Clarke Gayford’s touching tribute to Jacinda Ardern

The former ‘First Bloke’ of New Zealand Clarke Gayford has spoken about the “most incredible outpouring of thanks and respect” he has ever witnessed since his partner Jacinda Ardern resigned.

Gayford said he witnessed “spontaneous tears of strangers in airports” and staffers received an “unprecedented number of positive emails”.

Gayford said he questioned whether New Zealand was becoming “a more inclusive society” given what he called “ugly discourse online and via a certain type of public commentator”.

“In the last few days I heard words of a respected Maori elder reflecting on the acknowledgment we should be having at the progress NZ had collectively made in the last few years towards a more inclusive society,” Gayford said.

“When asked how they saw that given some of the discourse we’ve seen… their response was simply: ‘When you pull the plug on the bath, it’s always the last dregs that are the noisiest.’”

Gayford said that comment sat “in a sea of the most incredible outpouring of thanks”.

“There is a saying that nothing is harder than having true empathy for others, because empathy requires you to understand life from someone else’s perspective, to suspend your own ego, to walk in different shoes and see through another’s eyes,” Gayford said.

Gayford said it was politically easier to sew division and hate than to govern with empathy.

“I’ve also learnt that in politics while it might be easier to take the sugar hit path of popularity through division and hate and avoiding unpopular but necessary decisions, there is a better much tougher way of governing in empathy that plants many quiet trees for us all to enjoy the shade of for lots of good years to come. “

“I’m still not sure how I managed to hitch a front row seat in all of this but I remain as always; in awe, in love, relieved, exhausted and so incredibly proud of Neve’s mums superhuman efforts,” Gayford said.

“First Bloke out.”

Read Clarke Gayford’s full tribute

In the last few days I heard words of a respected Maori elder reflecting on the acknowledgment we should be having at the progress NZ had collectively made in the last few years towards a more inclusive society. When asked how they saw that given some of the discourse we’ve seen in ugly places online and via a certain type of public commentator, their response was simply:

“When you pull the plug on the bath, it’s always the last dregs that are the noisiest.”

His comments sit in a sea of the most incredible outpouring of thanks and respect I’ve witnessed first hand over the last few days, from spontaneous tears of strangers in airports, to correspondence staff talking about unprecedented inbox’s full of overwhelmingly positive messages.

There is a saying that nothing is harder than having true empathy for others, because empathy requires you to understand life from someone else’s perspective, to suspend your own ego, to walk in different shoes and see through another’s eyes.

I’ve also learnt that in politics while it might be easier to take the sugar hit path of popularity through division and hate and avoiding unpopular but necessary decisions, there is a better much tougher way of governing in empathy that plants many quiet trees for us all to enjoy the shade of for lots of good years to come.

I’m still not sure how I managed to hitch a front row seat in all of this but I remain as always; in awe, in love, relieved, exhausted and so incredibly proud of Neve’s mums superhuman efforts.

First Bloke out.

 

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