She ain’t no show pony

Written By: - Date published: 10:27 am, August 2nd, 2017 - 123 comments
Categories: election 2017, greens, interview, jacinda ardern, james shaw, labour - Tags:

Let’s just get this out of the way. It’s inevitable that there will be focus on Jacinda Ardern’s looks. Also a given is a certain amount of sexism that frequently goes with that because women get treated differently in politics, and because of, you know, sexism. For the men who don’t want their sexism to be so visible, ‘flakey’ is the word du jour.  I’m sure this won’t be news to Ardern herself, and there will of course be a bit of extra load for the left to push back against, especially women. If you don’t yet understand where the line is on this kind of sexism, start listening to the analyses of politicised progressive women, this is feminism 101 stuff.

So let’s just get it out of the way. Whatever people think of her politics Jacinda Ardern is a competent, skilled, intelligent politician just like the dudes. She’s got the optics sorted, so instead how about we celebrate that she absolutely nailed her first press conference as the new leader of Labour in ways we haven’t seen for a long time. It’s worth watching for the joy of seeing politics transform, and it’s a must watch for anyone who wants to have an opinion about Ardern and to understand where many of her skills are.

Beyond that there are some emerging new issues in this election. Bill posited yesterday that with the change of Labour’s leadership to someone likely to reverse their downward slide in the polls, the left needs to not let Labour capture NZ politics again and hold it in its neoliberal embrace. Nor detract from the new ground that the Greens have been gaining for a real chance at an actual progressive government and the shifting of NZ towards social democracy again.

So the question becomes how to work to change the government given that both a strong Labour and Green Party are needed? How do we reconcile this with the likelihood that Ardern will lift Labour in the polls but won’t necessarily break left?

As an aside, Ardern has said she wants 72 hours to get to grips with the new job and then bring her ideas back to the public. That takes us to Friday, so this looks like an opportunity for Labourites to be phoning, emailing, and doorstepping their MPs and party officials to encourage Labour to make the bold moves in this election.

Meanwhile in an interview with John Campbell, Green Party co-leader James Shaw gave this resounding endorsement of Ardern and what she brings not only to the Labour leadership but to the election and the chances of the left to change the government.

Jacinda turns this election into a real competition, there’s a real fight on now.

I think she’s got the skills, she’s got the leadership capability, she’s got the connection with the public.

On Labour raising their vote and not needing NZF,

Nothing is impossible. [Ardern] is quite the politician. She is a very unusual character in the NZ political landscape, I wouldn’t put it past her.

You saw that performance on TV just before… she was outstanding. I looked at that and I thought there is a future Prime Minister. She’s got charm, she’s warm, she’s funny, she’s incredibly intelligent, her values are rock solid. I think you are looking at someone there who is going to change the fortunes of the Labour Party, lift the vote, and change the government. I really do.

On Labour and the Greens voters,

Nobody takes votes from each other, votes are earned.

It’s democracy.

The whole interview is worth a watch (video below), because this is no longer bitter enemy politics, this is the election of co-operative politics. Shaw explains how this will work, the Greens and Labour campaigning as separate parties and the responsibility to grow the left vote. This is the Green Party who shook up the election 2 weeks ago by daring to talk about welfare, and they’re being very clear that they want a strong, competent Labour to govern with, and that the goal is still the most progressive government we can get. We need to get past the idea that Labour and the Greens have to be the same, and understand that it’s possible to think differently and still work together.

It’s the most solid I’ve seen the incoming Labour/Green government, but it’s still on a knife edge because of, as Campbell puts it, the elephant in the living room that isn’t even in the living room and nobody knows where it is. The irony for those seeking social democracy is that Labour may just have given us a new chance at forming an actual left wing government without NZF. Labour can probably get away with the Ardern factor alone and get to form government but to do so without NZF they need to show that their core values are backed up by good solid policy that competes with NZF’s. A few days ago Little pointed to the need for Labour to earn votes back from NZF, so I’m hoping we see some strategy from Ardern on this.

A few more thoughts about her. Ardern has mojo. Combined with her skills as a politician that makes her a potent force. This is important because some people will confuse her ability to use that mojo to lead with her physical looks. They’re not the same thing at all and it’s probably worth pointing out the differences as often as we can.

I hope she can sustain that mojo during what is likely to be a harsh campaign, and I hope she gets supported. Notable was the way that many left wing/progressive women swung in behind Ardern yesterday. That’s another force to be reckoned with.

She’s also talking about compassion. This is the woman who didn’t want to be PM but wanted to be Minister for Children instead. Labour still need to be pushed left on policy and positioning, but NZ has in too many ways become a cold heartless place and having a Prime Minister who says it’s not only ok but imperative to care for others has the potential to change the culture, especially when their major coalition partner is already leading the way on this. We now have a government in waiting that oozes social intelligence, which may be just as important as the policy shifts the left is waiting for.

A few choice bits about Ardern from the commentariat,

WILD KATIPO, (on Ardern to journo),

‘Would you like to tell me why I can’t’ ?

Woohooo !…. give em a bit of mongrel and you’ll do well !!!

Moderator note: this thread will be moderated tightly against sexism and trolling. Please choose your words with care. 

123 comments on “She ain’t no show pony”

  1. Carolyn_nth 1

    I do think Ardern has substance – but it is of the kind loved by the neoliberal mainstream (media and middleclasses). And she also does get a lot of media cut through because of personal charm – and that includes her physical appearance, unfortunately.

    Ardern has been anointed by the mainstream media, much as John Key was – it’s a continuation of personality politics, where the focus is on the person, and policies take a back seat.

