Jacinda Ardern elected as Labour leader

Newly-minted Labour leader Jacinda Ardern speaking at a press conference this afternoon (photo: Rob Hosking)
Labour leader Andrew Little announced his resignation at a press conference this morning (photo: Rob Hosking)

Former Labour president Mike Williams gives his take on Jacinda Ardern as leader

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Is Labour better off without Andrew Little as leader?

Yes
69%
No
31%
Total votes: 333

Andrew Little will be part of Labour’s front bench if it is able to form a government after September’s election and will be a minister, the party’s newly minted leader, Jacinda Ardern, says.

The new Labour leader fronted to media this morning after Mr Little revealed he would be stepping down from the party’s top job earlier today seven weeks out from the general election. He backed his deputy “100%” as his replacement.

She was joined at the press conference by senior Labour MPs, including her new deputy Kelvin Davis (also elected unopposed) – but Mr Little was absent.

“I have some big shoes to fill,” she says. “Everyone knows I have just accepted the worst job in politics.”

She stressed the fact that it may take some time for the party figure out its next steps, saying she will take 72 hours to “take stock.”

Ms Ardern also hinted that she has some new policies on the way.

“You will hear more from myself and my team on this, in the future.”

Although she says Mr Little’s announcement “was not expected or wanted,” she considers herself “incredibly lucky” to have taken up the leadership of the party.

She acknowledges the fact she is young, having just turned 37 last month. If elected prime minister, she would be one of the youngest in New Zealand’s history. But she points to her 20 years of experience working in and around politics.

This includes different youth political movements and parties.

Asked about leading a government with Labour, the Greens and New Zealand First, Ms Ardern cited her previous political experience.

“I used to be the president of an international youth organisation that had members from Lebanon, Palestine and Israel.

“I think I can do this.”

She insists Mr Little's decision to step down was his and his alone, saying she did not ask him to step aside.

"We have been through some tough times as a [Labour] family but we are totally, totally united.”

Ms Ardern confirmed the memorandum of understanding Labour has with the Green Party is still in place but says she is running Labour’s campaign – “I don’t want to be drawn into another party’s campaign.”

Asked about a potential coalition deal with New Zealand First, she said Labour would wait until after the election to make that decision but said she would need to find “common ground” with leader Winston Peters.

“I like single malts,” she laughed, a nod to Mr Peters’ love of a good whiskey.

“A gamble”

Former Labour president Mike Williams says putting Ms Ardern in the top job is a gamble, but one he would take.

“She will galvanise the workers. I would actually give credit to Andrew Little because the party is actually in the best shape it’s been in ten years, in my view. The polls don’t say it but there’s good policy in every area and a slate of candidates I would die for – they’ve got good organisation and they’ve actually got a bit of money.”

Mr Williams says the new leader only has to be herself. “She’s a highly attractive woman with an attractive personality and she's easy on the eye.”

While Ms Ardern will be under pressure her career will survive even if she does not win this September. “A success for Jacinda is not necessarily a win – it’s anything better than 23%," he says.

“They’ve still got eight weeks so the hoardings can be stickered over and they will already be in production. There are a lot of party vote hoardings this time which is good. It will be interesting to see if they use Jacinda or also Kelvin Davis who is a threat to the Maori Party.”

In terms of the Maori Party, Mr Davis says Labour would be “open to anything” after the election.

“If the Maori Party is still standing after the election, they would have to up their game if they want to work with us,” he says.

Ms Ardern says Labour is campaigning to win all seven of the Maori seats.

RELATED VIDEO: Will Jacinda Ardern promoted to deputy leader? Is she looking to become prime minister? (Feb 16)


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49 Comments & Questions

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Right, now what can we do to become even more unpopular. Our leader will stand down just before the election. Who advises these people, Donald Duck.

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Question. Does Jacinda have Women's Day on speed dial? I can see the front page cover and spread now, complete with ruby red slippers.

The only problem with putting Jacinda Ardern in there as Leader (assuming they do) is it's no different than putting lipstick and pearls on a pig. The Party and its policies is still a swine.

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That kind of chauvinistic comment sums you up

You are all sounding very worried as the combined Opposition parties now have a great chance to roll National. National have not been able to pick up any votes from this saga which says that they are on the wane

Bill English and his mates will be getting worried - and so they should be

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So, government by a committee of divided and divergent interest groups who have to band together to scrape enough votes into the barrel to form a party?
Sounds great....

