Bryce Edwards Analysis: Jacindamania
New Labour leader Jacinda Ardern is promising to run an election campaign characterised by “relentless positivity”. And, so far, there’s been an almost relentlessly positive response to her rise to the top. It appears that Ardern’s extraordinary elevation is going to lift this election campaign out of the ordinary, too. Below are some of the more interesting examples of “The Jacinda Effect” taking hold.
1) Jacinda Ardern dominates the newspaper front pages today – see my blog post aggregating how the media has responded: Media coverage of Jacinda Ardern as Labour leader.
2) Newshub’s political editor Patrick Gower is not afraid of attacking or grilling politicians, but he seems to have been struck by Jacindamania, writing two very positive accounts of the new leader. In his report, Ardern could capitalise on the mood for change, he says “Jacinda Ardern represents one thing that Bill English and National never can – change. And if you can harness change, it is one of the most powerful political weapons there is.”
3) In a second opinion piece, Jacinda’s on fire, National should be frightened, Gower really lets loose, summing up Ardern’s first media appearance like this: “Powerful, composed, eloquent – and actually quite funny.” He adds: “Ardern brings energy…. She has presence. She isn’t anxious – she looks in control. She doesn’t look reluctant – she looks ready. And importantly, Jacinda Ardern has got that valuable political ingredient – vibe. She has got serious vibe. One of her weaknesses was supposedly that ‘she doesn’t want it’. Well, she has got it now – and looks like she really wants it. If National aren’t scared now – they should be. Because if anyone can cause a political ‘youthquake’, it’s Jacinda.”
4) Other political editors also have high praise for Ardern. Fairfax’s Tracy Watkins reports on her power: “I’ve seen her on the campaign trail and it is clear she has the x-factor. At a gathering in New Plymouth she was supposedly the warm up act to Little. But it was clear she was the main event. Ardern had the audience in the palm of her hand – when Little took over he spent 50 minutes talking into a microphone and it was clear he had lost them after the first 10. The people who left that pub that night would have voted for Ardern – but I’m not sure they would have voted for Little. Even the party faithful among them” – see: Can the Ardern factor save Labour?
Watkins believes Ardern and Kelvin Davis “are potential game changers.” She says they “will shake up the political landscape. And they ring the generational changes after three terms of National.”
5) Herald political editor Audrey Young believes that Ardern will inject some dynamism into the election campaign: “Jacinda Ardern will have what the billboard promises: a fresh approach. When people turn on their screens to watch Bill English debate the Labour leader over the next two months, they are now less likely to change channels or scroll away. Bill English vs Andrew Llttle was a gift for the likes of Winston Peters and Metiria Turei. English vs Ardern will inject a level of interest in this election and a fresh hope for Labour to recover some dignity from the result. It is still not inconceivable that Labour could be part of the next Government” – see: Ardern is fresh, impressive and interesting.
6) Audrey Young also suggests that Ardern is going to make National’s re-election more difficult: “Jacinda Arden’s elevation as Labour leader has sent a chill through the National Party in inverse proportion to the sheer radiance emanating from the Labour caucus over the change” – see: Ardern does not need to be Labour’s Joan of Arc. Again, on Ardern’s first media appearance: “Arden’s press conference was a command performance of a competent new leader that stunned most of those watching, and especially those who have believed she was not a woman of substance.”
7) TVNZ political editor Corin Dann was also impressed by Ardern, saying she clearly energises people. He describes the change in leadership as a circuit breaker for the Labour campaign, saying it gets them back in the game as they now have a leader who can communicate their policies effectively – see: “She absolutely convinced everyone she wants the job” – Corin Dann impressed by Jacinda Ardern’s first day in charge.
8) The political editor of The Spinoff website hedges his bets with the pros and cons of the new leadership team, but his pros are worth citing: “Jacinda Ardern is Labour’s greatest hope, a potential breath of fresh air, a vital contrast with the grey familiarity of prime minister Bill English”, and, “the centre-left alternative now looks decisively more diverse and modern than the status quo” – see: Jacinda Ardern and Kelvin Davis: why this is terrible for Labour, and why it is brilliant.