    I do see her aligned to the right wing of Labour. And, IMO, James Shaw’s enthusiastic support of Ardern, puts him in the right wing of the GP.

    Short term, it likely will mean a change of government this election – thank the gods for at least a breather!

    Long term, I don’t see this leadership change as a great move for the NZ left – more akin to Blair’s rise in the UK – blocking a real left wing government, and holding the middle ground til the Nats get back in power and shift things even further to the right.

    NZ needs a rebuilding of public services, social welfare, public media, public education, public health, etc.

    if all that doesn’t happen in the next Labour-led government, all is lost for the left long term.

    • weka 1.1

      “I do see her aligned to the right wing of Labour”

      How so? People keep saying that but I haven’t seen the rationale yet (not saying you are wrong). Would love to seem some analysis of her politics.

      (Likewise Shaw, but the right of the Greens is still to left of Labour, so not too worried there).

      “I do think Ardern has substance – but it is of the kind loved by the neoliberal mainstream (media and middleclasses). And she also does get a lot of media cut through because of personal charm – and that includes her physical appearance, unfortunately.”

      I don’t see any of that as a problem. At a basic feminist level she can’t be held accountable for her looks, so the politics for me there are to just focus on how she does her job. Yes, physical appearance is part of that (Helen Clark got a make over), but that she has a certain look isn’t a problem. Latent sexism rearing it’s peculiar head is a problem, but hey, there’s all that baby stuff we can focus on instead 😉

      In terms of the media class, I liked what Sanctuary said yesterday about her being accepted by them and this being an easy place for her to work in ways that it wasn’t for Little. I see it as an asset. If you’ve got class privilege then the onus is to use to to do good.

      I’m not sure how much of her cut through is charm, how much is her smarts, and how much is mojo tbh (really hard to separate them out). But those things combined with social intelligence are gold. Think John Key as sociopath vs Jacinda Ardern as an actual human being.

      So let Gower and co fall over themselves in their fawning. If it pushes them off balance for a few weeks, good.

      And yeah, let’s see how the real stuff of policy and values comes through, because that’s definitely need too. Am looking forward to Friday, cautiously optimistic but not getting my hopes *too high, and I still think the smart thing is to encourage people to vote Green in order to have the most progressive govt we can get.

    • ianmac 1.2

      Carolyn, Wonder why you think that Jacinda represents “… the neoliberal mainstream…” ?

      • Carolyn_nth 1.2.1

        I’ve seen her giving a lot of speeches. She often makes the right kinds of noises, but the passion is often missing, IMO. She seems to aim to pander to MOR views, and not scare the horses.

        Also, she doesn’t really seem to get the struggling classes – this was shown in her comments about Turei’s confession. Like those on the right, she focused on the law breaking, rather than the need to change the law. Seems to be some pandering to the right wing there.

        She is also tied to some centrists – GR, and now Kelvin Davis who is pretty much on the right of Labour.

        • weka 1.2.1.1

          Interesting. I’m seeing her being highly passionate and that that passion comes straight from her values. I’ve only started watching her since the Mt Albert by-election though.

          • Carolyn_nth 1.2.1.1.1

            She is no doubt a very able speaker and communicator. Sometimes she seems to speak with passion, sometimes not. I’m not sure how much is just good performance skills.

            • WILD KATIPO 1.2.1.1.1.1

              Labour will need the Greens. There is no question of that . The Greens are going to have enormous clout in the new incoming govt. And even if there is a strong neo liberal presence in Labour.

              If that is the case the Greens will easily be able to override any excesses of neo liberalism. I did harbour my suspicions about Adern when her and Robertson seemed to look displeased when Cunliffe won. But times have changed , and now the Greens have risen to a powerful position. It is part of why I praise the Greens as much as I do Labour. I fully trust them to hold any neo liberalism that seeks to express itself from certain members of the Labour caucus in check.

              Even if the new coalition govt consists of Labour , Greens , NZ First ( which are very anti neo liberalism ) the Greens will be an integral part of that coalition , – and Jacinda would not dare to destroy the new fledgling govt by indulging in the very same neo liberal ideology they have essentially had to oppose for the last 9 years with National.

              Neo liberalism is dying at an ever accelerating speed .

              They know it , we know it and National knows it.

    • Karen 1.3

      “I do see her aligned to the right wing of Labour.”

      I don’t know Jacinda personally, but I do know lots of left wing people who do, and they would vehemently disagree with this assessment. She has quietly bided her time and not rocked the boat, but I think you are going to be very pleasantly surprised by the direction she takes the Labour Party.

      • Carolyn_nth 1.3.1

        I would be extremely happy is she broke left once in government.

        I am getting old, and have seen too many false dawns for the left – including Helen Clark as PM. She promised closing the gaps, then backed off under pressure. Then there was the foreshore and seabed issue.

        In retrospect, those 9 years were a holding phase, when public services were not strengthened enough to withstand the further dismantling by the NACTs.

        False dawns for me included, Bill Clinton, Obama, Blair, many Labour leaders in the UK and NZ – including Cunliffe – plus the rise of the Māori Party and Mana Parties.

        I’m not totally certain how MOR Ardern is, but she has been supported to her leadership position by right wingers in Labour. And they have cynically shuffled towards undermining Little in the short window when caucus alone can change the leader.

        Already we have Clair Curran talking about removing the rights of Labour members and affiliates to vote for Labour leader.

