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Ardern’s war paint

Written By: - Date published: 9:40 am, August 27th, 2017 - 65 comments
Categories: election 2017, jacinda ardern, labour - Tags: , , ,

Not a bad weekend for Labour in the papers. John Armstrong coined a memorable headline:

That ain’t lipstick – it’s war paint

Make no mistake. That isn’t lipstick adorning the face of Jacinda Ardern. It’s war paint.

Woe betide anyone who gets in the way of Labour’s Warrior Queen and the sharpened blades on the wheels of her chariot.

Morgan’s “lipstick on a pig” jibe was deserving of reward. … His imperious insistence that Ardern show she amounts to more than just lipstick on the Labour pig was astonishing in its ignorance of what is actually happening.

His insult is part of the lexicon utilised by Ardern’s detractors to denigrate her rapid ascent to Labour’s leadership as a victory of style over substance.

The accusation that Ardern is suffering from a substance deficiency is a very cheap shot. It is being fired in her direction to hide a very uncomfortable home truth – namely that Labour’s rivals seem to have little idea how to counter her extraordinary appeal. …

Jo Moir was with Ardern in South Auckland:

‘Jacinda effect’ becomes a tsunami in South Auckland

There was only one word to sum up Saturday on the campaign trail with Jacinda Ardern in South Auckland – loud. The Pacific Island community does noise better than most and it’s the colourful version – song, dance and prayer.

Everyone wants to touch her, get a photo with her, speak to her, ask a question of her – you name it, they want a piece of it.

Two weeks ago political commentators were questioning how long the so-called Jacinda Effect would last.

Four weeks out from the election and the ‘Effect’ has become a ‘Tsunami’ and doesn’t show any signs of steering off course.

As if Otara hadn’t been enough of a buzz, Mangere MP Su’a William Sio seemed to have put a call out to his entire electorate to descend on the Mangere markets on Saturday and they answered that call, plus some.

The crowd roared to lines like, “if you feel like you’re going backwards it’s because collectively we are – but it doesn’t have to be that way”. …

And Liam Dann gives Labour the economic thumbs up:

Liam Dann: Why this election won’t be won on numbers

This election now looks like being a close run thing. Even a week ago I’d have put the odds firmly with National, albeit relying on a deal with NZ First. Now I think it’s too close to call.

Clearly Jacinda Ardern’s charisma has been the catalyst for the change in Labour’s fortunes. We all knew she was nice, but in a short space of time she has also managed to stamp strength and authority on Labour’s campaign in a way that has reassured about her leadership skills.

It seems evident now that the electorate’s traditional three term appetite for change was there all along. It was just swamped beneath a view that Labour couldn’t win with Andrew Little.

Robertson is a smart economic observer. He reads widely and is thoroughly up to date with the nuances of the deep problems plaguing the world.

He has correctly identified low productivity growth and lack of wage inflation as key targets for his economic campaign.

He’s also an evolution not revolution kind of reformer. He is the kind of guy who will give Reserve Bank and Treasury officials a fair hearing.

His accusations that the economy is treading water under National are backed up by many economists and market commentators.

This election looks like it will be decided on issues of social vision and national identity. And it could go either way. I’m okay with that.

As always, please read the original pieces for plenty more. Not a bad weekend for Jacinda Ardern’s Labour!

65 comments on “Ardern’s war paint ”

  1. One Anonymous Bloke 1

    By contrast, it looks like a lot of National’s supporters are there because they’re the government.

    The kind of support that disappears as soon as you are no longer the government.

    Even the ice axe is fake.

  2. Lynjs 2

    A very capable young woman who is surprising many with her ability to step into this unexpected role. Natural, adaptable, quick witted and well informed, she certainly is having an impact on the upcoming election. Very exciting indeed.

  3. alwyn 3

    I was reading this with some interest until I came across this sentence.

    “Robertson is a smart economic observer. He reads widely and is thoroughly up to date with the nuances of the deep problems plaguing the world.”

    Who on earth is being talked about? It clearly can’t be Grant Robertson whose ignorance of economic matters is almost total.
    Perhaps he is talking about Robbie Robertson. That one at least achieved something of note.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 3.1


      You know this because Stephen Joyce said so. Is this level of “argument” the best you can do?

