The Soap Box: Ardern is the shot of adrenalin Labour's been lacking

Author
Barry Soper,
Section
Opinion,
Publish Date
Monday, 21 August 2017, 5:33AM
She's clearly loving her new found job, saying since getting it she's never once felt alone. (Photo \ Getty Images)
She's clearly loving her new found job, saying since getting it she's never once felt alone. (Photo \ Getty Images)

Labour has a lot to thank Metiria Turei for, going by the adulation the party faithful fawned on Jacinda Ardern at her campaign launch in Auckland.

If Turei didn't make the biggest miscalculation of her political life last month, Labour would have been turning out yesterday to hear Andrew Little kick off their campaign.

Little was in the audience and he must have been reflecting on the events of the last three weeks and would have had his decision to step aside more than reinforced by the glazed eyed audience.

Not since the John Key rock star phenomenon, where he was constantly besieged by those with a cellphone in their outstretched hand, have we seen anything like it.

Like Key for National, Ardern is Labour's chocolate box cover. They love the picture and even if the contents of the box can be a little flaky, as they were with Key, there are others behind her that'll make the ingredients more palatable.

Ardern is the shot of adrenalin Labour's been so badly lacking, ever since the woman in the front row of the campaign launch, the one they like to call Aunty Helen, resigned on the night she lost to John Key.

This campaign has now come alive and Ardern might be something of a political rookie but she knows how to pull on the heart strings, reminding her party of their past leaders, like the picture she has of Norman Kirk who died in office six years before she was even born.

It's not a conventional picture, it's a framed cutting from the Te Aroha News, of Kirk on his way to a Hindu wedding, standing next to a neatly dressed woman. The woman is Ardern's Nana, a former Labour electorate secretary.

So she has the red creds and in just over three weeks she's put Labour back on the electoral map, snapping at National's heels, which would have been unthought of as the election countdown began.

Thanks to Turei, Ardern's now begun eating The Greens' lunch, zeroing in on poverty and on climate change which she described as the nuclear free moment of her generation.

She's clearly loving her new found job, saying since getting it she's never once felt alone. If she does pull it off with the ultimate prize on September the 23th, she'll certainly never be alone which is the side of the job that most Prime Ministers find the most taxing.

 

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