The 2 things most political pundits are missing in their analysis of Jacinda becoming Deputy


I’m reading everyone’s reckons on Jacinda becoming Deputy and I think there are two main things most seem to be missing in their analysis.


1: Why Jacinda is popular

Some on the Left and in the media feel that Jacinda is underwhelming in some way. That intellectually she isn’t hard enough, in the House not combative enough and everyone always asks ‘yeah but what has she done’.

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This is a very narrow narrative, and I think it’s written by mainly older pundits. Like Rachel Smalley whose latest thoughts on this issue, seems to weirdly go down a rabbit hole and stay there confusedly scratching in a wall. Actually, as a side note, this is like the second weird column she’s written recently. Remember that one about the Indian students who had been mistreated? Didn’t that like go way off where you thought it was going?  Like you’re feeling after the next few paragraphs that as the reader you need to step in and say, ‘Whoa Rach, they’re on the ground and not moving now mate and you’re still kicking them in the head. Steady eddy. Maybe now would be a good time to stop?’

Let’s hope all is well with Rachel, because we all have bad columns.

I mention Rachel’s age because it’s relevant.

I think that what Jacinda represents is a generation and cultural shift from Gen Xers and Boomers.

Jacinda is the first political representation of Gen Y. The thing that makes her so unique is her total lack of Ego. She is conscientious to a fault, she’s part of a Generation that was taught empathy and compassion and consideration for others and recycling.

Always with the bloody recycling.

Put bluntly.

Baby Boomers – “Me, me, me”.

Gen Xers – “Why me, why me, why me”.

Gen Y – “Why you, why I, Why us”.

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 unoffencive ways to work alongside each other for a common good came incredibly early for Jacinda.

In 2008, Jacinda was the President of the International Union of Socialist Youth.

Can you imagine the idealogical schisms in the bloody  International Union of Socialist Youths? It would be like the NZ Twittersphere on Meth and Marx.  Half of them would be denouncing the other half for arguments no one could remember while fringe groups were posting pipe bombs to class traitors.

I think growing up in a generation that prized inclusivity, such a position would demand skills that needed to be implemented from day one. Finding ways to get things done without shouting would have been a skill any successful President of the International Union of Socialist Youth would require.

Jacinda as a Gen Y brings a totally different skill set to the table and her popularity has to do with her reflecting those values on inclusivity.

Suggesting it has to do with her looks is just the most ridiculously shallow reading of her as a person.


2: Why she became Deputy 

Like I said, Jacinda doesn’t have an ego, so she never sought Deputy as a power grab, it was genuinely thrust upon her by the party because they want what she represents on the Front bench.

And because.

The Right wing faction of the Labour Party have been liquidised.

Since Little became Leader, the right wing of Labour, those who agreed with the free market reforms, those who stood by and allowed Helen Clark to do nothing about the Ruth Richardson beneficiary cuts and those who were too frightened to reawaken the sleeping dogs of the 1980s betrayal have all been quietly moved along or left without any choices but total obedience.

This is the biggest idealogical shift of power within the Labour Party since Rodger Douglas. The sidelining of the right means that there is no internal opposition to some genuinely left wing policy.

When ‘gaggle of gays’ Damien O’Connor is currently arguing for NZ to grow raw cannabis for medicinal use, you appreciate just how far removed Labour’s old social conservatives have also come.

The proof to this reckon will be Labour’s election policy platform.

Little has huge power and sway inside the Party right now, he has eliminated any faction that challenges him and he has their solidarity. He will never have a better chance to show NZ that Government can behave in a very different way to the one we’ve had over the last 9 years.

He will have no excuses to not put everything on the field for September.


  1. Yep the Right wing/National/Tories commentators are all scoffing at this ‘genuine Left wing’ turn.
    They think Jacindas the best move Little has made, probably in his entire life.
    Does that not strike you as an odd reaction to such a supposedly massive ideological shift?