        • weka 1.3.1.1

          I think for me the difference is that I don’t expect Labour to be a social democratic party atm. They’re centre left, and they’re working within a neoliberal framework. So in that sense I agree with you they’re not going to save us, but I’m also not sure that I would place Ardern in the same position as the Blairites. That takes us straight to Labour’s ongoing dilemma of the split in the party. Doesn’t matter who the leader is, that stuff needs to be sorted at some point and I agree that there will be moves from the right to protect their power. And if that’s all we had, I would find it very depressing. But we have the Greens, and now a chance at changing the government. Next step is to push Labour to stand up for its own votes and compete with NZF. If we can get strong Greens in a Lab/G govt then I think there is a chance that NZ can shift left.

          • Ad 1.3.1.1.1

            You are way ahead of yourself.
            There is a sugar-rush from the media. That’s it.

            Arguments about whether a future government can be pushed by activists one way or the other are for after a successful election.

            • weka 1.3.1.1.1.1

              Sure, but there’s also use in having strategy now. As with others here, I want the strongest progressive govt we can get via this election.

              I agree the media are having a sugar rush, lol. And the left. But there are other things going on too. I don’t think we can underestimate what Ardern as a feminist is doing right now. The pitch is going to pass lots of people by, but those that can see what she is doing are getting excited. That’s good for the left.

              (and Carolyn, I agree about the social class issues, and that’s a problem, including for feminism here, but I also think that Ardern has the capacity to improve on this).

          • Carolyn_nth 1.3.1.1.2

            OK. That’s a fair enough summation/argument.

        • Karen 1.3.1.2

          I am (probably) even older and have also seen too many false dawns for my liking. My first vote was for Values back in 1972 and I was very hopeful back then!

          Clark did a bit better than hold but not nearly enough, and the S & F legislation and her refusal to increase benefits were major failings. She was somewhat hamstrung by the number of Rogernomes still in her cabinet.

          There will still be a few conservatives in the next Labour caucus but far fewer than there has been for 35 years. We have Andrew Little to thank for that. It was Andrew who endorsed Jacinda for the leadership.

          I wouldn’t be too alarmed by the support Jacinda gets from the right – by charming them she will be able to get stuff done that they would normally oppose.

          I am quietly hopeful.

          • Ad 1.3.1.2.1

            Cullen gone. Cosgrove gone. King gone. Mallard likely gone. Jones gone. Shearer gone.

            The “right wing” in Labour does not exist.

            The current lot are pretty mild.

            • Bill 1.3.1.2.1.1

              The current lot are…the technocrats (“careerists” if you prefer that term).

              • Ad

                It’s no place for amateurs.

                • adam

                  So bugger any working class people. Better for middle class white technocrats to tell us what to do.

                  And there is just another in a long list of reasons, why so many working class people just won’t vote for the labour party.

                  So your saying people like Semple, Fraser and Holland would not make the cut.

                  You know this is a forum to promote the interest of working people Ad?

                  • Ad

                    Semple was of a time where they still had the capacity to form the state. Close to a century ago. The scope and scale of the state is far far different now.

                    And if you know your history you will know Syd Holland was son of an MP, and his work experience consisted of running his father’s electorate and running his campaigns – a technocrat.

                    Fraser was the best technocrat politician New Zealand has ever had and did an astonishing amount with his skills.

                    So you clearly know nothing of the names you cite.

                    You also don’t understand the development and functions of the modern state.

                    Which is why we need people like Jacinda Ardern – whose professional experience consists of politics – and not amateurs. They get the levers of power, and are in touch enough with New Zealanders.

                    • Every one of those people started off as amateurs and then became professionals , however.

                      The deciding factor is whether they lose their humanity in the process. Which so many technocrats invariably do.

                      Those are the ones we do not want.

                    • Carolyn_nth

                      The worst professional politicians get embedded in a bit of a bubble, and preservation of their own hold on power over-rides representing all the people.

                      And then, escalation of those falling out of the welfare safety net, not being able to access adequate education or housing or health care.

                      Then it’s necessary for ordinary folk to get a voice in politics and ditch the careerists.

                    • adam

                      Syd Holland – come on this is a site dedicated to the interest of working people and labour. Not Tory scum bags.

                      https://nzhistory.govt.nz/people/harry-holland

                      Harry was the labour guy, and the editor of the Maoriland worker – which became The Standard.

                      So the whole ‘you know nothing John Snow’ routine is a bit lame from you.

                      As for your, the state is too complicated for working people to understand, is more of the condescending crap trap the modern labour party is know for.

                      Thanks for supporting me on that point.

                    • Ad

                      You didn’t specify which Holland. Harry Holland is the worst example: the rough-hewn radical that achieved nothing in Parliament in a very short span.

                      Harry Holland today wouldn’t even get into the lower 10 of the New Zealand First list.

                      Plenty of place for working people on the list. There’s a few.
                      But they need to learn the ropes of parliamentary and Ministerial process if they are to have any use other than voting cannon-fodder.

                    • adam

                      No offence Ad but you accused me of not knowing any history, and then you come out with some remarks which are quite frankly baffling.

                      Ratana, the formation of the labour party, the influenza struggle, and the fundamental changes in attitude by many wets to the rights and issues for working people. All nothing in your opinion. Which tells me more of where you are at, than anything.

                      Your venom towards any voice for change, represents to me that you embrace conservatism as a ideology, over socialism in any of it’s forms.

                • One Anonymous Bloke

                  Professionals only then. Olympians unwelcome.

        • Jenny Kirk 1.3.1.3

          Thank you Carolyn_nth.

