Current Affairs

What kids want to know from our political leaders

Face the Classroom sees a group of children aged between eight and 12 asking their burning questions of Jacinda Ardern and Bill English. Here are some of the questions they had on their young minds.

To Jacinda Ardern...

Me and my dad hate the traffic so with your plan to build 100,000 houses, what will happen to the roads?
“At the same time as making sure we’ve got enough houses for everyone to have a warm, dry home, we also have a big plan to transform Auckland’s transport system. So that’s why we’re talking about light rail, rapid bus networks and things like that as well. Those 100,000 homes, that’s over 10 years and not all of it is in Auckland. We need to build a lot in Auckland, but we also have a lot of other areas that need a helping hand too.”

Would you be the DJ at your own celebration party if you became the prime minister?
“Every time I see those pictures of me DJ-ing, I cringe. So no, I did some a while ago, but I haven’t done much in a while, mostly because what I do now takes up lots of time. I did for a while get lots of requests to DJ people’s weddings, so maybe when I finish in politics, I can be a wedding DJ.”

What’s the worst pronunciation of Jacinda you’ve had?
“A relief teacher when I was at school called me Jakinder and so that meant for a whole year everyone called me Jakinder Surprise.”

To Bill English

Have you changed your mind about gay marriage to look more popular?
“No, these are issues where over time you get to see whether the views you had are relevant. I changed my mind simply because now that there were gay people getting married, I didn’t think that was a bad thing. It wasn’t undermining my marriage and if I’m in government, I don’t want to go back and change it. So when I became the prime minister, I thought I’d just say, ‘Look, I now agree with it and I don’t want to change it.’ I think it’s good to be comfortable about changing your mind sometimes, otherwise you get sort of stuck.”

Tell us about your best friend.
“My best friend is Mike, who was the best man at my wedding. I was best man at his wedding and I met him when I was 12 or 13 years old. I was a long way from home at boarding school and his family helped look after me. And I’ve got another best friend who is a very, very, very smart guy who used to work for me and I’ve known him since I was about 19 or 20. He actually lives in the UK, but we communicate quite a bit. He’s just a really interesting person who knows all sorts of stuff, some of which I can understand and some of which I can’t.”

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