The Ardern effect – and why this leadership change was different

Written By: - Date published: 7:01 am, August 3rd, 2017 - 60 comments
Categories: Andrew Little, election 2017, labour, leadership - Tags: , , , ,

Yesterday I had big roundup of the acclaim for Jacinda Ardern as new Labour leader. Suffice it to say that there is plenty more to add to the collection:

The Jacinda effect and why National will be worried
Jacinda Ardern is a ‘game changer’ – commentators
‘Jacinda effect’ galvanises Labour
Labour’s new leader Jacinda Ardern gets a warm welcome from voters
‘Fresh approach is gone’: Jacinda Ardern culls Labour’s campaign slogan as donations fly in
Public reacts to new Labour leader Jacinda Ardern (video vox pop)
Political Roundup: The Jacinda Ardern Effect characterised by ‘relentless positivity’
Audrey Young: Ardern does not need to be Labour’s Joan of Arc
What’s in a name? The coronation of ‘Jacinda’ gives Labour a new brand

My favourite snippet is this anecote form Vernon Small (from “What’s in a name?” linked above):

Barely a day into the job, she headed out on to Parliament’s forecourt to meet some secondary school students. A chorus of “Jacinda, Jacinda” went up from another class waiting to do the Parliament tour. Primary school kids.

In concrete terms there are reports that since Jacinda became leader there have been more than 1000 new volunteers sign up for Labour, and donations totaling more than $250,000 (a fundraising email last night cited $180,000). Wow!

I think it’s fair to say that reaction to Jacinda Ardern has exceeded all expectations. Why? Leadership change this close to an election is supposed to be political suicide. Why was this change different?

Two reasons, the first is Andrew Little. During his time as leader Andrew united the Labour caucus and reorganised the party. He developed some great policy, but never got the cut through in the media that he deserved. When he recognised that Labour was getting crowded out of the election he did the right thing. He resigned voluntarily, and delivered a unanimous vote for his chosen successor. This was no divided party at war with itself (the usual scenario for leadership change), it was a recognition of reality and the most orderly transfer of power you will ever see. Thank you Andrew!

The second reason is of course Jacinda Ardern. She is manifestly willing, ready, and able. The media love, or at least respect her. Her heart is in the right place, she has the right amount of steel, her warmth and charisma is obvious to all. We should all be wary of loading her with impossible expectations (more of that another day perhaps), but she is certainly off to the best of all starts. Go well Jacinda!


60 comments on “The Ardern effect – and why this leadership change was different”

  1. Sacha 1

    Reliable hack manages to find a negative angle: “Will Jacinda Ardern eat the Greens?”
    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11898055

    Wonder if that line is from the Nats’ desperate overnight polling and focus grouping? Here’s a sample:

    ” But there was some anger as well over the Greens’ unseemly and almost cruel gloating at the 1 News Colmar-Brunton poll in which they had rocketed up to 15 per cent.

    Never mind that came at the expense of Labour and put Labour over the chasm of non-viability.”

    • Sanctuary 1.1

      “…Reliable hack manages to find a negative angle:…”

      You want to see Barry Soper’s latest remarkably sour piece. He sounds like a sour political Mr. Chips feeling threatened by youthful enthusiasm.

      • One Anonymous Bloke 1.1.1

        “Helen Clarke was once asked if she was a lesbian…”

        Apparently a legitimate question, according to Granny’s menz rights reporter.

        • Visubversa 1.1.1.1

          It wasn’t just a question. It was part of a vicious lying smear campaign against both Helen and her husband. There were some very unpleasant canards making their way out of the nastier corners of the NACT hate machine. They still get repeated occasionally.

          • One Anonymous Bloke 1.1.1.1.1

            …by the likes of Mark Richardson, menz rights activist.

            To be clear, as an unreconstructed bloke, I think menz rights activists are a bunch of quivering jellies, crybabies of the first order.

            • In Vino 1.1.1.1.1.1

              Agree – Soper has embedded himself in the bottom of the vile boggy swamp.

  2. Carolyn_nth 2

    Meanwhile, as first the Greens and Metiria get oodles of media coverage, then Labour and Jacinda, ACT and TOP left out in the cold desperately trying to get attention.

    • srylands 2.1

      Which is a real shame for TOP. It has excellent policies. I think Gareth would be best kept in a backroom. But Geoff Simmons would be an excellent Minister for the Environment. I hope he gets that opportunity.

      • marie 2.1.1

        TOP will prop up a National government so it’s not a shame if they left out in the cold.

        • RedLogix 2.1.1.1

          As the Labour Party takes a moment to gather itself after the events of the past couple of days, The Opportunities Party Leader Gareth Morgan has extended a helping hand to the new Labour Leader.