          You are putting into words my own thoughts … and you say you are “old”. So am I. I think you are seeing the same things happening as I have seen – because we have seen it in the past, in Labour.
          The real left struggle to maintain Labour as a true left Party ….. and all the bullshit erstwhile “friends” like Trotter who spouted that Andrew Little was still conforming to the neo-libs in the Party just had blinkers over their eyes.

          As an example to those who doubt you, and I – Jacinda – along with most other Labour MPs favoured raising the age of superannuation to 67 years – and did not see there were other remedies in sight (such as renewing contributions to the NZ Super Fund). It was not until Andrew Little took office, that Labour backed down to retaining super at 65 years. So I’m not holding my breath that this will continue as a firm policy.

          Edit – I’m not saying Jacinda is neo-lib. But I do think she is much more conservative than Andrew Little, as is Kelvin D. And maybe – NZ is not ready yet for anything more radical than a conservative Labour Party.

          • marty mars 1.3.1.3.1

            The king is dead, long live the king.

            I hope folk give Jacinda a fair go.

            The youth are taking over – it is their time.

            • Carolyn_nth 1.3.1.3.1.1

              Tony Blair was about 40 years old when he became leader of the UK Labour Party – about 3 years older than Ardern is now. At the time many saw Blair as the new youthful generation taking over. And look where that took us.

              Then came oldie Corbyn.

          • Carolyn_nth 1.3.1.3.2

            Thanks, Jenny.

            The super eg is a very useful one.

    • Ad 1.4

      “I do think Ardern has substance – but I need to find a reason to hate her because word-porridge … ”

      “Ardern has been anointed by the mainstream media – because media success in the middle of an electoral campaign is such a terrible and loathsome thing and failing is far preferable because failure means purity and purity paired with loss means instant sainthood…”

      “James Shaw’s enthusiastic support of Ardern, means he must eat small puppies for breakfast…”

      Carolyn, you have one of the worst cases of left melancholy I have ever seen.
      You make miserable so pretty to read.

      • Carolyn_nth 1.4.1

        Thank you. I take that as a compliment.

        • Sabine 1.4.1.1

          +1

        • One Two 1.4.1.2

          Carolyn, you are one of the most astute and articulate commentators on this blog…

          Your observations and commentary regarding Adern, false dawns and such..is spot on, and very relevant..

          The frameworks, treaties, international contracts are locked in, and it matters not which ‘team are at the wheel’, not in the bigger picture..

          I understand that a change of government ‘could’ soften the blows being landed on the most vulnerable, but the ‘desperation’ of those who can’t accept ‘it’s the system’ which is broken, is as palpable as it is understandable…

          False Dawns are a symptom, not a cause…

          Jacinda has no chance…not a shred!

          • Carolyn_nth 1.4.1.2.1

            Thanks OT.

            I saw this happening with Blair when I lived in the UK – but still I had hopes for a big change through him, from Thatcherism.

            Young Blair, in his late 30s, was a media darling while John Smith was Labour leader. I saw how centrists – swing voters – loved him. His face was liked by the TV cameras. He had a slick public performance.

            In power, he signed the pact with the Murdoch devil, and dismantled UKLP democracy.

            However, I don’t think Jacinda is a war monger like Blair- so some differences.

            Any real change will need to come from a powerful grass roots surge for change.

            I do think now there is a very real change to a Lab-Green government. But winning an election on its own is just the beginning. It’s how the election is won, and what happens after that matters most.

            • WILD KATIPO 1.4.1.2.1.1

              All good things have got to start somewhere.

              So , we want , … Treasury / Reserve Bank brought under direct govt control again. Dismantling of the framework created by the original Employment Contracts Act, trade tariffs to protect our own industry and its workers, re-nationalization of our SOE’s, a cessation of our land being sold to foreign interests , a progressive taxation system, free education, free healthcare, full employment and the maintenance of the welfare state and removal of the Goods and Services Tax among others….

              Guess what ? so do I.

              And guess what ?

              They were almost exactly the same policy’s that Jim Anderton’s Alliance party had !!!

              No wonder I have a fondness for the Greens and parts of Labour and NZ First – these things are all scattered among all three. So how do we get there?

              By supporting what exists and building towards those goals. One step at a time. And we start by knocking out key areas, – such as Metiria and the Greens have done. And by supporting both them and Labour. And hopefully achieve what hundreds of thousands of Kiwi’s protesting on the streets during the 1990’s failed to. And those thousands who protested the ECA only failed because the public union reps sided with Ruth Richardson.

              THAT’S the magnitude we face.

              But this time around there is no Roger Douglas or Ruth Richardson in parliament. Ken Douglas and Bill Andersen are long gone and it doesn’t even matter if the Business Roundtable have since changed their name to the New Zealand Initiative.

              We can get em all on the run by strategically attacking step by step what remains of the rotting neo liberal monolith.

              And that’s whats got to be done.

    • “Long term, I don’t see this leadership change as a great move for the NZ left – more akin to Blair’s rise in the UK – blocking a real left wing government, and holding the middle ground til the Nats get back in power and shift things even further to the right.”

      This sounds like a description of the Clark government, but in hindsight, even they were to the left of Blair (eg no NZ combat troops used to support US aggression under Clark). From the outside, it looks like things have moved on a lot inside Labour in the last decade. Just the fact that Labour’s preference is still to form a L-G government is a clear sign of the diminishing influence of Labour’s Rogernome rump. Also, the Greens have grown their vote, and their campaigning skills, and offer a much more significant potential coalition partner than they did for Clark.

