauce called tzatziki all wrapped in pita bread. Delicious! I agree that comparing it to a burrito was weird though. BLT is a bacon, lettuce, tomato sandwich.

          • nicky says:

            Ah thanks, I know a Gyro, just not under that name, we call them pitas. I’ve been making quite a bit of Greek food over the years. One of my peeves here in SA is that one can not get Tarama not mainly composed of bread and potatoes, immo it’s basis should just be roe and oil, with as little bread as possible, and pure ‘tamara roe’ is also unavailable so one cannot make it oneself.

  2. nicky says:

    Although I agree in broad lines with the Cape Town Apartheid video, Dana left out some important details.
    – There has been an enormous influx from other provinces into the Western Cape since ’94 (nearly a quarter century!) , I’m not just talking about bussing in of ‘internal migrants’ by the ANC in an effort to gain electoral advantage, but also simply migrants of their own initiative, because much is so much better in the Western Cape. Where do they go, bussed in or otherwise? Indeed into ‘plakkerskampe’, informal settlements with few or no amenities, growing them substantially.
    – Example of the looking for ‘better’ are ‘health care internal migrants’*, since free govt (ie provincial) healthcare in the Western Cape is so much better than in, say, Eastern Cape. HIV + people get their ARV’s, cataract surgery is on target for several years in some districts (the only districts in SA), there is a rollout of HPV vaccination of young girls in schools (also only in WC, AFAIK), etc, etc. Note, I did not say there is not still much to be improved there, it is just comparatively.
    – Poverty in other provinces is even worse, or more precisely, affecting a greater part of the population. Her innuendo that the persistence of the bad situation is due to the DA, and implying it is better in the 8 other, ANC governed, provinces is pure BS. I think the WC government is making serious efforts to improve the situation, and although insufficient, it is -again- doing better than most other provinces.
    – Corruption does exist in the Western Cape, but in the ANC led provinces it has become the rule, a way of life. (I have high hopes that under Cyril Ramaphosa (with a reputation free of even a smell of corruption) big strides in combatting that pest will be made. (His predecessor Mr Zuma was not corrupt the same way that Mr Trump does not tell lies).

    * WC premier Helen Zille got a great amount of flak when she talked about education -another ‘better’- ‘immigrants’, so I’ll stick with health care, education or other ‘internal migrants’.

    To put it more succinctly, Dena Takruri, although basically correct, is unfairly singling out Cape Town and Western Cape, while omitting to compare it to the just-as-bad-if-not-worse situation in the rest of South Africa. [In a sense she’s right to single out Western Cape, but it should be as a province that does better than the others, and that is not what she’s doing].

    • I did wonder, and I’m glad you’ve commented on what she had to say. I didn’t know enough to comment, but I trust your judgment. I was surprised that a couple of her assumptions could be made on the evidence she gave, but I’m not in a position to contradict her.

      • nicky says:

        There is a web-site called Africa Check, where quite a lot is checked, I think you might be interested.
        Since Dana mentioned the Gini coefficient in Cape Town, I give Africa Check’s comparison of all big ‘metropoles’ for 2013 -the last available year (Gini: the lower the better) and I added the UN Human Development index (the higher the better):
        Cape Town: Gini: 0.61 HD: 0.73
        Mangaung (Bloemfontein): G 0.62 HD: 0.65
        Tswane (Pretoria): G 0.63 HD: 0.67
        Nelson Mandela Bay (Port Elisabeth): G 0.63 HD: 0.63
        eThekwini (Durban): G 0.63 HD: 0.63
        Buffalo City (East London): G 0.64 HD: 0.65
        Johannesburg: 0.65 HD: 0.72
        Erkuhuleni (East Rand): 0.65 HD: 0.70
        As you can see very bad overall -Dana is right there-, but Cape Town is the least bad of them all for both measurements. That is where Dana Takruri is misleading us.

        Note, not all is better in Western Cape, it has eg. the second highest murder rate, only Eastern Cape does worse there.

        • Thanks Nicky. Very interesting. That’s a good site to know about too.

          I also didn’t know about all those name changes. We still use the old ones in news, sport etc.