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And.... there it is. Listen up, no more criticism of Jacinda. Any kind of attacks on Labour policy (or the lack thereof), the Labour party's hatred of the working class or indeed anything else about Labour is now officially misogyny.

So shut your sexist pie-holes.

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I rest my case
You are all sounding desperate and very Trumpish with nonsense comments like these

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And you are proving my point for me by trying to prevent any critique of her past performance.

You are sounding like the epitome of the message-control freak that has led Labour down the path that has ruined it to date.

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Yes indeed, and Winston will be licking his chops. That makes it even easier for him to form a coalition with the Greens and Labour on the condition that he is P.M. Disastrous in my opinion, but very very very likely.

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A quick flashback to March, when Jacinda Ardern was asked (as NBR View's camera rolled) whether she wanted to be PM:

 

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I saw her on Three news on Sunday saying that she had no interest in being the leader, and that Andrew had her full support. So if she takes over the leadership now, it is something that the news media would no doubt pull her up on. It wouldn't be a great start.

(Edited)

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Ardern would be best to bide her time and take over leadership after the election. She should remove herself from the deputy role let Robertson front the backlash and let him fail as he no doubt will. The man has no idea on finance and would be a disastrous leader. Labour need to understand this election is lost, start now preparing for 2020

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But wouldn't that mean that they would have to think and plan, something that they don't know how to do.

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A total disaster or the biggest comeback in history? One thing is for sure, this will liven things up. No longer the battle of the wooden tops!

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Winston Peters will be the next PM. Ardern will be Deputy for 18months.

Labour will bite the bullet to get back on the Treasury benches. National would not go there.

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Well, that's a hospital pass to his successor isn't it? It leaves Winston even firmer in the box seat.

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So there's an election in a bit over six weeks' time and the second largest party has no leader. Clowns...

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Ardern has spent all her life as a policy wonk, Robertson the same. Neither has held a meaningful role outside the political sector. And these are the people Labour want to lead NZ? They have no relationship to middle NZ except a catch cry of old Labour. Ardern is probably on the John Key side of personality politics however I don't think she has the smarts to match the likes of Joyce and English, at least not yet. Advice to Ardern; Let Robertson fail on 2017 learn more in 2018 2019 and set your self for 2020

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and a lightweight policy wonk at that. None of her policy work in opposition on rather tame, squarely Labour issues, for the past 9 years has made a jot of difference.

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So has Bill English. Two years as a policy wonk, followed by almost 30 in parliament. A career politician through and through.

Double standard, or just didn't realise Bill is a career poly?

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Oh please. Bill English is a superb financial custodian and has helped steer NZ towards a budget surplus. You can hardly compare him to Robertson and co who are clueless and have no experience running any business operation. I would have English or Stephen Joyce run my finances, no problem there.

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You may argue they're good career politicians. That simply helps my point - that criticising folk simply for being career politicians (thus they can't be trusted to lead) is a tad silly when that's exactly what Bill English is.

All you're adding is commending Bill English for learning finance on the job.

Not to mention that Bill has recently come out and conceded that the economy is dependent on immigration and adjusting that will make the house of cards collapse. That's some bang-up stewardship right there...that and the ridiculously ineffective handling of the housing crisis they campaigned on in 2007.

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I did not use the label 'career politician'. However, financial management is a vital part of governance and NZ is one of the few OECD countries to run budget surpluses in recent times. As for the housing crisis, no politician can be blamed for that in toto, and you certainly couldn't fix it yourself! Housing is a long game. Turning to experience, please examine Jacinda's bio and tell readers that she has the background to be in charge?

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A career poly but he has done lots of real work in government - a bit different to life in opposition!

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Horse comment as you want, but get all your facts right, English was a Farmer prior to entering politics. Yes he has done real work and does know what its like to run a business those two traits are lacking in Robertson and Ardern. Davis has held a position outside politics so Ardern can be congratulated for taking him on. SO Horse factual is what counts not hyperbole

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Returned to the family farm for a couple of years after university, yes. Massive, eh?

Then straight into 2 years as a Treasury policy wonk, then 27 years in parliament.

So...you're using a couple of years back on the family farm after university to argue Bill English is not a career politician - after almost 30 years in nothing but policy?

Who's engaging in hyperbole now? Do you have any evidence he was the one running the business?

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A Labour leade would need to seriously clean house to get back in the running and there is just not time to do that sensibly and in a way for the public to learn the new faces.

