Prior to and since Jacinda Ardern’s easy win in the Mt Albert by-election there have been a number of suggestions that she should replace Annette King as Labour’s deputy leader.
From NZ Herald Labour’s Jacinda Ardern new MP for Mt Albert
There had been speculation that a strong byelection showing could lead to some within Labour questioning whether Ardern should be elevated to the deputy leader position, currently held by Annette King.
“There is no vacancy,” Little said when asked about that speculation. “I’m not planning on any changes.”
It would appear that King is not planning on any changes at this stage. She is stepping down from her electorate to become a list only MP with no sign of her not contesting September’s election.
So what now for Ardern? She has achieved one of her ambitions, to become an electorate MP, in her fourth attempt in her third electorate.
“I’m absolutely clear about my ambition to be Minister of Children.” That, she says, is where she can make a difference.
And what about leader of the Labour party? No, she says.
She keeps saying that. A deputy leader has to stand in for the leader, so why would she want to be deputy?
She doesn’t want to be Prime Minister. No, really, she doesn’t want to be Prime Minister.
Deputies have to stand in for Prime Ministers. Some of them are waiting for their turn at the top job.
Ardern will be busy setting herself up in a safe electorate. Her career as a celebrity MP looks assured for as long as she wants it.
She doesn’t appear to have the driving ambition to be a leader. Minister of Children and cover of Woman’s Weekly seems to be a self imposed limit, at this stage.
However ambitions can change.
But actually being an MP? “No!” On a school trip to Parliament, she left her classmates drinking orange juice in John Luxton’s office to ask his private secretary what she should study to become a private secretary.
“MPs? There were only 120 of those. No way was I going to become one of those.”
I suspect she will be happy to sit out this election in a safe seat, and perhaps do a few more ‘celebrity’ profile things. She appears to be working on a long term plan.