      After all, it’s not hard to find Robertson’s statements on the economy, and then you could provide some sort of intelligent substantive criticism.

      Unless you’re not competent or something.

      • tracey 3.1.1

        Remind me how a degree in Zoology and buying a radio Station make you a good Finance Minister?

        10 years to get a Zoology Degree suggests he should never be anywhere near Tertiary Portfolio, imagine the damage that could be done… oh wait.

    • Tricledrown 3.2

      Alwyn desperate deluded up cripple creek without a paddle.

    • Bob (Northland) 3.3

      Based on any performance measures or KPI’s it can’t be Joyce, English,or Key.
      Housing affordability – Fail
      Inequality – Fail
      Employment – Fail
      Income Levels – Fail
      Productivity – Fail
      Health – Fail
      Education – Fail
      Environment – Fail
      Crime & Recidivism – Fail
      Immigration – Fail
      Who can it be?

    • Doogs 3.4

      Alwyn –
      “. . . whose ignorance of economic matters is almost total.”

      Judged by whom . . . ? Oh, you, of course. And your qualifications are . . . ?

      At this stage we need some data. Please quote interviews and statements which quite clearly show the GR is an economic failure.

      Time to stump up my Welsh friend.

      • alwyn 3.4.1

        I probably won’t bother to list my credentials in Economics.
        You might accuse me of boasting.
        On the other hand I am willing to claim that they are far superior to anything displayed by Mr Robertson. That isn’t very hard is it?
        In fact I will add your credentials, as shown on this blog, to Robertson’s total.
        It will still be the same number.

        Have a look at Robertson’s Oral Questions. He can usually read the Primary Question out correctly but he is quite incapable of asking a supplementary based on anything in the reply. I don’t think he understands any of the answers he gets. and can only fill in his quota of questions by reading out another pre-prepared question that someone has fed him.

        I think he could make a perfectly able Minister. It would have to be in a field that he knows something about though.
        Why do politicians all seem to want to be the Finance Minister if they can’t be PM, or Finance Spokesman, like Robertson, if they can’t get the Party leaders job?
        Is it a status thing? Why don’t they stick to their lasts?

        • Ad

          Cullen did fine.
          PhD in history, University of Edinburgh.


          It would take a blue pig to turn a massive stimulus boost from two earthquakes, really low government debt, a secure social compact, and billions of infrastructure funding over a decade, into something that did not move the productivity needle not an inch.

          But that’s what two blue National pigs called English and Joyce as Finance Ministers have managed to achieve for us for over a decade.

          Their time is up.

        • Ethica

          Grant Robertson is a very strong speaker in Parliament, and very popular outside as well. He has run rings around Stephen Joyce in Question time and will be an excellent and fair-minded Finance Minister.

          Interesting this new National Party tactic – they know they can’t touch Jacinda or Kelvin so are attacking the other MPs.

  4. I was reading this with some interest until I came across this sentence.

    “It clearly can’t be Grant Robertson whose ignorance of economic matters is almost total.”

    At that point, my interest evaporated altogether.

  5. Carolyn_nth 5

    When the MSM starts to swing behind a leader and their party, I’d say it’s very likely that party will lead the next government.

    There was a point in Obama’s first US primary when the MSM started to swing behind him. It was noticeable. And when Blair hitched his wagon to Murdoch, it gave him a big boost.

    I’m expecting a change of government come end of September. It’s all downhill from here for National.

    The main question now is, which party will be Labour’s main support partner in government.

    • SpaceMonkey 5.1

      Indeed. Because while the media have given Jacinda the thumbs up, they seem pretty keen to isolate them from the Greens.

      • tracey 5.1.1

        By taking Greens 3 tag lines for themselves I think labour took the chance to eradicate the Greens as well.

        • Carolyn_nth

          Labour are trying to maximise their vote, so as to lift their result above the Nats probably. But don’t be fooled. It is necessary to have a strong GP contingent in parliament to ensure those 3 tag lines – (counter) climate change; clean rivers; (end_ poverty) – are held to.

          When in government, no party puts all their election policies into practice as promoted – especially not under MMP, where all legislation needs to be negotiated with other parties.

          • tracey

            I know what they are doing and I understand. BUT nonetheless they have stolen the taglines and escaped any analysis/condemnation for it, which is interesting. Consider if Labour under Little had done that. Those voting Labour in hopes of a shift to the Left will rue a Green party polling under 5%.

