Sixteen months into her premiership of a center-left and nationalist coalition, backed by ecologist Greens, 39-year-old Jacinda Ardern is now taking on gun lobbyists, vowing that “all military-style semiautomatic weapons” will be banned in New Zealand, a tourist haven and farming nation with a reputation as green, laid-back and peaceful. These are not issues that populist-era political “spin doctors” might recommend as broad vote-catchers. But Ardern, knowing both New Zealand’s proud multiethnic tradition and its furtive racist undertone and troubled past, entered politics aged just 17 and has never shied away from difficult debates. Past campaigns of hers include calls for caring societies to fix modernity’s insecurities and narrowing the glaring rich-poor divide of recent decades. Read more: First funeral held for mosque attack victims Praise from a partner and rival “Whatever you may think about what she says, there’s a certain honesty of thought behind it,” her Cabinet’s deputy premier and foreign minister, the veteran populist Winston Peters, of the New Zealand First party, told Australian television early last year. “She’s genuine: She hasn’t got airs and graces,” Peters said, admitting that his accolade was somewhat ”unique,” given his own decades of abrasive rhetoric at Parliament in Wellington. New Zealand’s capital is perched around a deep harbor… Read full this story
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