  2. I think Little didn’t have much choice but to promote Jacinda. I personally don’t think she is ready she needs more experience for this role but as we have become a very shallow society what a politician looks like is now more important than their policies very sad indeed

  3. “This is the biggest ideological shift of power within the Labour Party since Rodger Douglas”

    Really? I can’t seem to find a time when Jacinda has set any serious Left wing ideological parameters to her political career, I have searched the net high and low, and can’t find a time when Jacinda has offended or frightened the Right through any tough ideological stand or even comments…Martin please update you piece with links to these ideological defining moments in her career, so I to can get as excited about this shift to the Left as you,and believe me when I say to want an ideological shift to the Left in Labour as much as you…maybe more?

    Also, although I completely disagree with, and despise what Douglas did to Labour, but one thing you can’t take away from him,was his unshakable adherence to his ideology, proven time and again in fierce battle, no compromises there pal….putting Jacinda into that same camp,that my friend is a very, very big call, so again I ask you to provide actual proof of this “ideological shift” with links to deeds and words and not hypothetical speculation.

    • She was the president of the young socialist so, and? What does this really say. What did she actually do and achieve, I have googled. The fact is she walked past the protest against the war criminal Tony Blair when he was speaking at Eden park to go in to see him and then she goes to that horrible over opinionated Paul Henry’s book launch, and …. she was primed under Helen Clark. Says it all really pretty vacuous in my opinion. People only get to be deputy leader when these sit on their hands and never ever dissagree with the line the party holds. SO WE WILL HAVE THE GCSB and all that shit for as long as the two major parties want us to.

  4. My memories of Andrew Little as President of the Victoria University Students Union was that he, too, was very much a person who was inclusive and receptive. Having bumped into him recently, I think that characteristic is still very much a part of his personality.

  5. Personally zeroing in on money is what I don when I dont know a heck of alot about something which tbh is a tactical mistake. But unfortunatly money is what im most interested in. I suppose I would make a terrible finance or health minister because I might spend most of my time picking money apart. Which makes me wonder how much I actually like money.

    • Money is the root of all evil . It needs everyone to be studying its nature and it’s manufacture, and who should have the right to determine its role in society. It needs badly to be put in it’s place and no one is even thinking about it. You are right not to like it as it is. Keep thinking.
      D J S

  6. If Jacinda really represents the “left of Labour”, why did she support Shearer over Cunliffe? Also is she still a Mormon? I know it may longer be relevant, but I’m just wondering how her spiritual beliefs might affect her decision making (we know how important that can be: see Bill English on gay marriage). Not that I’m voting for a Labour with Greg O’Connor associated with it in any case, but just interested.

  7. Sorry. The reasons for the elevation of Jacinda to deputy leader are entirely pragmatic and focused on the ultimate Prize.

    Little can see there is merit in bringing forward a popular Member from New Zealand’s biggest city. Especially when a big tranche of that city believes that the rest of the country take the horse and buggy to work and can never quite get all that hay-seed out of their hair. She is also of an age to appeal to a solopsistic, narcissistic generation who literally cannot see any one over forty.

    So, from a marketing point of view it is a good move,

    Ardern also has qualities that recommend her. She is never offensive. She is good looking and she seems to smile a lot. None of these qualities are to be sniffed at. You need to attract people’s eyes and ears if your message is to be heard.

    So it is a good move. But it is purely an expression of a leader who is serious about winning in Spring. The same determination which led him to dump the specs. An approach which will do the necessary to win: major or trivial, can only be approved of.

    But a sign of a rampant, ascendant Far Left it is not.

    • “She is also of an age to appeal to a solopsistic, narcissistic generation who literally cannot see any one over forty.”

      Nick, this is tired cliche. One, generations don’t exist. They are simplistic categories invented and named by marketing consultants. Two, every generation has been called selfish and entitled by jaded members of old generations. For a more detailed explanation and evidence, see:

  8. I look forward to when this imaginary shift to the left by Labour translates into policy. Still third-way IMO. And Jacinda is ‘third-way with an iPad’.

  9. Hmmm,… I think you have outlined a few truths about Ardern.

    She does have an engaging vitality about her… and that is a quality and an asset for her.