            Do not be fooled at their core Labour and National Parties predominantly yearn for and chase a FPP type outcome.

            • Carolyn_nth

              Oh, yes. I do agree that many in Labour still have a FPP mentality, and resent the GP – especially those on the riht of Labour such as Grant Robertson.

              • tracey

                I wonder if psychologically the vehement dislike of the Green party is they represent the conscience of society, what we ought to be doing but many aren’t. Pollies and the Press Corp clearly hate having that particular mirror held up to them. So they want to smash the mirror.

            • Incognito

              I have a niggling suspicion that paradoxically a fairly large proportion of enrolled voters would also prefer an FPP-like scenario under MMP …

              The 5% threshold should go!

              • tracey

                Yes. Those of my age and older who cut their voting teeth on the adversarial 1 versus 1 election just will not brook this new fangled system (even after 20 years). Sharing is not actually something we excel at.

                • Incognito

                  There’s sharing and there’s power sharing.

                  When community sense and collective ideals were more prevalent this was a sine qua non.

                  Nowadays, this has been supplanted by neoliberalism and its pursuit of personal freedom and thus personal (read: self-centred) power. The result is an unwinnable endless competition and a relentless fruitless struggle for personal freedom that only produces stress & unhappiness at an individual level and inequality & poverty at a societal level.

                  I wish we would truly embrace MMP but it ain’t happening yet …

                  • Tracey

                    But then there are political and media forces framing as 2 horse all the time. Greens have had little coverage compared to Turei outrage

                    • Incognito

                      Hi Tracey,

                      I believe this is consistent with my comments and could be called the fertile soil hypothesis of framing, spin, propaganda or whatever. Basically, I believe that if people prefer, for whatever reasons – it could be just simplicity, the FPP-kind of thinking they are more susceptible and prone to accept that kind of ‘framing’. Sounds like an open door, doesn’t it? Well, it is an open door 😉 Dichotomy dominates!

              • alwyn

                “The 5% threshold should go!”
                Out of curiosity did you say that after the last election when the Conservative Party fell a bit short?
                Or is it only if it happens to the parties you favour?
                Is it a case of “It all depends on whose ox is gored”?

                • Incognito

                  Dear alwyn, such leading questions!

                  No, I did not say that when or because the CP failed to reach the threshold.

                  I say it again now, here on TS, because of the principle that is at stake and not because I’m rooting for any particular party. [I’m happy to provide links to my previous comments re. the abolishing of the silly 5% threshold; it’s fundamentally undemocratic IMO]

                  I hope this only constitutes a minor hypocritical demeanour if at all?

                  • alwyn

                    I don’t actually require that you mentioned the CP in any previous comments.
                    If you argued and commented in favour of the 5% quota going at the time of the last election I would happily accept that you are being consistent in your opinions.
                    I personally am in favour of a lower number. Two or two and a half percent would probably be fine. I would however retain the minimum party vote not applying to parties who, like the Maori or ACT parties, can win an electorate.
                    That caters for parties who have a very strong support base among a minority group or who have strong regional support in just a part of the country.

                    • Incognito

                      I hope you don’t mind me being a little lazy and just providing a link to one previous comment of mine: https://thestandard.org.nz/open-mike-21022017/#comment-1301968?

                    • alwyn

                      That is fine and quite unambiguous. That is absolutely in agreement with the comment you made here. At that (February) time there seemed to be no possibility of the Green Party imploding so it can’t possibly be assumed that your view depended on which party was involved.
                      I personally wouldn’t go that far but that has nothing to do with the matter. I apologise for my unfounded suspicions.

                    • Incognito

                      All good alwyn; I find it better to focus on common ground than on what separates because the latter tends to tear us further apart. I wish you a good week.

            • red-blooded

              Tracey, Labour’s had strong policies on climate change, water and social equity for every recent election. These policies were developed over a number of years, using a democratic process within the party – they haven’t been “stolen” from anyone.

