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‘Silly’ campaign annoys former MP

Deborah Coddington. PHOTO/FILE

Social media an issue

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A former politician turned Martinborough bookshop owner was disappointed to find her store had been hit by the #TurnArdren campaign which has been making waves on social media.

The campaign, which involves flipping over books and magazines featuring Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern on the covers, was started by a Christchurch man who felt she spent too much effort on her image and not enough addressing big issues.

But former ACT MP and ex-journalist Deborah Coddington said the campaign was “silly”.

“I think there are better ways to make a political statement,” she said.

Coddington took to social media after a copy of Michelle Duff’s unauthorised biography of Ardern, Jacinda Ardern: The Story Behind an Extraordinary Leader, was deliberately turned in her Martinborough store on Saturday.

“The book is one which the PM was not interviewed for,” she said.

“Yes, it’s about the prime minister but she’s not promoting it. She didn’t write it.”

Coddington said she thought political figures should make themselves available to the public and shouldn’t turn down interviews.

“When I was an MP, I took the view as an ex-journalist, […you don’t] have a right to turn down interviews when you’re paid by the taxpayer.

“Once she said yes to one public interview, she couldn’t say no to others. She would be accused of picking favourites.”

She said the campaign was reminiscent of the type of trolling she had experienced while serving as a list MP for the ACT Party from 2002 to 2005.

“It was only just starting when I was there. People could blog nasty things and I certainly got a lot of that.

“Social media definitely gives people a platform where they can be removed from direct confrontation with people.”

She said that if people were that frustrated by Ardern’s approach to politics they should consider standing for Parliament themselves.

Despite the #TurnArdern campaign, sales of Duff’s book were steady, Coddington said.


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