Our PM features in Netflix series on “inspirational leaders” but distances herself from Harry and Megan’s role in the production

Buzz from the Beehive

Uh, oh.  It’s a prime ministerial statement we can’t find on the Beehive website.

But you can read it in full in Britain’s Daily Mail, which has posted it in an article headed Jacinda Ardern distances herself from Harry and Meghan: Office for New Zealand PM says her involvement in new Netflix show on ‘inspirational leaders’ was not to do with Sussexes.

The report begins:

Jacinda Ardern today issued a statement about her appearance in a new Netflix ‘docuseries’ presented by Meghan and Harry, with New Zealand’s PM insisting she was unaware of the couple’s involvement when she agreed to take part. 

Point of Order – in its check this morning on ministerial press statements on the Beehive website – found just two new releases:

Wage consistency for school bus drivers   

Additional funding will be available to make the wage rates of rural school bus drivers consistent with those who drive for comparable public transport services, Education Minister Chris Hipkins said today. 

Great Walks to see great numbers visiting this summer

The Department of Conservation expects a busy season this summer with the return of overseas visitors and high numbers of New Zealanders taking time out in nature.

The PM’s statement in the Daily Mail is a response to questions about her inclusion in a series of Netflix documentaries, Live To Lead, which will celebrate ‘inspirational leaders’ throughout history.

The newspaper reports:

Live To Lead will celebrate ‘inspirational leaders’ throughout history. This includes Miss Ardern – who appeared in a trailer released yesterday and leads a country where Charles III is head of state.

The seven-part series – the Daily Mail says – was made by New Zealand-based production company Blackwell & Ruth in association with the Nelson Mandela Foundation and the Sussexes’ production company, Archewell.

The couple are listed as executive producers.

Archewell has signed a multi-million deal with the streaming giant Netflix.  

Live To Lead, which will air on December 31, will star other luminaries including the late US Supreme Court justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, environmental campaigner Greta Thunberg and feminist activist Gloria Steinem, a close friend of Meghan’s.  

Harry says Nelson Mandela was the inspiration for the documentary

The screening of this series comes after Meghan and Harry released a six-part Netflix documentary about themselves, which told the story of their split with the Royal Family and their new life in California.

Ardern’s office released the statement “in response to journalists’ questions”, emphasising her involvement had nothing to do with the Duke and Duchess.

The statement (as recorded in the Daily Mail) says:

In early March 2019 the prime minister was approached by the Mandela Foundation to participate in a project to develop accessible resources on key attributes of leadership targeted at aspiring young leaders around the world, based off a one-hour interview.

Originally we were advised the outputs would be printed and digital books, short films and audiobooks. The interview was conducted on November 8, 2019. In March 2020 a short book entitled Jacinda Ardern (I Know This to be True) was published based on the interview. 

Other participants who also had their contributions published based on their interviews included the late US Supreme Court justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the feminist activist Gloria Steinem, the climate campaigner Greta Thunberg and the American basketball player Stephen Curry.

In March 2021 the Nelson Mandela Foundation advised the prime minister’s office they had secured an agreement with Netflix to broadcast the series of interviews, including the 2019 interview with the prime minister.

In May this year the prime minister’s office was notified that the Duke and Duchess of Sussex would introduce the series; noting this was nearly two and a half years after the interview had been recorded and permission for its use by the Mandela Foundation had already been provided.

All communication throughout has been with the foundation (there has been no communications with the Duke and Duchess of Sussex regarding the project). 

The Daily Mail notes that the Duchess of Sussex and Miss Arden have a budding friendship, sparked during their New Zealand Royal tour in 2018



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