  6. swordfish 6


    2017 Q&A CB Poll … 2014 Party Vote

    Labour 37% ……… … 18% … + 19
    Greens 4% ……… ……10% … – 6
    L+G 41% ………… …… 28% … + 13

    NZF 16% ………… ……13% … + 3
    Oppo 57% ….…… …..41% … + 16

    Nat 41% ….……… ….. 50% … – 9
    Other 2% ….…… ….…. 9% … – 7

    Nat +
    Other 43% ..……… …. 59% … – 16

    (Other = largely Right Bloc – Govt)

    Jacinda-mania hits Whangarei in Red Scare frenzy !!!

    • Zeroque 6.1

      I wonder what can be made of those big shifts in terms of what might be expected elsewhere Swordfish? This is traditionally safe national country isn’t it and if that sort of swing happens here then I wonder whether it would be less or more pronounced in electorates that are less safe for National.

      • JanM 6.1.1

        I believe there are several things at play up here. I think Jacinda is having an effect, but also people up here may be starting to see (with good reason I think) that moving away from National might just improve their lot from being a forgotten and neglected outpost run as a fiefdom by old white men. And there is a slowly changing population as people move up here from Auckland, drawn by the cheaper housing, the beauty and the calmer lifestyle – and then there’s the the promise of Hundertwasser !! The fact that Sheryl Mai has twice been voted as mayor is a bit of an indication that change has been in the air for a while.

    • alwyn 6.2

      You do realise that in a MMP environment the arithmetic is different?
      If you have Labour at 37% and the Green Party at 4% the total L+G is 37%.
      The Green vote is completely wasted. Just like the Conservative Party vote was last election.

      • Sans Cle 6.2.1

        lol. Wasted? You wish!
        Not if Metiria wins Te Tao Tonga!
        Or if Nick Smith loses Nelson.
        There is a lot to play for yet.

        …and not if the whole nation became suddenly enlightened as to the challenges that climate change poses for future generations.

        • Zeroque

          And I think the trends are important and we should know soon whether recent gains and losses are continuing in the same direction as recently.

      • swordfish 6.2.2

        Where did I ever suggest otherwise, my dearest alwyers ?

        May well be a very close run thing with our New Age chums in the Greens – which is why I’ve already stated:

        If the Greens are averaging anything less than about 6.5% in the final round of pre-Election Polls then I’ll be forced to switch my Party Vote from Labour to the Vegetable Rights and Peace Party, just to ensure they return

        Open Mike 25/08/2017

        Two more points

        (1) Whangarei Poll not NZ

        (2) Lab + NZF = 53%

        • alwyn

          Then why do you bother to add the “party votes” up when you are only looking at a single electorate? After all the Party Vote only matters for the country as a whole. If you don’t think they are representative of the country as a whole you should just ignore them.

          On the other hand you are probably aware that in 2014 the Green Party got almost exactly the same share of the party vote in Whangarei as the did in the whole country. This 4% seems to be an omen.
          Do you feel a little shiver down your spine?

          You are of course welcome to switch your vote from Labour to the Greens if that is your wish. That will just be another vote wasted.

          • tracey

            You understand that this is a poll and not the actual election result?

          • WILD KATIPO

            Blah , blah , blah … semantics.

            And you argue on in defense of the ogre party and its downhill slide while the rest of the country is on the brink of installing Adern as leader and insisting she wears a tiara and dresses in purple…

          • swordfish

            Variation, my dear alwyers, variation

            Suggests an extraordinary Labour surge / a significant Right Bloc plunge & yep potential troub for our Hippy chums

            But the swing will vary across the country as you well know

            Do you feel a little shiver down your spine?”

            Just the teensiest weensiest one, alwyers, but I won’t be writing the Greens off just yet

            Good to see Lab + NZF = 53% though isn’t it

            • WILD KATIPO

              Heh… I reckon there’s a lot of peeps like myself who just want a Left / Center Left govt in. There’s good policy’s scattered throughout the Greens , Labour and NZ First .

              I would like a combination thereof, which is what I’m picking we will get. When Labour was in trouble I was going to vote Labour, well , situation changed and it’ll be the Greens now that get my party vote. Sorry Labour people but I’m still cheering for you lot too 🙂 .

              End goal long term ?… to weaken the neo liberal grip on this country. And you don’t do that by voting for Act or National.