9) Also at The Spinoff, Simon Wilson predicts big things for the new leadership team: “Jacinda Ardern is going to try hope. She’ll keep flashes of the anger, that’s plain enough, but she knows what it really takes: project a warm, winning confidence, make people like you so they want to listen to you, identify with them and inspire them with the belief that you are there for them and have the skills to help them. It’s what Bill English does, and Metiria Turei and Winston Peters too. It’s what John Key did. It’s what Andrew Little couldn’t do. But Jacinda Ardern has already demonstrated that she can” – see: Why Jacinda is the answer and Andrew didn’t understand the question.
Wilson also comments on Ardern’s strong performance at her first press conference: “She reduced the assembled hacks of the press gallery to laughter, several times. She reduced ol’ hatchet man Paddy Gower to something you might almost call adulation. Imagine what that takes.”
10) Veteran political journalist Richard Harman of the Politik website declares that “Ultimately this has made the election more difficult for National to win”, and he reports that National is worried about how to deal with the new Leader of the Opposition: “National fears that any attacks on Ardern, a relentlessly positive person, could be seen as bullying” – see: What will Ardern mean for the Nats. He also notes that Ardern might even steal votes off National: “Whether she will win over National votes is less clear. But during the Mt Albert by-election earlier this year there was some evidence that she picked up votes in National voting parts of the electorate.”
11) Writing just before the leadership change, Newsroom’s Tim Murphy argued why Ardern was the best choice to take Labour into the election – see: Cometh the hour, cometh Jacinda. He makes plenty of arguments in her favour, which include: “She matches Peters too, in being familiarly known by her first name – and being able to flash a smile that could burst a ballot box. She’s urban but not too urban, being from Morrinsville and the University of Waikato. She’s young, having turned 37 last week, but Emmanuel Macron is 39 and vying for leadership of the free world. She’s been an MP for nearly nine years, has claimed a lifetime seat in Mt Albert, and worked under four Labour leaders. She worked as a researcher for Helen Clark before that.”
12) The leftwing blogosphere appears to be highly favourable towards the new leader. And Martyn Bradbury represents this best in his blog post, Why is Jacinda popular and can she turn Labour’s fortunes around? Bradbury puts forward a generational argument in Ardern’s favour: “She’s part of a kinder Generation taught and brought up in a culture that was desperate to be inclusive of others and that ignoring inclusivity was the greatest sin. This is why she is so widely popular. She brings with, she doesn’t talk down to, she is all about getting agreement to move forward because that was how decision making was being taught in our education system. Jacinda is a product of her generation, and because most of the pundits are older than her, they judge her by their own generations combativeness and cynicism. Which is why they don’t get her. I think her skills to quietly bring together and find unoffensive ways to work alongside each other for a common good came incredibly early for Jacinda.”
13) The political commentariat are increasingly using the term “game changer” about Ardern. And that spans the likes of both Chris Trotter and Matthew Hooton – see Anna Bracewell-Worrall’s Jacinda Ardern is a ‘game changer’ – commentators.
14) “The Jacinda Effect” is galvanising Labour’s support base. Isaac Davison reports Labour’s General secretary Andrew Kirton: “We’ve never seen anything remotely like this. It was coming in at something like $700 a minute” – see: New Labour leadership has lifted fundraising and galvanised Maori, Kelvin Davis says. Kelvin Davis also claims that the change of leadership “has brought in more than $100,000 and 600 new volunteers for Labour in 24 hours”.
15) So far the only public opinion polls providing any feedback on how the public feel about the leadership change are online (unscientific) ones. Nonetheless, they suggest that Jacindamania is widespread. The Herald’s online survey says “43 per cent said they would now consider switching their vote to Labour” – see: Labour’s new leader Jacinda Ardern gets a warm welcome from voters. Similarly, on the Herald Facebook site, “Of the 3700 people who responded, 2400 said they would now vote for her, or 65 per cent”. And the Interest.co.nz website also records very positive results for Labour – see: Interest.co.nz readers believe installing Ardern and Davis was the right move and that it’ll help their election chances.