      Now that I’ve been forced by events to look at her background more carefully (eg chair of International Union of Socialist Youth), Jacinda definitely looks more left-leaning than right-leaning. A lot of Labour MPs I would once have written off as soft neo-liberals (eg Clare Curran) seem emboldened by the Corbyn effect, and are tacking hard left. What I’ve seen so far gives me real hope that Jacinda is one of them, and that unlike with Cunliffe, the majority of the caucus are ready to shift left with her.

  2. patricia bremner 2

    You have 72 hours to send her your wish list Carolyn Nth.

  3. Ad 3

    If she gets Labour back to 30%, she’s probably a Targaryen.

  4. I feel uncomfortable with this good looks thing – sure it is society and this gets discussion started around this. But what if she was considered ugly? I just can’t sit with these labels and subjective judgments – I can’t stand it.

    I know this society is immersed in this type of classification AND it is just so not right imo.

    I’m loving the new old politics from the greens and now labour – I predict a landslide for the left.

    • Ad 4.1

      Corbyn still pulls.
      Spare me if I know how, but he does.

      • weka 4.1.1

        You get that Corbyn is attractive though right?

        • Ad 4.1.1.1

          You are asking me to “get” why I positively mentioned Corbyn specifically in the context of “this good looks thing”?

          • weka 4.1.1.1.1

            I thought you were suggesting that Corbyn is doing well despite not being good looking.

    • Marcus Morris 4.2

      I so hope you are right marty mars. There is a spring in my step that I haven’t felt since David Lange annihilated Rob Muldoon way back in 1985 and that is a long time between drinks. There is so much talent and social responsibility within our Labour and Green MP’s and, I suspect, a huge amount of mutual respect and and earnest desire to return New Zealand to a just and fair society. Can we counter the assessment of John Hawkes in his recently published book “Paradise Squandered”.

      • weka 4.2.1

        That is such a great comment (although I don’t understand the last sentence).

        • Marcus Morris 4.2.1.1

          Thanks Weka. A retired medico, John Hawkes, recently published a book titled “Paradise Squandered” in which he laments the last thirty years of neoliberal economics and what it has cost New Zealand’s social fabric. He actually applauds Douglas’s diagnosis of the countries economic ills at that time but argues that his remedy and the notion of “trickle down” was a disaster.

  5. David Mac 5

    Understandably there is a strong current at The Standard that favours a sharper left turn. Our government needs to be a voice for all 4.5 million of us. For those that seek a sharper left turn, vote Green. There’s a good chance they’ll have at least about a third of the pull around the decision making table. More power than the ‘Raise benefits by 20% willya mate?’ left have ever had in NZ governments.

    I don’t think Labour should head off left to try and win the hearts that the Greens have made a down payment on, they should spread out in the opposite direction. The Labour Party was formed and fueled by workers that were getting a raw deal. We find ourselves in similar circumstances. 1000’s and 1000’s of people working long and hard hours and going nowhere. Many of these people bought into National’s 9 year long Brighter Future probation period. A strong credible pull from Labour could see many of them jumping the fence back again.

    To win enough hearts to win an election I think the left needs to spread, not polarise over on the hard left. A good team doesn’t duplicate roles, they have cohesive skilled specialists that complement each other.

    • Ad 5.1

      If the Greens get jet over 10%, they represent 10% of voters.

      So Labour can figure how to be more attractive to the other 90% of us.

      • garibaldi 5.1.1

        David you correctly state. ” The Labour Party was formed and fuelled by workers that were getting a raw deal”.
        This problem has arisen again because of neoliberalism, and Labour still adheres to it and will merely tinker around the edges of it.
        Is tinkering with it really enough to regain the peoples trust?
        I think it is this lack of trust in Labour that has helped keep it in opposition for so long. Thus I think it is important for Labour to turn Left to gain credibility.

        • WILD KATIPO 5.1.1.1

          Exactly. the strong Left gives people strong choice and clear direction. Conversely taking AD’s way of thinking, by going Right lessens peoples choice.

          We have already had 33 years of Labour hanging over to the hard right.

          Its lost them elections and it has cost the public massive suffering.

          Move Left and keep on moving.

          Do you people realize that the last govt of Rob Muldoon was actually by today’s standards closer to MANA than it is to the Greens and Labour ???

          THAT ,… is how far to the Right this country’s politics and economic direction has shifted.

          And that is disgusting !!!!

          Enough of all this toying around with extreme Right wing ideology !!!!

          It is like playing with a Black Mamba and hoping you will not get bitten.

          I Should’ve Been MFin’ Black Mamba – Vernita Green – YouTube
          you tube▶ 3:29

      • One Anonymous Bloke 5.1.2

        Someone give Ad a hug and some chocolate.

        • Ad 5.1.2.1

          I’m at home having a sickie consoling myself with re-runs of Season 5 of the West Wing.

          • One Anonymous Bloke 5.1.2.1.1

            In that case, I disagree entirely: Labour doesn’t need to make itself attractive to people it needs to remember its values and raison d’etre and stick to them passionately.

            Don’t worry, that’ll be attractive to enough of us to make a difference.

            • Ad 5.1.2.1.1.1

              Values will be sufficient to loyalists and to people who think about policy.
              That’s the base of 20% they have now.

              Who knows maybe she will also deliver fresh policies worth an extra 1-2%.
              I think that highly unlikely with 7 weeks to go.

              The rest is what Ardern will deliver that neither Little nor English have. It’s all those ShowPony elements: the campaign, the televisual appeal, the proxy commentators, the grace and style, the donor-friendliness, the charm towards different sectors. All of that leads to turnout.