          “Labour now has a chance to offer a truly “fresh approach” to voters, not by just changing leaders but more importantly by adopting policies which will truly address the structural problems causing the real damage in New Zealand”, says TOP’s Leader Dr Gareth Morgan, “If over the next two days Labour wants to adopt policies like the UBI, Fair Tax Reform, Clear Water Action or any other part of our fully costed and progressive policy platform it would be great.”

          “We don’t have copyright on good ideas to reduce inequality and solve the housing crisis but Labour doesn’t have time to do the sort of policy analysis and research we have before the election campaign starts.”

          “This is a genuine offer,” says Dr Morgan “We’ll make our research and experts available to Labour if they want to use them to improve their policy platform. Our objective is purely to have better policies on offer to the voting public, frankly I don’t care who implements them”.

          http://www.top.org.nz/the_opportunities_party_offers_policy_help_to_jacinda_adern_and_labour

          • xanthe 2.1.1.1.1

            I haven’t a clue about TOP if its a “good thing” or not. but i think an offer like this should be treated as genuine and approached in good faith.

            • tc 2.1.1.1.1.1

              TOP is national nuanced to look like its anything but.

              Dont be fooled into thinking morgans a socialist, hes capitalist through and through.

              • Gabby

                Labour can work with that.

              • RedLogix

                @tc I’ve linked to a long interview with Gareth over on OM just this morning that paints another picture altogether:

                https://thestandard.org.nz/open-mike-03082017/#comment-1361829

                Political tribalism reduces things to weirdly unhelpful binary thinking.

              • KJT

                The two are not mutually exclusive.

                • Actually, socialists are capitalists through and through. They see looking after society as a means to maintain capitalism which is what happened after WWII where we experienced unprecedented growth in the economy and living standards. Even that couldn’t be maintained as capitalism is simply unsustainable no matter the form and so the economy collapsed again in the 1970s.

                  When it collapsed the capitalists managed to blame it on socialism and divert from the fact that the problem was capitalism. Once they’d done that they started dismantling the social system that had been built up resulting in the inevitable increase in poverty and decreasing living standards that we see today.

              • marie

                absolutely!

          • Marcus Morris 2.1.1.1.2

            I think that Gareth would be totally sincere with this offer and both the parties of the left could well give it due consideration. I suspect that another great strength of Jacinda is that she will be inclusive. Gareth is an ideas man and, as such, is good value. He is not fettered by political dogma.

            • KJT 2.1.1.1.2.1

              Whether Morgan is a capitalist, or not, is beside the point.

              Researched and costed policies are something only the Greens and TOP, do.

              Something that has been sadly lacking in New Zealand.

              We seem to imitate overseas failures long after they have been proven to fail, like charter schools, or adopt ideological brain farts, like unilaterally removing tariffs.

              • Jenny Kirk

                You are forgetting that Labour has already researched and costed many of its announced policies .

              • mikes

                Excuse me? The Labour Party’s policies went through an independent audit to see if they were affordable and they are.

              • Researched and costed policies are something only the Greens and TOP, do.

                No, Labour do that as well. It’s really only the right-wing parties like National, Act and Dunne that don’t.

                The smaller parties you can excuse to some extent – they simply don’t have the resources necessary to do good research. National is the top resourced party though and it’s obvious that they’re working on blind ideology rather research and facts.

          • greywarshark 2.1.1.1.3

            TOPs is so good because they give the message to Gnats that they are under surveillance by people they mix with. They can’t get it all their own way and their shonky stats and mumbled jumbled what-passes-for-explanations will not suffice any more.

    • Keith 2.2

      What does that mean?

      • Carolyn_nth 2.2.1

        Bill English standing alone, with just Joyce and Brownlee fronting the media.

  3. xanthe 3

    I am sure this was all not in the plan and a complete bork-up
    BUT
    I dont think the timing could have been better if they had planned it !

    National had just got to the stage of “we got this” and plan of …downplay the election and coast in….

    seven weeks is just long enough for Jacinda to get near the top of a trajectory but not long enough to be on the back-slope.

    There is no doubt already that Labour is on a very steep climb right now.

    They can take this election ,

  4. tc 4

    Anecdotally I am seeing the millenialls very excited about JA.

    Statements like ‘finally someone from our era etc’ so if they and their peers get into the polls its game on.

  5. The Real Matthew 5

    If you ever wanted an example of how our media has a left wing bias the last 48 hours provides exactly that.

    Not one article has had any substance of asked any hard questions. Instead our mainstream media has produced a series of Woman’s Day style soft media articles fawning over the new Labour leader.