  3. nicky says:

    The face of the cat with the empty bowl reminds me of the cat face in those much maligned Merdieval depictions. Maybe cats did look different, having human faces back then? 🙂

    • Jenny Haniver says:

      The cat does seem to have a more medieval cat face than usual. But I think that there’s some reason medieval artists couldn’t draw cats, not that they actually looked different back then — unless one is a follower of Lamarck. An alternative explanation appeals to the pomo theory of social constructionism,. which was noted in a recent post on WEIT

    • Ha ha. I’ve got a theory about animals with human faces. I think they’re a kind of cartoon, like how Mitch McConnell is drawn as a turtle. I think they’re real people, but we don’t recognize them as, obviously, there were no photos back then.

      • Jenny Haniver says:

        That’s an interesting theory.

      • nicky says:

        Yes possible and ingenious, but not very probable.
        How would people back then have recognised those people, since no photos and few portraits available, without some ‘clue-giving’ props??

        • It was more likely a bit of fun at the time – not meant to be recognition in perpetuity.

          A lot of the statues, paintings, and even stained glass windows in churches are real people. Parishioners donated extra to have their likeness used. A stained glass window of a butcher, baker etc is likely just what that person looked like in real life. Also, faces are hard. It was easier for an artist to copy a real person than make something up. Local baddies were likely to get their faces on paintings of people heading for hell, while upright citizens were honoured by how close they were to Jesus.

          Churches were a riot of colour back then – walls were covered in murals which have now worn off. They were a visual reminder of the Bible at a time when most were illiterate, and it was only available in Latin even if they weren’t.

        • nicky says:

          Despite the cat with the empty bowl, I still think cats did not have overwhelmingly human faces previously 🙂
          Your theory is not as far-fetched as it appeared prima facie .
          On WEIT we had:
          1 – Cats were considered so human-like that these painters gave them human-like faces, more important than life-like cat-faces.
          2 – The Medieval cats actually had human-like faces (The Egyptian mummies and images -as well as some good medieval cat portraits (eg Dürer)-, as well as genetics appear to make that highly unlikely).
          3 – Several of these Medieval painters were broddlers/daubers (a few undoubtedly were), but then why could so many of them paint other things so life-like? ( I retracted the second part, most were, only very, very few painted animals -or humans for that matter- realistically)
          4 – Cats were associated with sorcery, it would be dangerous to paint them life-like.
          Dough added no 5 (close to no 1, but not identical):
          5 – Cats with human faces had some symbolic significance that has been lost over time.

          Note, that the latter comes very close to your hypothesis too, if one strips it of the modern connotations of ‘caricature’ and Mr McCullum as a tortoise.

          Have been looking at some bestiaries. This is a good site with loads of pictures and good context:

          Just choose an animal and click ‘galleries’.
          All of these animals are absolutely lousily depicted (just check the crocodiles) as realistic depictions, but it becomes very clear that these animals were just emblems, some lesson, for human foibles, failings or habits. In that sense no 1, no 5 and your theory (6) are the real deal, methinks. Nevertheless, no 3 (broddlers and daubers, basically Jerry’s hypothesis) remains applicable. It is clear these hypotheses are not mutually exclusive.
          I think we have been closing in quite well now.

          • Yeah. I don’t think there’s just one explanation. I never thought my idea applied to all situations.

            I think it’s highly improbable that cats looked different in the past, and I think that theory should be abandoned. Evolution tells us that’s not likely.

  4. Jenny Haniver says:

    Horrors! My appetite is 61% Republican. I’m mortified. My only defense is to cry
    “De gustibus non est disputandum”.

    I think that tiny baby monkey is a golden snub-nosed monkey. I Googled “puppy monkey” and found that was not a name for an actual monkey, but rather some creature in a Mountain Dew Super Bowl commercial. Then I did a general Google search for Old World monkeys for starters, and found the golden snub-nosed monkey from China. As is usual with such searches, I found wonderful images of numerous monkeys and related primates that I’d never heard of before and never imagined, such as trippy blue-faced snub-nosed monkeys, and a creature with hair that could start a fad in hipster communities — — but what is it? I have the photo but no name. Can someone identify it?

    I’m sure you’ve already seen what is just breaking news Stateside — that Cardinal Pell will stand trial!