          • swordfish

            Incidentally, alwyers, if you absolutely insist (as you seem to be doing) on seeing this Whangarei Poll as a very precise harbinger of the 2017 Party Vote on a nationwide basis (rather than the very rough indication of what’s happening 4 weeks out – that it, in fact, is) then …

            NZ 2014 Party Vote …. Whangarei swing … NZ 2017 Party Vote
            Labour …….. 25% …………………… + 19 ………………………. 44%
            Greens …….. 11% …………………… – 6 ………………………….. 5%
            L+G ………….. 36% …………………… + 13 ……………………….. 49%

            NZF …………… 9% ……………………. + 3 …………………………. 12%
            Oppo ……….. 44% ………………….. + 16 ………………………… 60%
            (Lab + NZF… 34% …………………… + 22 ……………………….. 56%)

            Nat …………… 47% …………………… – 9 …………………………. 38%
            Other …………. 8% …………………… – 7 …………………………. 1%

            Nat +
            Other ………… 55% ………………… – 16 ………………………….. 39%

            (Vast majority of Other = Right Bloc)

            Do you feel a little shiver down your impeccably pampered Tory spine, alwyn ?

            I mean Faaaark !!! this is as dramatic a turnaround as that accomplished by former 60s teenage Pop Idol Donny Brash and his Orewa Speech.

            There’ll be tears before bedtime.

            • ScottGN

              Haha! Great work swordfish.

            • alwyn

              Can I just correct the Green figure a little.
              Party vote, 2014 was 10.7% If you get to deduct 6% you get a predicted 2017 Party vote of 4.7%, not 5%.
              4.7% means ZERO in our MMP scheme. The difference between 4.7 and 5.0 is absolutely critical.
              Are you now feeling a little shiver?

      • tracey 6.2.3

        Did you read the bit indicating national’s party vote is dropping too?

      • tracey 6.2.4

        It is not a 2 party system. You are continuing to think like a FPPer. I know the supporters of the right yearn for the days of yore and seem hell bent on imposing the failed strategies of 40 years ago on everyone else. The Right and many on the left just can’t get their heads around this politics thing not being a game of rugby with no draw permitted.

    • John 6.3

      And 57% of electorate vote is against Reti but its split so looks like he will retain his job for life and still do nothing for the problems that confront Whangarei and Northland. Just like the last 45 years on National in Whangarei.

  7. peterh 7

    She who laughs last, laughs longest, thank you miss piggy

  8. tracey 8

    Has anyone else noticed how petty and abusive Morgan gets on twitter and FB when someone even just asks a question?

    • Bertha Mason 8.1

      ^Absolutely. He’s an insufferable toddler and I hope NZ’s smart enough to steer clear.

    • Carolyn_nth 8.2

      Let’s hope that political vehicle is on a one way road to oblivion.

      • tracey 8.2.1

        Really? He has some good policy if you want a fairer, more caring NZ. NZF/Labour will be many things but still too Right for my liking.

    • Andre 8.3

      Good reason to ask him lots of questions then. If I were on either I would.

      I’d start by asking how much tax low-capital companies (and their owners), such as Trademe and Infometrics (whose value is mostly in intangibles), would pay while they were being built and then sold would pay under his Comprehensive Capital Tax, compared to what they would pay if NZ had a proper Capital Gains tax.

  9. AB 10

    It feels like the only time we (voters) are allowed to change a government is when it has the imprimatur of self-designated ‘wise’ and ‘sensible’ media commentators like Armstrong.
    When they are unwilling to give that imprimatur they will make up all sorts of sh*t like non-existent $100,000 bottles of wine donated to Labour.
    They have far too much power – the question is how to contain that power without getting all coercive and dictatorial and suppressing freedom of speech. Giving the opportunity for a multitude of different voices to be heard, instead of one dominant (corporate) voice makes sense – but how to do that?

    • Carolyn_nth 10.1

      I agree. And the MSM mostly don’t support anything to far left of centre.

      think the strangulation of public service media has not helped. But, ultimately, the only way of combating it is with a strong flax roots movement: and one which is not dependent on the approval of most of the dominant news media voices.

      • Ian 10.1.1

        Main stream media are supposed to report the news not make it up.Have you figured out why Trump is potus ?

        • One Anonymous Bloke

          Because when the mask slips, many people who vote right of centre are white supremacists and Trump said what you’re all ‘thinking’.

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