              • One Anonymous Bloke

                It just sounds managerial to me. To be blunt: a failure of imagination.

                • Ad

                  You’re not on the campaign team then.
                  “Nationwide electoral campaign” is the very definition of managerial.

                  Ardern is in the managerial contest of her life.
                  She knows it.

  6. Sable 6

    The issue for many like myself isn’t gender its “competence” and so far Labour don’t look too appealing. At least not to me.

    Its all very well to change leaders but as they should have worked out by now but for some reason haven’t is people want good policy too that appeals to traditional Labour voters. No point repainting your door if your house is falling down.

  7. Sabine 7

    to those that say National wants Little, i tend to disagree. I think they want Ardern, hoping she will take away votes from the Greens from those Labour voters that just ‘could not vote for Labour under Little cause Neoliberalism) .
    Little was good, a bit wooden maybe while speechifying, but then i don’t care about speeches, they bore the living out of me. I care about deeds.

    I don’t care if Ardern can ‘handle the media’, chances are they all went to the same Kindy, School, University and most of it is nothing but a good show anyways. Little however was ‘feared’ from the moment he got it. Why? Maybe simply because he was that quiet unassuming guy getting shit done while not known for kissing butt.

    so no, i won’t vote for Labour. I won’t vote for the ‘pretty face’ that is there to keep us happy. I never saw the attraction in Ardern, neither in substance or beauty and thus can’t be bothered, heck i don’t think i ever voted for anyone cause ‘beauty’ considering that the wast majority of politicos are old, fat white male.

    Both my partner and i will be given our vote to the greens, not to Shaw (can’t stand the polished boring bugger – just my guts clenching every time he opens his mouth – sorry Weka), but for Metiria. What Metiria did in the last few weeks takes guts, courage, mana, heart, and a strong will. that is what will get my vote.

    humanity is fucking dumb. Here shiney object. Now go and do as we tell ya.

    fuck no, i wont do as you tell me.

    • weka 7.1

      Not sure who is telling you to do what, but if you’re voting Green that’s a win from my point of view :- )

      The point of the post was that ‘shiney’ is a distraction, including when the left use it. We just don’t have to go there. I’d prefer Metiria and the Aunties to run the place, but in the meantime we need Labour and we need Labour appearing competent. I like Little too (so glad he will be a Minister), but he was about to take a serious beating and he’d run out of strength to do another 8 weeks of that.

      I don’t care if Shaw is boring, any more than I care if Little is wooden or Arden is pretty. What I care about is politicians’ values and their skill at effecting change. Not seen that viable for the left in a really long time so am relieved we are finally getting there.

      What I’m really looking forward to now is the Greens stepping it up. They just had a standing room only campaign launch in Auckland and stood up and said “we intend to be bold”. Watch that space.

      • Sabine 7.1.1

        As i said, Shaw is a gut feeling nothing more nothing left. My gut don’t like Shaw. Nothing personal.
        Ardern is the shiney object. Nothing more nothing left and above all nothing personal.

        personally i have no issues with loosing, but i do have an issue with winning for all the wrong reasons.
        Ardern is all the wrong reasons in my book. and with her i don’t see any change coming. Again, just me.

        i have always voted either for greens or labour, depending on the situation of the day.

        as one of the authors said the other day, never vote for the same party twice i.e. don’t give allegiance blindly.

        but i will be damned if i vote for the shiney objects that the media is fawning over.

        i take the wooden union man any time over the shiney object. And that is what ardern will be, a shiney object. again, just me, just my guts.

        i shall stop commenting on this now as it is beyond pointless at this stage.
        We get what we deserve. Apparently it is ‘shiney’ above substance.

        • weka 7.1.1.1

          I really don’t think Arden is a show pony, even if she doesn’t move one iota left. Disappointing to see her being painted that way on the left. Analysis of how she might be lacking substance would be another matter (and would interest me along with analysis of where she sits on the L/R spectrum within Labour).

        • red-blooded 7.1.1.2

          Apparently it is ‘shiny’ above substance.

          Why do you assume these two qualities are mutually exclusive? Is it impossible for a person to be warm, articulate, intelligent, tactical, genuine and politically astute – all in one package? I sure as hell wouldn’t vote for or endorse someone just because they were good looking or harming, but I wouldn’t deny them my vote or support on that basis either.

          • One Anonymous Bloke 7.1.1.2.1

            Good looks and charm are a pretty good indication that you’re dealing with a conman, in my experience.

    • Humanity is dumb you are human are you dumb?

      The left block could use your vote.

      Little wasn’t feared, he was a liability like all the ones kicked out before him – check them out and notice a particular type – men, pākehā, middle to upper class, nice.

      Just so we are clear – I’ll never vote for labour because of decisions made during the Helen years.
      But I also will party vote green. And support labour as much as I can.

      Edit. She is NOT a shiney object – you’ve just quoted hooton (sadface)

      • Sabine 7.2.1

        i can’t quote hooton as i don’t read that shit and other then his musings here on the Standard do not know who he is. fact, i did not know the man exists until i came here a few years ago.

        that is right from me and i wear that. 🙂

        shiney object of is a discription of ‘distraction’, and yes, she is a distraction today.
        we are not talking about lifeline being cut, about homelessness, about hunger, about unemployment, underemployment, sickness without healthcare and btw, Labours manifesto is still the same as it was with little and while it was already lacking then i don’t think it will get better.
        Let me put it this way, she will only ever be as good as the party that she stands for, and i consider this party now to be nothing more then a dog and pony show.

        so again, my words don’t come from those that you guys give so much power. I don’t read the newspapers here in NZ and i don’t watch TV – i have not watched TV in at least 10 years. In fact i bought in my 50 years of life one TV, in 1998 for 60 bucks and i never used it.

