The media response following Jacinda Ardern’s utterly convincing win in the Mt Albert by election is interesting although somewhat predictable. Both the New Zealand Herald and the Dominion Post are suggesting that Ardern may be the next deputy leader of the Labour Party.
In the Dominion Post Tracy Watkins said:
Jacinda Ardern’s win in Mt Albert comes with a big majority – and an even bigger headache for Labour leader Andrew Little.
Ardern’s profile in Auckland makes her an obvious choice for the deputy leadership but Little has repeatedly passed her over for Wellington based veteran Annette King.
If Labour want to ring the generational changes under Little’s leadership he can’t afford to keep making the same mistake.
King is a caucus favourite and popular with the party faithful but served in both the Clark and Lange governments. But King’s biggest liability is her location. Little, King and Labour’s finance spokesman Grant Robertson are all Wellington based.
It’s always been considered electoral suicide for either Labour or National not to have at least one Auckland based MP in their leadership line-up.
And in the Herald Clare Trevett repeated the idea saying:
It is likely by now Little is wondering if he could squeeze a bit more profile and a few points in the polls out of having Ardern as his deputy instead of King.
That is no indictment of King – but there is a bit of magic about Ardern.
Of course the last thing the party should do is take advice from the media. But the question concerning Ardern becoming deputy leader may be a matter of when rather than if.