    I never really liked her before for several reasons,… one was her relative youth ,- and by that I mean – she was only a TODDLER in 1984 during the Roger Douglas years of Treason.

    She is 36 years old and was born in 1980.

    Which means ,… she was but FOUR YEARS OLD when when that whole neo liberal program of treason was being initiated against the New Zealand public.

    And it is still in effect today , – as is the constant destruction of peoples lives because of it . And it is more evident now than ever before .

    And when she and Grant Robertson appeared to be ‘ teaming’ when David Cunliffe became leader… my suspicions grew even moreso. I didn’t like Robertson that much then , either.


    Because BOTH of them appeared to me , … as the same sort of dead end, vacuous Blairite third way advocates of neo liberal ideology that has polluted and infested the Labour party for three very , … very … long decades.

    The perfect examples of the type of politicians I and hundreds of thousands of others detest most – whether or not they have ‘personality’ or ‘ looks’ or ‘ charm ‘ or an ability to twist ‘ the truth’ to sound plausible.

    We have had 9 years – coming up to a decade – of something similar and we now have family’s sleeping rough in cars while working two jobs on a MINIMUM WAGE and beggars sleeping openly in inner city Auckland’s streets – along with one of the most corrupt , anti sovereignty and surveillance ridden govts in our recent history – and all because of a globalist neo liberal politician ( John Philip Key ) who never ONCE had the NZ general public’s best interests at heart and who was cut in exactly the same vein as the lying Tony Blair.

    We do not need a repeat performance of that destructive individual.

    I thought then and to a point still think now that the reason why Adern strikes me as ‘ shallow’ , or even ‘ vacuous’ was that she is also a product of being brought up in the neo liberal treason era… she seems to display no balance or knowledge of any real alternatives nor what New Zealand was like prior to that simply because she was not even BORN then.

    A study and perusal of NZ ‘s recent economic and political history would alleviate much of that. Particularly mandatory study for any aspiring NZ politician of the ‘ Left ‘ or ‘ Center Left ‘ if they wish to provide an alternative . Or hold prominent leadership positions.

    There are no real excuses for not doing so in this modern age of computers. None whatsoever.

    And dont underestimate the sheer white hot fury in many of us that has been generated for over 30 years of political abuse and the abuse of our community’s , either. It may translate into either posting on a blog site , hurling abuse or in a cynical reticence to even bother participating in voting – yet they are but symptoms of the neo liberal cancerous effects on a society – particularly when there seems to be no viable party or bold leaders left to oppose it.

    Unfortunately , cynical reticence to participate in voting seems to be the general reaction by a public who feels disgusted and let down by those who say they ‘ care’ yet are seen instead to be lining their pockets or championing issues that have actually NOTHING to do with the reality’s of peoples day to day plight.

    It is great news that the neo liberal right wing has finally been neutered… but I will add that it took ‘ them ‘ long enough … and that it could of been opposed more vigorously but wasn’t … it was left up to time and a process of natural attrition to rid the Labour party of these neo liberal wretches… basically ,.. for them to grow old and wind down… retire or die off….

    It is great news Annette King resigned. Im glad shes gone.

    She was a supporter and advocate of the ideology’s and policy’s of both the original wave of the Douglas era of politicians and who also was part of Helen Clark’s 5th Labour govt … So good riddance.

    One down , Mallard to go. We’re getting there. Slowly.

    If Adern can demonstrate that she stands for something more than simply a ‘ feel good ‘ presence and bubbly persona ( which in themselves are not bad ) and show solid dedication and positive commitments to policy’s that alleviate the sufferings of so many of the vulnerable sectors of society that have been ritually abused during this 33 year old neo liberal nightmare ,… then she will indeed be a valuable and popular Labour MP for many , many years to come. I hope that is the case.

    Simply studying and being bold enough to start implementing some of New Zealand’s economic policy’s pre 1984, – and how it led to New Zealanders enjoying one of the highest living standards per capita globally would generate such a groundswell of public approval …. it would possibly have a steamroller effect in demonstrating that our economy CAN be changed for the better and that all these lies we’ve been spun for 3 decades have been just that : Lies.