        I read overseas media, luckily i speak more then one language, and i have friends the world over – and we speak a lot about politics. My view on politics is formed by my life experience, my history as a German, my experiences as a traveller for over 30 years and my experience as a women, as a sexual abuse survivor, as a warden of the state, as a migrant. Nothing more, nothing less.

    • Sabine 7.3

      you tell me, go swordfish, find the post where i said that.

      or am i missing your humor again? or is that a bit of ‘migrant should have no say bovine scat”

      you know what they say about germans, really bad at humor but good with lightbulbs.

      • Sabine 7.3.1

        you might want to check that with Lprent or someone who is good with this as this is not a comment from me.

        so either you are making shit up as you go along or someone else does.

  8. ianmac 8

    Thought I would try this:

    Today the Prime Minister Jacinda Adern spoke at the opening of…..

    Today the Prime Minister Jacinda Adern welcomed the huge drop in homelessness…

    Today the Prime Minister Jacinda Adern responded proudly to the big increase to minimum wages..

    Today the Prime Minister Jacinda Adern joined in the celebrations with the Leaders of the Green Party…

  9. Carolyn_nth 11

    So Ardern’s Labour is ditching the “Fresh approach” slogan, and are looking for a fresh approach.

  10. lurgee 12

    I remember posters hereabouts squeaking with joy about David Cunliffe.

    Wonder if we trawled back, we’d find the same posters (not Weka in particular) saying the same things about him as they are about Ardern.

    I do think she is the best candidate Labour can put forward. I just don’t understand why she’s being put forward 7 weeks before an election. I struggle to see how she can turn Labour’s fortunes around and I’m sceptical about whether Labour managing to ‘win’ with a Lab-Green_NZ1st coalition would be a victory worth winning. I can see that playing out well for National in the longer term – the coalition unable to achieve anything much due to disagreements and squabbling, different parties constantly briefing against each other, WInston eternally threatening to break the agreement and form up with National.

    I am worried that Ardern has been set up here. She likely loses the election – maybe not as badly as it might have been. She is allowed to stay on as leader. Six to twelve months down the line, Labour still struggling in the polls, and she’s gone. Stuart Nash glides into the vacant slot. Ugh.

    If they’d given her the job last year, or after the election, it might have made a real difference. But they didnt. Have to wonder, why now?

    • One Anonymous Bloke 12.1

      That’s the wisdom all my instincts tell me is wrong. I keep telling my instincts they’re full of shit, and what you said, and they just keep yelling “lalalalala I can’t hear you” with their fingers in their ears.

      Stupid instincts.

      • lurgee 12.1.1

        That’s the wisdom all my instincts tell me is wrong. I keep telling my instincts they’re full of shit, and what you said, and they just keep yelling “lalalalala I can’t hear you” with their fingers in their ears.

        Stupid instincts.

        I hope your instincts are right and my (dubious) wisdom is rong.

        • One Anonymous Bloke 12.1.1.1

          Yeah me too. In the event that my instincts are right, I’m calling it serendipity.

    • lprent 12.2

      Pretty much what I’m looking at. I can’t see how changing leaders could do much in 7 weeks, and it could probably burn out someone early who Labour will need later.

      I feel that it is most likely to just fit into the usual journalistic pattern of “build them up, and then crash em down” that is the best known way to sell gossip in media. Doing it in 7 weeks is feasible when journos have debates to work with.

      And I just keep looking for the usual other boot to fall with the caucus politics.

      • weka 12.2.1

        I think the change was necessary but not sufficient (so they still need to do the things to increase the vote). Little really looked like he’d run out of oomph and was making mistakes. I’m just grateful they chose Ardern.

        But yeah, the caucus stuff is a worry. Curran coming out today, the day after the new leader is selected, and saying the party’s main leader selection process should be changed to exclude members and the unions. From the outside that looks blatant af. Stupid as too.

        • WILD KATIPO 12.2.1.1

          Yes , part of the battle is always going to be with the Rogernomes. And until they are purged ( which inevitably will happen ) it is going to be an ongoing battle.

          That is why the Greens are now so important in this process to lessen their effect and thus their power base.

          Don’t worry , we will get them in the end. We’ve had to put up with them and their destruction for 33 years , now’s not the time to give in to them.

          The tides turning against them.

        • Psycho Milt 12.2.1.2

          Stupid as too.

          Yes, but it’s Clare Curran we’re talking about here, so let’s not rule anything out on a “nobody’s that stupid” basis.

          • Anne 12.2.1.2.1

            I suspect Clare Curran has just about run her course. It’s not the first time she has come out with stupid statements. I imagine her caucus colleagues will be running out of patience and will deliver unto her… a warning to the effect “pull your head in or get out of politics. In fact, I expect she has already heard from them after today’s effort.

        • Anne 12.2.1.3

          Little really looked like he’d run out of oomph…

          Yes. And he knew it. The poll results were the last straw. He was not pushed. He had run out of ammunition and he chose to go.

    • weka 12.3

      “If they’d given her the job last year, or after the election, it might have made a real difference. But they didnt. Have to wonder, why now?”

      I assume that they didn’t want to go through the normal leadership process, which would involved the members and unions. That, and Little was a given a fair crack at it.

