Little versus Ardern misses the mark

The Herald editorial today looks at Labour leadership  and co-leadership options. In particular they promote Jacinda Ardern as a deputy, and as a potential leader in waiting.

Little facing dilemma over deputy choice

Labour’s leader, Andrew Little, faces a dilemma over what sort of deputy he needs. Probably he would be happy to retain the party’s present deputy, Annette King, but he said a year ago the position would be re-opened about now.

Ms King has been excellent in the role – loyal, experienced, sensible in public statements, liked and respected by friend and foe, a safe pair of hands. That is all any leader would want in the person who must stand in for him at times and back him up when necessary.

And King would be excellent in the role for the next couple of years. I don’t think anyone else in the Labour caucus comes close to her mana and reliability.

But whether Mr Little likes it or not, there is much interest in the possible promotion of Jacinda Ardern. She is young, presentable and appears to have a popular following. A political party in Labour’s predicament cannot afford to let her appeal go to waste.

The party is a year into a third term of opposition and the polls are not yet giving any sign that a change of government is on the cards at the next election.

Labour needs to project the image of a fresh, new potential government.

The editorial concludes:

In politics there are loyal, safe, non-threatening deputies and there are ambitious deputies, using the post as a step to the top job. Parties in government need the first kind, but in opposition they sometimes need the second.

In Jacinda Ardern, Labour would appear to have a potential deputy who would not press for higher office unless the party needed a new leader, and could step up if it did. Labour needs her.

This misses the most pertinent point. Andrew Little was selected as leader last year. Little needs to step up. Overshadowing him with Ardern wouldn’t help him. Deputies should be effective and largely out of the spotlight, Ardern and her promoters have an attraction to the spotlight.

Little and his management team have made mistakes. Some of them are significant mistakes, like their fluttering over the flag fiasco, and their awful positioning and handling of the TPP Agreement being reached.

I think Little is at a political crossroads. He seems to be heading down a very rocky track right now.

If he can learn from his mistakes and learn from the stupidity of his advisers and take drastic action to turn things around then he has time to get on track to at least make a credible attempt at the 2017 election.

David Shearer got sucked into the Labour party machine and never fought out and rose above that.

Little needs to recognise the problems and fix them – fast. Otherwise Labour are in trouble – as if they haven’t had enough trouble recovering from the Clark years.

Ardern may make good copy for the Herald but she is not Labour’s answer as deputy and she is certainly not Labour’s answer as a replacement for Little at the top.

Promoting Little versus Ardern misses the mark. Little needs to promote himself as a competent leader. That will take a major change to achieve but Labour needs it to happen – they need to allow it to happen.

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12 Comments

  1. The Cardigan Club and its media supporters are continuing their white anting of Little I see ….. a house divided has no chance, but I suppose Grant’s ambition knows no bounds.

    Pushing Ardern is just cover for the real power play, as Jacinda is way too green and untested to be thought of as a leader of one of two major politic parties in NZ

    A pretty face, some policy work and a social media presence a Leader do not make…

    Reply
  2. Alan Wilkinson

     /  15th October 2015

    Labour needs a leader who can redefine its politics into the centre and marginalize its Loony Left. Failing that its leadership changes are mere entertainment for the beltway chattering class.

    Reply
    • Zedd

       /  15th October 2015

      “More power to the ‘Loony Left’ !!!” I say.. 🙂

      Reply
    • DaveG

       /  15th October 2015

      But, But, on a serious note, there ae NO true leaders in Labour currnetly, not one. There are quite a few who want the top job, the title of leadr, but not one real leader. LEadership covers planning, motivation, divying up the tasks, the roles, ensuring you have the right team, motivating, and so on.

      Lets seriously consider, who has that in real world experiance, and who could do the role, and do it without promoting plans from heavy union influence, or any major factions.

      Duble whammy there, they are stuffed!

      Reply
  3. Zedd

     /  15th October 2015

    I think Labour need to be careful.. they should not further ‘slash & burn’ their senior members, in favour of promoting : Young, presentable & popular’. Experience has to count for something.
    I’m sure Ms Ardern’s time will come, in due course.

    Reply
    • traveller

       /  15th October 2015

      King, along with the 80s and 90s oldies might just all head to consultancies if she was dispatched. It’s hard to imagine how that party would look with the aspirational youth left to battle it out. My advice – forget that Arden and put no-nonsense Nash or Kelvin up there.

      Reply
      • Mike C

         /  15th October 2015

        @Trav

        If Kelvin Davis and Stuart Nash were the Labour Party Leaders, and if Judith Collins ever managed to over throw John Key … then I would vote for Labour. LOL.

        Reply
        • traveller

           /  15th October 2015

          That’s a power of “ifs” mike!

          Reply
          • Mike C

             /  15th October 2015

            @Trav

            Yeap … I am pretty confident that neither of those scenarios will ever happen, but I thought I should have a back up plan just in case Collins manages to do what she clearly wants to 🙂

            Reply
  4. If guests in my house were involved in what was reported as at least attempted sexual interference by an older person on an 18 year-old youth, I would have reported the matter to the police and been prepared to be a witness at the subsequence trial. Would Annette King do the same? Hows her credibility as a “sensible commentator”?

    Reply

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