‘Jessica, then Tova’: Jacinda Ardern grills reporters in ‘reverse press conference’ on The Hits with Jono and Ben12/16/2021
We all know Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern gets asked a lot of questions.
Over the past two years, we’ve become experts on press conferences during which she fields hard-hitting questions from all angles.
But does the PM ever get to ask questions instead of answering them?
Speaking to Jono and Ben on the Hits this morning, Ardern finally got to ask some questions of her own when the radio hosts revealed that Press Gallery reporters Jessica Mutch McKay and Tova O’Brien were also waiting on the line.
Every avid watcher of 1pm press conferences knows that the PM usually responds to Mutch McKay’s and O’Brien’s questions first – and she explained why.
“The telly is often live when they’re doing the crosses and they’re often on deadline as well, so it is just a courtesy thing,” she shared.
Mutch McKay added “that deadline thing really helps”.
And when the PM was told it was her turn to ask the political reporters a question, she didn’t hold back, asking Mutch McKay, “does it matter if you’re first?
“Yeah, it does. To be fair, it matters because we’re in a hurry to file our stories and also we want your eyeline for the TV,” the TVNZ reporter shared. “Sometimes if you’re looking down at your notes, it’s nice to have your eyes up.”
The PM was surprised to hear that, while admitting that sometimes she’s not looking down at her notes – she’s looking down to “have a bit of a think”.
When it came to Newshub reporter Tova O’Brien, Ardern came out with a hard-hitting question of her own.
“If I don’t go to you first and you mutter under your breath, do you intend for me to hear that?” she asked.
O’Brien laughed and joked, “Actually, Prime Minister, I don’t think it’s your turn,” saying she would hear from Jono and Ben first instead.
O’Brien, who like all press gallery reporters often asks the same question twice, revealed that “often time, with respect, it’s because you haven’t answered it the first time!”
The Prime Minister won’t likely forget this any time soon after she was then gifted a T-shirt from the radio hosts with the words “Jessica, then Tova” written on it.
“Now you can just point at the T-shirt when you want to go to questions, you don’t have to say it,” they joked.
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