Former New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern's latest endeavor, partnering with Conservation International to advocate for climate action and environmental preservation, has elicited mixed reactions.
The organisation revealed this week that Ardern would serve a two-year term as their sixth Arnhold Distinguished Fellow, focusing on international advocacy, particularly concerning the Pacific and Antarctica.
It is the latest in a string of new roles Ardern has accepted after stepping down from the PM's office, claiming exhaustion and that she no longer had “enough in the tank” to do the job.
She has also taken on dual fellowships at Harvard University’s Kennedy School and writing a book on leadership.
Despite Conservation International's praise, critics argue that Ardern's environmental policies during her tenure as Prime Minister were ineffective and lacked substantial impact.
Ardern's symbolic declaration of a climate emergency in 2020 received criticism for its lack of concrete measures. Her government's ban on plastic shopping bags and halting new offshore oil and gas exploration were seen by some as opportunistic and lacking substance.
Furthermore, her swift departure from office earlier this year, citing exhaustion and her party's decline in popularity, raised questions about her ability to effectively lead on pressing issues.
But skeptics argue that Ardern's new role may be an attempt to bolster her global image, especially after her successor, Chris Hipkins, faced a humiliating defeat in the recent general election.