Jacinda Ardern and Sanna Marin dismiss suggestion their age and gender was reason for meeting

Finland’s PM says she met Ardern in New Zealand because they are both ‘prime ministers’ after journalist asks whether it was due to similar age and gender

The prime ministers of Finland and New Zealand have taken a swipe at suggestions their first face-to-face meeting in New Zealand happened because they are both young female leaders.

“We’re meeting because we are prime ministers,” Finland’s Sanna Marin said at a joint press conference at Auckland’s Government House on Wednesday morning, after a journalist suggested some people may have thought they were meeting because they share a similar demographic.

Responding to the suggestion, Ardern said, “I wonder whether or not anyone ever asked Barack Obama and John Key if they met because they were of similar age.”

“We, of course, have a higher proportion of men in politics – it’s reality – because two women meet, it is not simply because of their gender,” Ardern said.

She added that the two of them were focused on the responsibility they, as female leaders, had to women in countries who are facing “dire circumstances, where we are seeing the most basic of human rights being repressed and violated”. Ardern cited Iran specifically as a “good example” of those dire circumstances.

Marin said they both wanted to stand together over equality “to make sure every woman and girl all across the world will have the same rights and the same opportunities as men”.

Marin is in New Zealand for her first official tour, marking the first visit to the country by a Finnish prime minister. After a bilateral meeting on Wednesday morning, the two leaders affirmed the warm relationship between New Zealand and Finland and their commitment to boosting trade opportunities, tackling climate change and deepening ties.

Ardern said: “Our countries are aligned on incredibly important issues – we share a strong commitment to democratic values as the basis for open, tolerant, resilient, equal societies, and to multilateralism and a rules-based order that has underpinned global peace and prosperity since 1945.”

That rules-based order was under pressure globally, with Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Ardern said.

“The conflict though, I am aware, is literally on Finland’s doorstep,” Ardern said, “and I appreciated the prime minister’s insightful perspectives on the war, and of course, the enduring impact it may have on Europe and global security.”

Marin said it had been her “special request” to visit New Zealand and she hoped her visit would bring the countries’ “already excellent relations to the next level”.

Marin departs New Zealand for Australia on Thursday.


Eva Corlett in Wellington

The GuardianTramp

Related Content

Article image
Jacinda Ardern suggests opposition leader Judith Collins is a ‘Karen’
Comments by New Zealand PM came during a parliamentary debate on the country’s new hate speech laws

Tess McClure in Christchurch

30, Jun, 2021 @11:45 PM

Article image
Who is in the running to replace Jacinda Ardern as New Zealand PM?
The New Zealand Labour party will pick a new leader on Sunday, after Ardern’s shock resignation. Who are the top contenders?

Tess McClure in Auckland

20, Jan, 2023 @4:56 AM

Article image
New Zealand: Chris Hipkins taking over from Jacinda Ardern on Wednesday
Sole nominee secures Labour endorsement for prime minister, with Carmel Sepuloni as deputy, and incumbent’s last engagements on Tuesday

Tess McClure in Auckland

22, Jan, 2023 @2:41 AM

Article image
New Zealand TV presenter 'deeply sorry' for her disturbing Jacinda Ardern cake
Laura Daniel experimented with baking during the national lockdown, and regretted it

Eleanor Ainge Roy in Dunedin

16, Apr, 2020 @12:05 AM

Article image
Jacinda Ardern learned she was in new Meghan and Harry series the day of trailer release
New Zealand PM features in the follow up to Netflix’s Harry and Meghan documentary that was released this month

Tess McClure in Auckland

21, Dec, 2022 @3:24 AM

Article image
Jacinda Ardern cancels wedding as New Zealand prepares for Omicron surge
Prime minister says variant is now circulating in the community but ‘we’ll do everything that we can to slow the spread’

Tess McClure

23, Jan, 2022 @7:02 AM

Article image
Jacinda Ardern resigns as prime minister of New Zealand
Labour leader to stand down no later than 7 February, saying she ‘no longer had enough in the tank’ to do the job

Tess McClure in Auckland

19, Jan, 2023 @3:43 AM

Article image
New Zealand PM Jacinda Ardern shrugs off car chase by anti-vaccination protesters
A car of protestors yelled ‘shame on you’ as they pursued the prime minister’s van but Ardern says she wasn’t worried for her safety

Tess McClure in Auckland

26, Jan, 2022 @12:47 AM

Article image
Finland anoints Sanna Marin, 34, as world's youngest serving prime minister
Former transport minister is country’s youngest leader ever and third female PM

Jon Henley Europe correspondent

09, Dec, 2019 @1:55 PM

Article image
Sanna Marin party row reflects Finland’s low threshold for scandal
In a country where politicians are held to very high moral standards, it does not take much to provoke debate

Minna Ålander

26, Aug, 2022 @1:55 PM