    I also think ,… a very , very good place for her to start would be for her to be seen touring many of the factory’s and work places around Auckland, … the sort of places the minimum wage earners and working poor – that exploiters such as the likes of Bill English have created – live out their daily lives.

    And yes , it already happens…. but it has to happen a whole lot more… its election year.

    Mix it with them , talk to them ,… over and over again. And be SEEN to be doing it. Take up their concerns and issues. Fight for them . Prove your not just another latte drinking socialist.

    Exchange those high heels and dresses for boots and overalls and a hard hat or a cloth cap .

    Just do it.

    Show some mettle.

    In doing so , …. Labour would win vast political capital towards this coming election and well into the future . Labour revolutionized this country once before a long , long time ago and it was a huge success in doing so . I believe it can do it again , – and with the same sort of runaway success it enjoyed at the very beginning of its movement.

    • “We have had 9 years – coming up to a decade – of something similar and we now have family’s sleeping rough in cars while working two jobs on a MINIMUM WAGE and beggars sleeping openly in inner city Auckland’s streets – along with one of the most corrupt , anti sovereignty and surveillance ridden govts in our recent history – and all because of a globalist neo liberal politician ( John Philip Key ) who never ONCE had the NZ general public’s best interests at heart and who was cut in exactly the same vein as the lying Tony Blair.

      We do not need a repeat performance of that destructive individual.”

      Indeed, but people these days are in their majority as “shallow” as Jacinda may appear. They tend to vote for Mr Nice Guy or Ms Nice Woman (good looking, positive, smiling, bla, bla, bla).

      Hence we got Key as a male, and who knows, we may get Jacinda one day, as a woman, fit for the front page of the Women’s Weekly and similar mags.

    • You are going to have to get used to the fact, younger people will run the world, you cannot stop the tide.

      The same distrust and fear was probably centred at another politician.

      Robert Muldoon was not the tired cynical out of date PM, but a bright young thing with a whole new way of viewing the world and a way of going about it that clearly appealed to his generation in 1957 and in his day probably quite forward thinking. He and others crossed the floor to vote against capital punishment that would have been included in The Crimes Act 1961 otherwise. I bet that amongst other things he did ruffled the feathers of traditional Nats of the day.

      Ironically when I look back he was far better than neo lib history dictates and I voted against him in Tamaki every time.

      Point is even he probably scared the horses as a man in his 30’s but at his peak a very effective if not imperfect politician and as unbelievable as this sounds, a National Party member who cared about the least well off too.

      Just maybe Jacindas different approach that Muldoon displayed in his early days may too reap rewards.

  10. Well said Wild Katipo and I totally agree !
    They could absolutely smoke National at the election if they played their cards right.

  11. Shit, at 72, – I actually was caught by Jacinda during my weak moment in life last week, as her email handed on my inbox asking us for a contribution to her by-election came to me and I asked the wife to send Jacinda some donation ($10) .

    So we hope the money wasn’t wasted and I do donate as a retired disabled kiwi to all the opposition parties occasionally to.

    We do need softer more inclusive MP’s in parliament now days, – as we have noted after Labour loosing in 2008 we have largely been ignored by many MP’s after we send emails asking for help in our communities.

    • re “We do need softer more inclusive MP’s in parliament now days…”

      actually David Cunliffe was “softer and more inclusive” and he was opposed by Jacinda, if not knee -capped by the camp she was in

      David Cunliffe also had way more appeal, way more talent and way more experience than Jacinda ….and he was the grassroots Labour Party choice

      …look what happened to him!…what does this tell you about the Labour Party?

  12. Quote:
    “Put bluntly.

    Baby Boomers – “Me, me, me”.”

    Well I choose to disagree, the “boomers” are no more selfish than most other modern day consumerists, and you can include generation X and Y and Zero into the same category, very many being so consumerist.

    And by being so, the younger ones are also having an “ego”.