16) Radio talkback land is also apparently positive about Labour’s new line-up. Newstalk ZB’s Mark Dye reports on what he heard from callers yesterday: “if the feedback I witnessed in the four hours of talkback Kerre and I did on the subject on Tuesday is anything to go by, this is a step in the right direction. No more Little, and Ardern in his place has people excited. I know this will upset the policy wonks amongst us, but the populace like warm and personable. As a wonk myself, I hope an approachable demeanour is not the only reason a person chooses to vote for a particular party, but it certainly warms them to it. Time and time again we heard that this is why people liked Key. Ardern has this” – see: Old and worn versus fresh and new.
17) Finally, to see how satirists are dealing with the new leader, see my blog post, Cartoons about new Labour leader Jacinda Ardern.
Today’s content All items are contained in the attached PDF. Below are the links to the items online.
Labour Party leadership
Audrey Young (Herald): Ardern does not need to be Labour’s Joan of Arc
Finlay Macdonald (RNZ): Ardern’s new role: ‘People’s Princess versus Dreary of Dipton’
Phil Quinn (Stuff): How can Jacinda Ardern extend her Labour honeymoon?
Anna Bracewell-Worrall (Newshub): Jacinda Ardern is a ‘game changer’ – commentators
Brian Rudman (Herald): Four failed attempts signal need for radical thinking
Fran O’Sullivan (Herald): Can Ardern pull bunny out of new hat?
Southland Times Editorial: Labour goes full speed Ardern
NZ Herald editorial: Jacinda Ardern needs to show she can perform
Stuff Editorial: Andrew Little faces brutal reality of politics as the rise of Jacinda Ardern continues
Claire Trevett (Herald): New leader Jacinda Ardern a last-ditch bid for Labour
Sam Sachdeva and Shane Cowlishaw (Newsroom): Taking stock of Jacinda Ardern’s stocktake
Rob Hosking (RNZ): Labour is smiling but scars will linger
David Farrar (Kiwiblog): The pros and cons of Jacinda
Jennifer Lees-Marshment (Newsroom): Labour’s problem with political management
Barry Soper (Herald): Jacinda Ardern tasked with pulling Labour back from political abyss
Tim Beveridge (Newstalk ZB): One fact hasn’t changed for Labour
Patrick Gower (Newshub): Ardern could capitalise on the mood for change
Patrick Gower: (Newshub) Jacinda’s on fire, National should be frightened
Tim Murphy (Newsroom): Jacinda vs the media – a tale in two acts
Tracy Watkins (Stuff): Can the Ardern factor save Labour?
Audrey Young (Herald): Ardern is fresh, impressive and interesting
Stacey Kirk (Stuff): Jacinda Ardern says she’s can handle it and her path to the top would suggest she’s right
Vernon Small (Stuff): The anatomy of a Labour leadership spill: Little exits stage Left pursued by the polls
Richard Harman (Politik): What will Ardern mean for the Nats
Interest: Tax plan looks set to be on new Labour election agenda as Little’s ‘no change’ shadow is no more
Eileen Goodwin (ODT): Selection review urged
Eileen Goodwin (ODT): Leader needs to prove herself: prof
Demelza Leslie (RNZ): Clock ticking for new Labour leader ahead of election
Isaac Davison (Herald): New Labour leadership has lifted fundraising and galvanised Maori, Kelvin Davis says
Henry Cooke (Stuff): Jacinda Ardern brings in $110,000 and 600 new volunteers for Labour
Ella Prendergast (Newshub): ‘I don’t care where the voters come from’ – Jacinda Ardern
Mark Sainsbury (Newshub): Andrew Little was a victim of his honesty
Toby Manhire (Spinoff): Jacinda Ardern and Kelvin Davis: why this is terrible for Labour, and why it is brilliant
Jane Patterson (RNZ): Ardern a ‘fresh face’, but Labour’s problems run deeper
Grant Duncan (Stuff): Pressure now on Ardern to lift Labour in the polls
Gordon Campbell (Werewolf): The Labour leadership change
Simon Wilson (Spinoff): Why Jacinda is the answer and Andrew didn’t understand the question
Andy Fyers (Stuff): Can the late change to Jacinda Ardern as leader work for Labour?