    • Jenny Haniver says:

      I think the monkey I inquired about is a DeBrazza’s guenon, Cercopithecus neglectus.

      • nicky says:

        Spot on, a widespread monkey in central Africa’s forests (and Ethiopia). Magnificent and luckily on the ‘red list’ classified as :”of least concern”.

        • Jenny Haniver says:

          But why “neglectus”? Are they neglectful monkeys? Too busy with the Brilliantine trying to put Elvis to shame with their coifs?

          • nicky says:

            I have no idea, maybe some primatologist knows the anecdote behind it’s naming? Maybe the naming biologist found that one of his colleagues had neglected to name it, or to include it in a taxonomic list, or something like that

    • Yes, and he’s going to plead not guilty. The judge has already dismissed some of the charges, which Pell says is proof he’s innocent. However, the remaining charges relate to multiple victims.

      I wish they would also charge him with something because of all that time he pretended to be sick and so couldn’t go back to Australia. He didn’t need someone to step in for him to do his job at the same time. Vatican treasurer – #3 in the Church hierarchy – is not exactly a walk in the park!

      • Jenny Haniver says:

        I have a wonderful book — The Latin Sexual Vocabulary — and, naturally, it lists lots of obscenities. I haven’t consulted it in quite a while, but I must do so now, because I recall some choice imprecations for paedophiles therein.

  5. Jenny Haniver says:

    I think the monkey I inquired about is a DeBrazza’s guenon, Cercopithecus neglectus.

  6. Randall Schenck says:

    I made a comment a while back on the Coyne site regarding the Prime Minister of NZ but do not think anyone even saw it. We did have a Congress woman bring her new baby to work the other day but I think it required special permission. There is probably some rule about bring non-senile persons to the floor. I understand what the reporting on Syria are saying but frankly, no one in America cares. We will have wars or not based on whatever happens to be the thinking that day. There is no policy and no strategy in any of it. But you can do whatever you want because no one cares, especially congress, who is by the way, suppose to make calls on all of this. But they have all had their spines and better parts removed and no longer participate.

    If you think the Syria thing is a looser, just wait till we start up with Iran. After all, that is what Trump and his right hand idiot in Israel, are going for soon. This is where things are going to go very bad and if you think having Trump in peace is bad, just wait for that war.

    • Iran is a major issue, and I’m hoping to write about it today. I’ll see how my body cooperates – it’s pretty bad right now.

      Trump seems to think he can suck the world in the same way he works in the US – by appealing to his base and getting enough people on his side that way. It’s not going to happen. In the rest of the developed world, most people know about more than just the politics of their own country. We mostly don’t live in political bubbles either, so we’re aware of views besides our own. Virtually no one is sucked in by Netanyahu’s big presentation. We’re all extremely skeptical, especially given the timing.

      Everyone knew Iran was lying about not having a nuclear weapons programme when the Iran deal was signed, including Obama and the USA. That’s why so many checks were built in, and why it had to be renewed every three months. That’s to put pressure on Iran. They are keeping up with their side, and it’s Trump that’s putting things at risk, not Iran.

      Israel is the only country in the world where Trump has majority support. But the support is there whoever is president for obvious reasons. Trump cannot get international opinion on his side using Netanyahu. All the other lies he’s telling re Iran aren’t working either. His base at home gets worked up. The rest of us just get disgusted. Trump’s international approval rating is at historical lows, and that’s competing against GWB of Iraq war infamy.

      • Randall Schenck says:

        However, the world’s opinion means very little to Trump. He and the republicans are suckers for Netanyahu’s view and have been for years. Obama was not. What I don’t understand is, if Netanyahu wants to go to war with Iran then he should just do it and leave all of us out. Is he such a chicken he cannot simply do it but must sucker the U.S. into his war on Iran. It is all so obnoxious it makes me sick. I have no patience for this middle east crap and vote myself out.

  7. Amy Carparelli says:

    Hello Heather,

    Unfortunately Amber Rudd has taken the fall for mistakes by Theresa May and many politicians on all sides.

    Let’s see if Sajid Javid will continue with the good work started by Amber Rudd with the buffer zones outside abortion clinics.


    Personally I’m tired of both Conservatives and Labour, and especially Jeremy Corbyn.

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