    As for Jacinda, I fully understand that she has been proposed by Andrew Little, because he sees that Labour needs a young face at the top and on the front bench in Parliament, to have ANY chance of getting more young people out to vote.

    Nevertheless, although she will have her qualities, I do not think that she is only in the political game for idealistic purposes, she also has an ego, and that includes stepping into the foot steps of Helen Clark, who she respects as her role model. She has chosen politics as her career, also to succeed and get to the top.

    I remember that Jacinda Ardern was also behind this former policy announcement by Labour in 2014:–ardern-2014012805

    I remember the critical discussions then, and how the figures presented did not look that convincing. One main issue was the wide targeting for all families earning less than 150,000 per year, which included rather better off people.

    Apart from that, and speaking up for children in poverty, I remember how little serious criticism came from her in 2012 and 2013, when the Nats brought in the substantial welfare reforms, abolishing the Sickness Benefit, and including sick and disabled with not deemed serious and “permanent” conditions into the Jobseeker category. This may have been that such reforms were already started by Labour in 2007, when they also enabled MSD to appoint this Principal Health Advisor to his new job, who clearly has a strong bias:

    I never underestimate the medias role in this new development within Labour, as Jacinda has been on the cover of the Women’s Weekly and so, so she is well known. There may be others in Labour that can do the Deputy Leader job at least as well as Jacinda, but their “issue” is, they have never been covered much by the MSM.

    So Andrew Little made his decision by having Jacinda’s potential appeal to younger voters and the familiarity of the wider public on his mind. That is what he will have considered, besides of her own abilities and experience within Labour’s team.

    Whether the appointment will make much of a difference this coming election will be seen once the results are in.

    • Heartily agree with you Mike of Auck. Baby boomers were brought up in post war NZ and didn’t have much as kids. Sure we grew up in times of full employment plus twe were instilled with the “do it yourself” work ethic of the time. Any 6 year old who didn’t know the cement to builders mix ratio was an idiot as was the teen who couldn’t build a fence and stain it with used engine oil or paint a room or a house.
      Eating out was something that happened once or perhaps twice a year and our Sunday best were our school uniforms.
      When we started work we made our own lunches to save money for a cheap car and then a house and in the 70’s we were lucky enough to pay mortgage interest at rates in excess of 15%.
      Don’t think it was nearly as much about me or us as later generations.

      • …and then a house and in the 70’s we were lucky enough to pay mortgage interest at rates in excess of 15%.

        We bought our first house in 1978; $21,000, two bedroomed, and interest rates somewhere as high as you pointed out. Two years later, we bought a bigger place (closer to work) for $36,000 and higher interest rates. Yet, we could afford the mortgage and we had none of the hassles which Millenials these days have to cope with. In a way, high interest rates and limited mortgage money kept a lid on house prices (except for the period during the Second Oil Shock/Energy Crisis.

        The point is, despite the difficulties of the 70s and 80s, it was easier to buy a home than it is today.

        There are several causes; tax free gains; unrestrained migration (see my blogpost – but also near-unlimited overseas funds which creates higher and higher expectations for vendors.

        When my dad bought a home, a sole income was sufficient to pay the mortgage and we had plenty left over.

        When I bought a home, we both worked and had sufficient left over.

        Now, two incomes are barely enough.

        What changed?

        Every after 1984 changed.

  13. Little and Adern are both products of the post-Rogernomics political environment, albeit in completely different ways. Little comes from a background of defensive trade unionism, constantly fighting an uphill struggle against full spectrum hostility and forced to use patience, inscrutability and determination to win protracted poker matches with a pair of twos. Adern is the sort of politician made for the world where unemployment is not an issue because it isn’t a ratings winner, and child poverty is ignored by the news media because children who live in cars and dont get enough to eat are poor sell to advertisers. Today politicians get exposure – and their popularity judged – in gossip magazines and society columns and by doing stunts on commercial radio. Key understood this. No one cared about his awful behaviour in the house because the media never bothered showing it. Adern is the same. She has the cut through that the modern, neliberal corporate media want. Self-deprecating, a good sport, good looking and ‘aspirational”. She is the face of middle class generation Y.