Laura Walters (Stuff): Jacinda Ardern says career v children is a dilemma lots of women face
Anna Bracewell-Worrall (Newshub): Jacinda Ardern: It is ‘totally unacceptable’ to ask women about baby plans
Martyn Bradbury (Daily Blog): The only time I’ve ever enjoyed watching The AM Show & Mike Hosking’s ‘credibility’ concerns
Greg Presland (Standard): Solidarity forever
Curwen Ares Rolinson (Daily Blog): The law of unintended consequences – What Ardern/Davis Means For NZF & MANA
Mark Dye (Herald): Old and worn versus fresh and new
Willie Jackson (Daily Blog): Jacinda’s mana shines through
John Edens (RNZ): Ardern’s verbal style: Huge, diverse and positive
Nicholas Jones (Herald): ‘There has been too much comment about how she looks’: Labour MPs on Ardern’s strengths
Tim Murphy (Newsroom): What Jacinda Ardern wants
No Right Turn: The big gamble
Ben Peterson (Leftwin): WTF just happened in the Labour Party?
Daphna Whitemore (Redline): Jacinda – Labour’s most pleasant leader
Russell Brown (Public Address): That escalated quickly …
Stephanie Rodgers (RNZ): Labour’s last-minute leader change: How did we get here?
Standard: So NZ Labour wanted the Headlines.
Martyn Bradbury (Daily Blog): Jacinda Ardern – First impressions as Leader
Mike Hosking (Herald): Jacinda Ardern would have been better to wait
Lloyd Burr (Newshub): Labour’s new team have eight weeks to prove themselves
Isaac Davison (Herald): Labour-Green deal to blame for Labour’s demise – Peters
Henry Cooke (Stuff): Maori Party offers olive branch to Jacinda Ardern
Emma Hurley (Newshub): Politicians react to Jacinda Ardern
Interest: Labour leadership change: Interest.co.nz readers believe installing Ardern and Davis was the right move and that it’ll help their election chances
Tom Hunt and Henry Cooke (Stuff): Giant task of changing Labour election billboards begins
Richard Wain (Newshub): Labour to rush out new billboards after Jacinda Ardern takes over
Julian Lee (Stuff): Erasing Little from Labour: Billboard changes come with ‘a little bit of cost’
RNZ: Ardern: ‘I absolutely believe that I am up to the job’
Nicholas Jones (Herald): Jacinda Ardern’s best one-liners: ‘Mum and Dad are going to get a surprise in Niue.’
Henry Cooke (Stuff): Labour’s Kelvin Davis is ready for the spotlight
Isaac Davison (Herald): Who is Labour’s new deputy leader Kelvin Davis?
Craig McCulloch (RNZ): Profile: Labour deputy leader Kelvin Davis
Florence Kerr (Stuff): Jacinda Ardern wins the hearts of her hometown but can she win their party votes?
Donna-Lee Biddle (Waikato Times): Stop the bus: Passengers react to Jacinda Ardern as the new Labour Party Leader
Jenna Lynch (Newshub): What’s the reaction in Jacinda Ardern’s electorate?
Oliver Lewis (Marlborough Express) Kaikoura politicians give their take on Andrew Little’s resignation
Claire Trevett (Herald): Jacinda Ardern on motherhood and carving her own path
Lamia Imam (RNZ): Jacinda Ardern was always a star, now she’s the leader
Paul Mitchell (Stuff): Manawatu unions sad Andrew Little ‘lost his nerve’ but ready to back Jacinda Ardern
Mike White (North and South): Andrew Little steps down – Is this Labour’s fresh approach?
