It can’t be many tiny countries that have a leader of the opposition make positive international headlines, but Jacinda Ardern has managed it. Sydney Morning Herald:
Something amazing has been happening in New Zealand.
At the start of August, the country’s Labour opposition was facing electoral annihilation. Opinion polls had support for the party at about 24 per cent, which was so horrifying it prompted Labour leader Andrew Little to quit, just two months out from a general election.
Into this great void stepped Little’s deputy Jacinda Ardern, who worked in the UK’s Cabinet and Home offices before she was elected to New Zealand’s Parliament in 2008 and deputy party leader earlier this year.
And yet, fast forward three weeks and New Zealand is gripped by the “Jacinda Effect”.
Labour’s standing in the polls has leapt to 37 per cent, putting the party in with a genuine chance against the conservative National Party. Ardern is already earning comparisons to Justin Trudeau, Emmanuel Macron and Barack Obama as the opposition is flooded with support. In the 10 days after Ardern took over the leadership, Labour reportedly received almost $500,000 in donations with some 3500 volunteers coming forward. …
Charisma and a refreshing openness are helping Jacinda Ardern close the gap on Bill English
“The Jacinda effect, also known as ‘Jacindamania’, has been looming for a long time because she is a politician who has been a rising star, and someone with a strong X-factor and charismatic personality for a few years now.”
“At this point the Labour party seems to have gone from a grey old party with a lot of doom and gloom about them, to a party of Corbynesque excitement; and similar support,” he said, referring to the unexpectedly strong electoral showing by the UK Labour party in June under Jeremy Corbyn.
Ardern, 37, a sometime DJ who said she’d like New Zealand band Fat Freddy’s Drop to play at parliament if she was elected as PM, has been compared to other “rock-star” politicians around the world, including Justin Trudeau, Tony Blair, former New Zealand prime minister John Key – and even Barack Obama.
But Jennifer Lees-Marshment, associate professor of the school of politics and international relations at Auckland University, believes there is depth to Ardern’s success that goes beyond charisma. She has what every politician craves: people trust her.
“What Jacinda has is not just rock-star appeal,” said Lees-Marshment.
“Jacinda, Trudeau, Tony Blair, John Key, even Obama. They have a real ability to connect with people. They speak about the issues people really care about and then they speak about what they can do about it – they’re aspirational. And they are aware of the deep fears and concerns out there – but they are hopeful. They offer positivity to the negativity of problems.” …
Not bad reviews!
— Angela Cuming (@AngelaCuming) August 24, 2017
— Grant Robertson (@grantrobertson1) August 24, 2017