      Can’t say I disagree about the medium term risk, but that was there already if Little had stayed in.

    • Muttonbird 12.4

      I think you are reading too much into it. She said these were extraordinary circumstances and that’s why she’s taken the job when it wasn’t on offer nor desired before. The extraordinary circumstances being that Andrew Little hadn’t been able to lift the profile of Labour enough.

    • I do think she is the best candidate Labour can put forward. I just don’t understand why she’s being put forward 7 weeks before an election.

      Have to wonder, why now?

      It looks a lot like Because the caucus want her and not anybody that the members chose.

      I struggle to see how she can turn Labour’s fortunes around

      She’s showing personality and confidence both of which Little to show. That, alone, will get a lot more people voting Labour. It’s what Key did for National.

      and I’m sceptical about whether Labour managing to ‘win’ with a Lab-Green_NZ1st coalition would be a victory worth winning.

      It would be. The three of them combined bring in a lot of good policy and compromise will make even the bad policy better.

      I can see that playing out well for National in the longer term – the coalition unable to achieve anything much due to disagreements and squabbling, different parties constantly briefing against each other, WInston eternally threatening to break the agreement and form up with National.

      I doubt if any of that will actually happen.

  11. Yeah , doesn’t it just lift your spirits with both Metiria and Jacinda ?… its a combination of the warmth, caring and the smiles and the positiveness of them both. They are not wooden and stiff , they are natural , they are funny and they are saying the things we all know to be needed and true to bring back to our country.

    I was not so formerly impressed with either, I was more thinking along the lines of no compromise bulldozer scrappers in a male sense , but as of late I can see how its done with graciousness, humility and warm humour. We MUST have these two and WILL have these two leading the next government.

    They and their people will truly bring in a new positive and caring era for our country .

    They are , in fact , destined to be truly highly regarded politicians in the same way that Savage , Kirk and Clark were.

  12. patricia bremner 14

    Please give her a chance to show what she would like to achieve.

    We are not going to turn the neo liberal bus around in one term.

    Jacinda has gravitated towards other members with social intelligence.

    Make a mental list of who she values in the party.

    Depressed folk tend to find positivity unsettling.

    So I’m listening to her signals.

    1. Told Nash off for his comment re leadership change.
    2. Told Mallard et al “She was her own person.”
    3. Praised Andrew and confirmed his place in her team.
    4. Indicated she has negotiating skills to cope with coalition
    5. Said she was going to run a “relentlessly positive programme”
    6.Listed Mental Health, Health Housing and Education as her top priorities.
    7. Said she would reflect and sort policy for next 72 hours. (Is a Policy wonk)
    8. Is proactive when interviewed. (Not reactive)
    9. Is caring and a great listener and communicator.
    10. Andrew backed her.

    I hope I’m right. I’m one of those donating whenever I can.

    Show pony??? Try Workhorse!!!
    Flake (snow??) Try diamond!!!
    She has already rejuvenated things. I”m “Full of hope!!!”

    The flood of money and volunteers tells Andrew “He got his move right”

    I’m going to be “Relentlessly positive” as well.

  13. In Vino 15

    Strangely, I wonder if the short time-frame now may work in Jacinda’s favour. I suspect that most righties thought, like Matthew Who, that she was a flake. They may now be realising that she is far from a flake.
    Bad thing to find out at this point. Dirty Politics may not have been ready for this.
    What will dirty politics come up with?

    • weka 15.1

      I think the best thing going about this election is the volatility and thus the potential for the unexpected to happen. Good point about DP etc being unprepared. I suspect the Greens have more up their sleeve that will keep things in the unpredictable zone too. Giovanni Tiso did a post today (some of which I disagree with) where he said you can’t poll for the effect of what Turei did. That’s our advantage.

      Matthew Who?

      Lol, let’s put some effort into making that a meme.

    • Muttonbird 15.2

      They’ve already started, Mark Shitheadson demanding she tell him when she was going to have children.

      They’ll continue needling her about this at every opportunity.

      • In Vino 15.2.1

        I am sure that she will be needled, but I thought she dealt to Mark Dummkopfson pretty well, and gained public support for it. Let’s hope she can keep doing that.

      • Gabby 15.2.2

        So you reckon that wasn’t a patsy question?

  14. greg 16

    i think national are finished and no its not to late in fact it may be perfect timing shes young exciting and if donations are anything to go by labour is on to a winner ordinary people desperate for change and Jacinda represent that change and hope awesome stuff

    • One Anonymous Bloke 16.1

      Jacinda Ardern on Bill “Texty Double Dipper” English:

      I will be questioning elements of his legacy this campaign.

      Legacy 😈

    • BM 16.2

      Might want to loosen your grip there fella you’re obviously cutting off the blood supply to your brain

      Seriously she’s been in the job fucking one day and already she’s the anointed one.
      Left wing lunacy strikes again.

  15. In Vino 17

    “I don’t like it,” said the cowboy, casting his eyes around the bleak landscape. “It’s too quiet.”

    Can this leftie euphoria last long?

    • weka 17.1

      3 days while CT and Farrar do their polling to see what kneecapping would be best in this situation. Fortunately that coincides with Arder coming back from her 72 hours with something else for NZ to talk about 😆

  16. Sacha 18

    If Jacinda was from a right faction of Labour, they would not have needed to appoint Kelvin Davis for balance.

    Also, the left bloc has been gaining votes in polls since the last election, while the right has been losing them. Don’t confuse the fate of Labour with that of the left.

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