King of the deputy castle, media dirty rascals

Annette King has reacted staunchly to media speculation that Jacinda Ardern may (some say should) replace her as deputy leader.

Claire Trevett @ZH: Annette King lashes out at ‘ageist’ idea of stepping to one side

Ardern’s win in Mt Albert prompted fresh speculation Little should replace his steady pacemaker King with the crowd-pleasing sprinter Ardern as deputy for the home straight to the election.

There is sense in that.

I don’t see the sense to that. Ardern can try to please the crowd without being deputy. Having a strong deputy who can keep the Labour caucus under control is important, and King is far bettter qualified to do that.

But King can not see it. King’s response was a quite astonishing and vociferous defence of her turf.

I’m not astonished. I’m astonished that media and pundits think they can organise deputy leadership changes.

She claimed the talk around Ardern was ageist. She even went a little bit Trump, accusing media of having a vendetta against her.

I don’t think it is a vendetta against King. It is the media thinking that they are political players rather than reporters.

Speaking to the Herald she questioned what Ardern could offer that she did not, other than relative youth.

When it was suggested Ardern’s Auckland base was one, King replied “does it really matter these days?” and said she could travel the country as a list-only candidate.

Ardern’s Auckland base, her ability to communicate well from children to Auckland business leaders, her popularity and her deft touch with ‘soft’ media make her an asset Little could better utilise by having her as his deputy.

It is an asset he cannot afford to ignore.

Little can use his Ardern ‘asset’ in better ways than tying her down as deputy. She has just taken on substantial added responsibility as a new electorate MP in Auckland, giving her much greater responsibilities in Wellington at the same time makes no sense.

King’s value to Little is indisputable but largely for internal reasons – she is in Wellington to run the ship while he travels the country and can control caucus with one pinky finger.

That sounds like a job description for a deputy.

The trouble is he cannot risk replacing her now King has publicly stated her wish to remain in the job.

Little could take the risk of upsetting the likes of MP Poto Williams and Maryan Street over his decision to recruit Willie Jackson to Labour, but he can not afford to get offside with King.

King has great loyalty in Labour and Little will not be able to replace her unless she recognises it is a necessary idea herself.

He somehow has to make it seem like it was her idea all along.

It’s fairly obviously not King’s idea at all.

Some of the media are trying to manipulate Labour Party leadership. This is way outside their job description.

Little and King call the shots when it comes to deputy leadership of Labour.

Trevett and others in the media are dirty rascals trying to intervene and influence what is a party matter.

Leave a comment


  1. Alan Wilkinson

     /  27th February 2017

    Cat fight.

  2. PDB

     /  27th February 2017

    “Ardern’s Auckland base, her ability to communicate well from children to Auckland business leaders, her popularity and her deft touch with ‘soft’ media make her an asset Little could better utilise by having her as his deputy.”

    Is this the same ‘Auckland base’ that failed to elect her in the Auckland central seat twice in a row, a seat that prior to 2008 was pretty much guaranteed Labour? What ‘business leaders’ does she communicate with? How ‘popular’ across the country is she really, and for what reasons?

    Ardern is a MSM creation. She doesn’t want the responsibility of deputy leader/leader/PM as it would mean having to do the often unrewarding hard ‘behind the scenes’ graft rather than flitter around the country in the media spotlight achieving bugger all.

    • Colin

       /  27th February 2017

      PDB just hit the nail bang centre on the head. She is an empty vessel floating from paycheque to paycheque. You would get more sense out of an empty baked bean tin.

      • Blazer

         /  27th February 2017

        Did he really!Maybe he should be leader of the NATZ. It was something Key was incapable of…”get a man in…”indeed.

        • PDB

           /  27th February 2017

          Key leaving his party after 8 years in power with nationwide support close to 50% would suggest otherwise.

  3. Conspiratoor

     /  27th February 2017

    Claire was on fire …until I read this.

    “her ability to communicate well from children to Auckland business leaders”

    Children yes, business leaders not so much

    • Alan Wilkinson

       /  27th February 2017

      Her business background and experience = n/a.

      • PDB

         /  27th February 2017

        Cmon Alan, she did wrap fish & chips in Morrinsville for a short time…….she probably even deliberately used the business section of the newspaper to do so.

  4. Jacinda graduated from Waikato University with a Bachelor’s degree in Communications. She also spent time in the UK where she was prominent in the Socialist Movement. She was President of the International Union of Socialist Youth. She was a member of the Church of Latter Day Saints but gave that up when her political views clashed with the Church Doctrine
    Her father Ross Ardern was a very highly regarded Policeman, former Commissioner of Police in Niue and now High Commissioner in Niue for New Zealand (2014).
    Her current boyfriend is Clarke Gayford, a media personality. So she obviously has good connections with the media and probably does not deserve any empty vessel but pretty slurs.

  5. Patzcuaro

     /  27th February 2017

    The role of deputy leader is to protect the leaders back and marshal the troops. It is more a nuts and bolts role, making sure that the MPs are working as a team. A Wellington based MP would be better suited to this job.

    While Auckland Central was once a safe Labour seat, this is no longer the case due to the change in demographic. Looking at the recent elections in 2008 & 2011 the Labour/Green party vote exceeded that of National by 3500 & 2000 respectively. However in 2014 National won by 300 votes. Total party vote was 35200 in 2008, 34200 in 2011 but down by 6000 to 28200 in 2014. It looks like more left leaning votes stayed away.

    All sitting MP seem to have an advantage at the local level and will get a number of votes just because they are the current MP. I wonder how many sitting MPs in the general electorates have been defeated on the day since the advent of MMP?

    • PDB

       /  27th February 2017

      Or maybe its just because Nikki Kaye is a hardworking, effective MP and Ardern………..isn’t?

  6. duperez

     /  27th February 2017

    Astonished that “media and pundits think they can organise deputy leadership changes”?

    The manufactured rivalry and contest for the deputy leadership is pathetic. Using the equivalent logic in sports would see anyone being selected for the All Blacks immediately being touted as the replacement captain for Kieran Read or vice captain Ben Smith. Not just touted, but then using the discussion as the basis for all sorts of stories around that.

  7. Looks like a number of us were wrong on this one. Clearly Labor have decided to keep onside with the MSM’s wishes as Annette renounces Deputy leadership and will not contest the next election. Media 1 Labour 0, or is m scoring out?

  1. King of the deputy castle, media dirty rascals — Your NZ – NZ Conservative Coalition

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