  14. Thanks for that Bomber, but I am still not convinced. Being inclusive ( a most admirable and necessary skill) is not enough. Ms Ardern could do with learning the old style skills of plain old fashioned debate.She has never impressed me as a speaker although I do not doubt her compassion or decency. My doubt is that she she is just another careerist. At the same age I had built a business a house and had 3 children. I was a university drop out and a failure by boomer standards. And No family money either.
    To paraphrase Shania Twain ” she don’t impress me much!” But I am more than willing to have my opinion changed .

  15. Politics free zone, Jacinda Adern the annointed MP of Mt Albert courtesy of the Labour Party electoral machine, and then promoted to deputy leader of the Party, 2nd in line to the pretender to the PM’s throne after Andrew Little, without ever having to undergo any political contest for either position. The politician she most reminds of is Hilarly Clinton who also is a product of a polished electoral machine.

    Jacinda Adern, boycotted the only candidates debate held during the by-election in case she got drawn on policy or principle. Or God forbid, had to debate the issues that mattered to the electorate.

    The victory of a professional but vapid politics free politican, just as in the US, opens a space for extremism on the Right of the political spectrum.

    Mark my words no matter how many focus groups give her their approval, the result will be an unprecedented 4th National led government.

    • +100 Jenny…I also am underwhelmed…makes you wonder who/what the NZ Labour Party is controlled who/what is their puppet master ( same as the US Democrats?)

      Adern has not performed well imo ( and she undercut Cunliffe)

      …and Annette King for all her history ( Rogernomics)was very effective as a health opposition spokesperson…important to older NZ voters who do vote .

      …Labour has lost a very effective MP and deputy …sexism?…ageism?

      …I guess Winston will be the winner…Winston for PM I say!

    • Exactly how Key became P.M. exactly. Groomed before any policy announcement, left field etc etc etc.

      ” the result will be an unprecedented 4th National led government.”

      Sadly I also believe this to be the case because a large populace look into the spiraling circles and are brainwashed by then snake oiled media.

      How else can you explain how people vote for the most corrupt Govt in history over the past 9 years?

  16. This piece was posted on the TDB under the heading ‘Setting the Agenda’. Endless discussion of Ms Adern’s leadership potential (and her teeth) was not an agenda set by TDB or the “left”. It is a part of a deep strategy in which the corporate media tacitly agree to cover politics the same way they cover entertainment celebrities; constantly discussing their looks, grooming, relationships, feuds, scandals etc. This gives the impression of covering politics, while any discussion of *policy* disappears into a wall of superficial noise.

    I’m really not sure why alternative media are giving oxygen to kind of this gossip column gutter journalism at all by responding to it. It certainly does *not* qualify as “setting the agenda”.

    • +100 STRYPEY…the msm has been banging on for Jacinda …and it is very superficial

      the msm also attacked David Cunliffe relentlessly over absolute trivia ….what does that tell you?

      • Not just trivia, Chooky – but in the case of the Donghua Liu Affair, what I label as Fake News.

        The media have much to answer for in how they present information and left themselves wide open for criticism from the like of Trump. Case in point; msm reporting on Kellyanne Conway kneeling on a White House sofa, or Ivanka Trump’s dress worn at one of her father’s speeches.

        As much as I am no fan of Trump, the msm’s use of Junk News undermines their own credibility; damages their reputation; and gives credence to Trump’s complaints.

  17. Maybe give Jacinda a chance? You know, the old kiwi tradition of not crucifying someone until they’ve had an opportunity to prove themselves? Damn, we can be hard on our own lot sometimes.

    • Failing to plan is planing to fail. And planing to fail keeps bubbles going. Other whise politicians will fail in there attempt to create expensive affordable housing

    • Of course she will be given a chance, but others will say, she has already been a list MP for many years, so she had sufficient chances to speak out clearly on policy and principles. I wonder whether what has come from her has met that criteria to be clear on policy and principles. Let us wait and see, she has been given ample time, and will have a bit more time.

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