    The great irony is those on the left have no problem with the media fawning over their new female heartthrob because she’s young and “pretty”. But ask a serious question about whether she is able to carry out the duties as Prime Minister over the next three years and its fascinating to see the media come from everywhere to protect her.

  6. KJT 6

    I wonder how much was the “Jacinda effect” and how much was “Shit, Labour may die”.
    Even the Greens, like me, don’t want that.

    We still want a junior partner, for a Green led Government. 🙂

  7. roy cartland 7

    The best the haters can do is that tired old lob that she “hasn’t achieved anything” – even Nick Smith was saying it. NICK SMITH!

    What’s the snappy comeback to that? I know she’s been ‘involved’ in lots of things and ‘supported’ many good policies that the Nats have usurped, but there must be a quicker way to counter it?

    Something better than these, maybe not so neggy:
    “What, like the worst housing crisis NZ has seen?”
    “What, like lowering the standard from ‘swimmable’ to ‘wadeable’?”
    “What, like buying a 160,000 dollar screen?”

  8. Enough is Enough 8

    The past two days has shown the power of celebrity.

    This is still the same Labour Party as last week, with the same policy platform and the same personnel asking to be the next government. In terms of the direction Labour wants to take the country, nothing has changed…

    …except the face fronting it.

    We now have the media gushing in relation to the leader of the opposition (or in Paddy’s case blushing).

    This is good if it gives the left block an overall and lasting lift in the polls, but in some way makes me sad that the excitement is based on a personality and not the underling policy,

    • AB 8.1

      “The past two days has shown the power of celebrity. This is still the same Labour Party as last week, with the same policy platform”

      Maybe. What’s interesting about Jeremy Corbyn is that the policy in a sense created the celebrity and then policy and celebrity have proceeded to feed off each other. Also, that in his case the celebrity is a type of ‘anti-celebrity’ (old, scruffy guy who goes down to the allotment, but quiet and decent, etc.).

      So if policy can fire up celebrity, can celebrity generate the confidence to fire up policy? Who knows, I just somehow feel the dynamics are not simple. Let’s see what she does.

  9. SpaceMonkey 9

    I’m am excited at the renewed prospect of a change in Government, but I’m not so sure things are going to radically change (as they need to). Jacinda Ardern has always struck me as one of the ABCers in Labour. I hope I’m wrong, but the way the media have responded to her suggests they see her as one of theirs – that’s NOT very comforting. If she does pull a swifty and turn Labour left once in Government, watch the media go mental… but I won’t hold my breath.

  10. SpaceMonkey 10

    That photo above with Grant Robertson smirking in the background… is he New Zealand’s modern day equivalent of Machiavelli? Beware Jacinda… he’s right behind you all the way… a wet stone in one hand and something shiny in the other.

  11. Rae 11

    I would say, watch out for the next Colmar Brunton poll, watch out for the % that does not get much publicity, that is the around 20% (this last time) that were undecided or did not want to state their preference, because I am picking that this is the beast that Ardern’s elevation will have released. The lost million. (I’ve used Colmar Brunton because it seems to be the most conservative).

    Her taking the reins was akin to the opening of floodgates, I will wager the reaction is pretty unprecedented, just about anywhere in the world. Could anyone have seen that level of response?

    I reckon their new billboards should have just one word on them – “Yes!” Wish I had thought of it earlier and suggested it to them, as I expect they have a new slogan by now.

    • …because I am picking that this is the beast that Ardern’s elevation will have released. The lost million.

      I’m picking that Metiria has got more of those with her statements about how bad it was for her on the DPB. People respond when leaders show that they understand others from being in the same position.

    • Chess Player 11.2

      As long as the polls are performed using land-lines, you’ll never know what the ‘lost million’ think about anything.

      • Rae 11.2.1

        Precisely why I chose Colmar Brunton, because they apparently still only use landline, Reid Research and Roy Morgan I understand do 75%/25% landline to cell phone research, but I still think the methodology is questionable. It is because Colmar Brunton is the most conservative in my view that I am most interested in their next result. Their last poll as I said before had 20’% don’t knows/not telling you, so that is the percentage I am interested in. It was post Turei’s gambit.

      • They don’t just use landlines any more.

  12. mosa 12

    THE JACINDANATOR will clean up this dirty little National town.

    • In Vino 12.1

      Let’s not get too carried away please.. We will all look real stupid if too many people post madly keen stuff like this, then it does not actually happen.

      • AB 12.1.1

        True – but maintaining enthusiasm (and communicating it) is more likely to generate success than not showing it out of fear of looking like a fool.

  13. mosa 13

    Vino after nine long years i think we are allowed to be ” madly keen ” it’s called positive optimism.

    And hey if it doesn’t we will give it another go at the next one.

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