Robertson has got to go, Adern is marginal (no way leadership material but loyal no doubt), Parker, Mallard, Cosgrove, King, O'Conner, Dyson can all be tossed. Let's be honest Helen Clark left the place in a right shambles with her scorched earth internal politics. Thank god Key, English, Joyce and Brownlee came along or NZ would have collapsed into a similar morass as the Labour party is in now.

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So who pays for all the election signs to be changed?

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Perhaps the interns will do it for nothing?

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This could work quite well for Labour. Any so-called "flakiness" may not be exposed with only 6 weeks to go, and she will pull a lot of the female voters. Verified might be right though, Winston for PM.....

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"........she will pull a lot of the female voters". I wonder. A lot of female voters will not vote for a woman leader.

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While Jacinda is obviously a skilled politician, is she really capable of being prime minister in 2 months time!??

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She won't be. This is all the excuse the Left need to take Winnie as PM for 12-18 mths. Problem for the Greens is that Turei won't be deputy in that scenario, Ardern will.

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No....that is why Winston will do the "honourable" thing and step up and volunteer to act in a caretaker role.....

Matthew Hooten I think picked this earlier this year / last year.

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Labour may have to adjust their policies more. Realistically, with National adopting Labour's traditional policies (e.g. moving from calling Working for Families "communism by stealth" to now increasing funding to it yet more), Labour can't occupy the same middle ground and expect voters to depart from National. Hence why voters are instead leaving National for NZ First and others.

There are plenty of voters not happy with National's self-acknowledged economic dependence on migration, their ineffective handling of the housing crisis etc. and if Labour wants to remain relevant they may have to cede some of the middle ground and aim at more progressive policies targeting those being left behind by National - young workers trying to save for a house, people looking for a wage that's not deflated by immigration etc. They may even need to look at some novel ideas such as TOP's reducing tax on income and putting some of it onto land or capital - perhaps land, as a start, rebalancing things back to a mix of income and land tax as in NZ's past.

Sure, they'll lose some whose only concern is their property portfolio...but they've probably lost those voters already.

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Another big mistake with making Ardern leader, Little had to go no question and they have nothing to lose at this point so had the opportunity to do something bold here.

Ardern will appeal better to voters than little, particularly with the younger voters but they don't turn up half the time on election day. She hasn't achieved anything and isn't an MP elected by the people. She'll win Mt Albert though because it's been handed to her on a platter unchallenged. What a joke.

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She's a lightweight, lacks genuine depth and life experiences (oh, apart from coming from Murapara).
(Edited)

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Pretty messed up morning.

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Is there anyone in Labour (or the Greens) that has actually had a job. When I say job, I don't mean a union position, political position, civil servant / public sector role?

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James Shaw worked for PWC for a while... he is the only one I can think of that's had a real job. How he stomachs sitting beside a [self-confessed] benefit fraudster I have no idea. (edited)

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Good luck to Jacinda, we need young leaders. This is a positive outcome for all involved despite the party differences.

To the elections we go....

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Bring on an Ardern v Joyce discussion. However Joyce will need to be careful he does not come across as a bully. Davis maybe able to hold his own when he has studied the subject but off the cuff he will struggle. Winston will back off taking them on as he now sees the chance to be PM.
Whilst national must be on the front foot and challenge them both on every promise Labour has made so far and how it will all be paid for.

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"Mr Williams says the new leader only has to be herself. “She’s a highly attractive woman with an attractive personality and she's easy on the eye.”"

Paternalistic much?

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Maybe Jacinta is a NZ Macron. Based on the above comments it certainly seems to be giving us Pale Stale Males something to to think about in this new world of Accelerations.

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An ugly result =
Labour - Greens - Maori - NZ First and TOP hobble together a Government
Winston only joins if he is PM
Is it possible - Math says - just maybe it is
Party Vote National - unless you like the idea of the above

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And this time around, they'll take meaningful action on the Housing Crisis. Honest.

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I'll be honest with you mate. I don't think the average NZer thinks there is a housing crisis. I don't. I think it's just a whine fest the media has bought into. Have a look at the Salvation Army reports. What they define as a crisis is a little stretched.

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Well, true, if born before a given year it's more a "Housing Lottery Win" than a "Housing Crisis" eh.

Of course, John Key noted there's a real housing affordability crisis:
http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PA0708/S00336.htm

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This combination is pretty scary, and with MMP you couldn't rule this out! James Shaw said it's quite normal for 3 parties to form a government like in Europe....has he even been paying attention to what is going on in Europe!? It's a disaster! Not a good example to explain his rationale.

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Lets be honest.. she is the only one stupid enough to take the job. Unopposed? Yea ... I bet.

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