This article titled “‘Know what jandals are?’ Jacinda Ardern tests Ed Sheeran’s desire for New Zealand citizenship” was written by Eleanor Ainge Roy, for The Guardian on Thursday 30th November 2017 01.55 UTC
New Zealand’s prime minister has sent Ed Sheeran an informal citizenship test via video – featuring thorny questions such as “do you know what jandals are?” – after the British singer repeated his desire to live in the country.
This week Sheeran recorded a video message for New Zealanders before his much-anticipated March concerts there. “Hey New Zealand I can’t wait to see you very soon, I’m not yet a citizen of New Zealand but I’m working on it – hook me up prime minister, please,” said Sheeran, in the video for local radio station ZM.
New Zealand’s leader, 37-year-old Jacinda Ardern – a well-known music fan and occasional DJ – responded to the singer’s request with a 35-second video of her own, recorded in her parliamentary office in Wellington.
“Hello Ed, my name is Jacinda Ardern, I’m the prime minister of New Zealand and I understand you’ve put through a very informal request for citizenship,” says Ardern, mock-serious.
“Before we’re able to think about that a little bit more I’ve got some very important questions for you; the first, do you like pineapple lumps? Do you even know what they are?”
Pineapple lumps are a distinctly nostalgic New Zealand treat, a chewy chocolate-covered sweet with a sweet pineapple-flavoured soft centre, which New Zealanders often keep in the freezer.
Ardern continues: “Two, are you willing to wear jandals in semi-inappropriate situations, and also, do you know what jandals are?”
Jandals – also known as flip-flops or thongs – are often worn by New Zealanders throughout the year, including winter, and sometimes with suits or dresses to formal events (for comfort’s sake). It is thought to be a derivation of “Japanese sandals”.
“Third, most important question of all,” says Ardern, easing back into her prime ministerial chair and smiling broadly. “Are you willing to make New Zealand your home? Let me know.”
Ardern’s final question is pertinent, given her political party campaigned on cracking down on foreign speculators buying investment properties in New Zealand. It also promised to strengthen criteria on gaining fast-tracked New Zealand citizenship under the investor category, after the controversial case of Trump adviser and billionaire Peter Thiel who was granted citizenship after spending just 12 days in the country.
Thiel’s fast-tracked citizenship allowed him to buy multiple, million-dollar properties in New Zealand, even though he told the government he had no intention of living in the country, and would instead be an “ambassador”, and provide contacts for New Zealand entrepreneurs to Silicon Valley.
guardian.co.uk © Guardian News & Media Limited 2010
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