Pressure now on Ardern

Now that whoever wanted Annette King dumped as deputy and retiring soon, and who engineered the elevation of Jacinda Ardern, has achieved their goal the pressure goes on Ardern to perform.

Ardern stood once unsuccessfully in Waikato in 2008 but got in on Labour’s list. Since then she has stood in the Auckland Central electorate and failed to win back what had long been a fairly safe Labour seat. She got into Parliament placed at 6 on Labour’s list in 2014.

She stood as Grant Robertson’s deputy in the Labour leadership contest in 2014 after David Cunliffe stood down, but they were defeated by Andrew Little.

This year she moved sideways to Mt Albert after David Shearer resigned. This is a safer Labour seat long held by Warren Freer (1947-1981), Helen Clark (1981-2009) and Shearer (2009-2016). She won easily, but this was more a winning political manoeuvre than a democratic mandate.

Ardern has been groomed, and has now been anointed as new deputy by Andrew Little, the exiting Annette and other MPs, so it looks like she will be voted into the position unopposed  next Tuesday.

Ardern has been Labour spokesperson in quite a variety roles. She is currently spokesperson for Justice, Arts, Culture and Heritage, Children, and Small Business
Associate Spokesperson for Auckland Issues.

She hasn’t exactly made an impact with those portfolios. The Latest from Jacinda Ardern:

Despite her multiple roles she doesn’t look like much of a multi tasker, but I guess she had a by-election to win.

She has stated an ambition to remain spokesperson for Children and says she has no ambition to take over King’s challenging Health role.

Media have talked Ardern up as an essential to lifting Labour out of the polling doldrums, and critical to their chances of forming the next government.

Labour have been polling mainly in the 25-30% range for some time and really need to lift that by at least 10% to look like a credible lead party.

So for the first time in her political career the pressure is really going to apply to Ardern.

She needs to establish herself in the newly won Mt Albert electorate. At the same time she has to take over as deputy and establish herself there. And she may have to come to grips with some different speaking roles for Labour as Little will need to do a rearrangement of responsibilities.

And Ardern also has to try to live up to her billing as the poster girl for a supposedly refreshed Labour Party.

Her image makers and some of the media have put Ardern on a personality based  pedestal. She has been groomed as a celebrity politician, with fairly modest political achievements on her CV.

Now Ardern has been put up there she has to step up and actually perform.

But not too well. The supposed aim is for Ardern to complement Little’s leadership without overshadowing it.

Not only does she have to play a balancing act, she also has to hope that the media don’t ignore Little and laud over her too much. Having won their support she may not be able to control how far they try to take her glam.

This of course assumes the plan is for Ardern to remain deputy to Little. She keeps emphatically saying she doesn’t want to be leader, but she had also said she had no ambition to be deputy.

She has also said she will do what is asked of her and what is deemed to be best for the Labour Party.

What if those pulling Labour’s strings want to elevate her even more? Will she just smile and step up again?

But for now she is going to become Labour’s deputy. She has to live up to her billing, or Labour will see another ‘game changer’ flop.

How will Little and Ardern and Turei and Shaw look to voters as a combo, with Winston Peters lurking in the shadows?

The pressure will be on Ardern to play her part – as supporting actor only.

That’s something we will find out over the next six months.

 

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15 Comments

  1. PDB

     /  2nd March 2017

    Deputy leader of a party is where the person does the hard-working, behind-the-scenes graft not the show pony express the MSM paint it out to be. I doubt if the left get into govt she would even be deputy PM as the Greens/NZL First will demand that position.

    The jury is still out if making Ardern deputy will only make Andrew Little look more unelectable as PM in the public’s eyes.

    Reply
    • Corky

       /  2nd March 2017

      I wonder if she makes the preferred prime minister list in upcoming political polls? Worse, she garners more support than Andy. Geez, I can’t see Andy escaping a caucus knifing within the next 18 months, win or lose.

      Reply
      • Kitty Catkin

         /  2nd March 2017

        My reservation about her as PM is that she looks too young and girlish, like a university student. I would have the same reservation about a man who looked boyish and didn’t have the gravitas to look like a leader.

        Reply
  2. Pete Kane

     /  2nd March 2017

    Media 1 – Public 0.

    Reply
  3. Nelly Smickers

     /  2nd March 2017

    “This time yesterday morning, I told everyone I had no interest in being *any* sort of deputy”

    https:pbs.twimg.com/media/C3fCLmmUYAET7Zn.jpg

    “Now I is one ❗ “

    Reply
  4. Kevin

     /  2nd March 2017

    If I was Little I’d be smiling. As deputy leader Arden will be way out of depth and won’t have time to anything else. Plus it’d show the country that she is either not ready or incapable of being prime minister. And having her as deputy helps placate the “Ardern” faction of Labour.

    I never thought I’d say this but credit where credit’s due. Smart political move by Andy.

    Reply
    • And that’s about where politics does my head in. That it can be perceived as being a good thing, according to you, to promote someone who is way out of their depth, for the express purpose of seeing them fail. And that’s supposed to show leadership and presumably be good for the party.

      Reply
      • Kevin

         /  2nd March 2017

        Oh this will do absolutely nothing for Labour except maybe give them a temporary bump. It will however help Andrew Little keep his job, at least until the next election.

        As for perceiving it as being a good thing all I can say is that politics is a dirty game.

        Reply
        • Kitty Catkin

           /  2nd March 2017

          If that’s the idea, it’s taking a terrible risk.

          Reply
          • Kevin

             /  2nd March 2017

            It’s a risk for Little only if Arden turns out to more than capable. I suppose he’s hoping that this move might just be enough to get Labour and whatever coalition partner over the mark. I don’t think it will but at least it means Andy’s job is safe at least until the election.

            Reply
  5. Kitty Catkin

     /  2nd March 2017

    If I was her ‘image maker’, I’d advise her to put her hair back off her face, pretty as it is, and not look too young and girlish.

    Reply
    • Nelly Smickers

       /  2nd March 2017

      What about that *hoodie* she’s wearing Kitzy? Looks like it could be a bit of you XD

      Reply
      • patupaiarehe

         /  2nd March 2017

        Reply
        • Kitty Catkin

           /  2nd March 2017

          That’s my little brother Felix !

          The hoody is a design by Catkin Couture, featuring the family photo album as a print. It was a very limited edition, so if anyone wants one like it, sorry, you’re too late.And no, it’s not made of cat fur.

          Reply

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