Mike White (North and South): Home run: Riding the night bus with Andrew Little
Glen Scanlon (RNZ): Little the latest among Labour’s short-lived leaders
Nicholas Jones (Herald): Andrew Little: Stepping down admission a ‘human reaction’
Emma Clifton (Next): Labour’s Jacinda Ardern reveals why politics feels so personal
David Farrar (Kiwiblog): Labour Leaders and Deputies in last nine years
David Farrar (Kiwiblog): What is the normal poll boost for a new leader?
Colin James (RNZ): Can Ardern lift Labour’s polling?
Marc Wilson (Newsroom): What should we expect from election debates?
Bryce Edwards (Newsroom): Make NZ vote again
Colin James (ODT): Is democracy heading for a change of climate?
Ben Uffindell (The Civilian): Introducing The Civilian’s Election Special: How Will You Vote Will You Vote At All Will You Even Consider Voting for Gareth You Probably Shouldn’t – Part One
Martyn Bradbury (Daily Blog): 2 months out from 2017 election – National terrified, Labour resurrection, Greens triumphant, NZ First stalling
University of Auckland: Will Fake News Affect the New Zealand Election?
Martyn Bradbury (Daily Blog): The really basic run down of policy by different Political Parties for 2017 election
Election – Greens
Graham Adams (Noted): Metiria Turei’s good deed in exposing Kiwis’ hypocrisy
Tim Murphy (Newroom): Tears as Metiria Turei tells her story
Shane Cowlishaw (Newsroom): Making the Greens green again
Stacey Kirk (Stuff): Greens promise to double DOC funding and rangers against ‘waves of predators’
Ian Shirley (Briefing Papers): It will take courage to clean up the welfare mess
Election – Labour
Mike Yardley (Press): Does Raf Manji have a prayer?
Todd Barclay scandal
Nicholas Jones (Herald): Winston to PM: I know about your text messages to Todd Barclay staffer
Lisa Owen (Newshub): Prime Minister Bill English sent ‘hundreds of texts’ to Glenys Dickson – Winston Peters
Martyn Bradbury (Daily Blog): Why did Bill English send over 450 texts to Glenys Dickson?
Stacey Kirk (Stuff) Cutting through the political spin on mental health
Katie Kenny, Laura Walters and Alex Liu (Stuff): Take a walk Through the Maze of New Zealand’s mental health journey
Olivia Carville (Herald): Break the Silence: Government axes $800,000 Lifeline contract
Herald: Break The Silence: Final part of Emma Harford’s diaries – ‘This national conversation is a year too late for us’
Olivia Carville (Herald): Break the Silence: New Plymouth headmaster Paul Veric challenges students to break the stigma on suicide
Sarah Harris (Herald): Break The Silence: Rainbow suicide rate five times higher than mainstream
Tom Hunt (Stuff): Police recruit determined to get into force after being denied entry for taking anti-depressants
Richard Edwards (Stuff): Hefty tax rise pushed in urgent smokefree action plan
Rachel Thomas (Stuff): Smokefree 2025: make it harder to get tobacco and it will be snuffed out, report says
Leith Huffadine (Stuff): Unicef calls for New Zealand to extend paid parental leave
Economy and trade
Liam Dann (Herald): NZ’s prosperity still tethered to farm gate
Michael Reddell (Croaking Cassandra): A radical alternative to macro policy?
Univeristy of Auckland: What Are the Challenges of Negotiating Trade Liberalisation?
Eric Frykberg (RNZ): Govt to pay environmental costs to ‘retain West Coast jobs’
Brad Markham (Stuff): It’s time to ban the plastic supermarket bag
Craig Hoyle (Stuff): Judge throws out Colin Craig’s bid to sue former employee for defamation
Paul Davies (Spinoff): The answer to my Auckland home-owning dreams? Melbourne
Pii-Tuulia Nikula (Briefing Papers): Introducing a Universal Basic Income in New Zealand – Insights from the Finnish Trial?
Michael Littlewood (Kiwiblog): Guest Post: The politics of superannuation