NZ Parliament Occupation 2022 • The Speech Jacinda Ardern Never Gave

8 min readMar 9, 2022

Once upon a time, I was a speechwriter at the Ministry of Social Development. I wrote — literally — hundreds of speeches for people like Ruth Dyson, Paula Bennett and, once, even John Key.

Jacinda Ardern • Getty Images Creative Commons

After the painful ending of ProFestNZ, the occupation at New Zealand’s Parliament Grounds, I read the speech that Jacinda Ardern gave to Parliament on March 3, the day after.

And I thought to myself… how would I have written that speech, if I’d been given free rein?

How would I have written that speech if my focus was on acknowledgement and healing for the community?

So I wrote that speech, which you can read below. It’s the speech I wish Jacinda Ardern HAD given.

As much as possible, I have cleaved to the content that Ardern did deliver. I wanted this parallel-reality speech to reflect Ardern’s approach in an honest manner. But I also imagined — and wrote—what Ardern might have said from a self-reflective, taking responsibility perspective.

This is tricky for a politician to ever do, because self-reflection and taking responsibility opens up the politician for easy attacks by the media or opposition politicians. It’s why we never, or rarely, ever see it.

But I wanted to imagine a world where such actions — self-reflection and responsibility — were admired, rather than attacked. It’s the world I inhabit… so why not radiate out that out into the larger world?

Please read the whole speech. And I welcome feedback or comments. There’s a link to the original speech at the end.

In a Parallel Reality • PM Jacinda Ardern’s full motion to Parliament, March 3:

Mr Speaker, I move that this House recognise the safe restoration of Parliament’s grounds and the selfless service of our Police, Fire and Emergency Services, Wellington Free Ambulance, Parliament Security, and many others, in returning Parliament to the people.

I also move that this House take a moment to recognise that Freedom Village, as it came to be called, provided a sense of place and a sense of…


🔱 Speaker • Mentor • Teacher • Author 🔱 Conversations with Kara-Leah Podcast 🔱 Memoir • Sex, Drugs & (mostly) Yoga 🔱 Conscious Festival Advocate