It’s offical, Jacinda is the new Leader and Kelvin is her Deputy.
Jacinda has had no hand whatsoever in the move against Little and was genuine in her loyalty. She will claw back voters who the Greens have picked up, appeals to female voters who voted for Key and makes a huge impact on the youth vote.
Kelvin likewise had no hand in moving against Little and he will be the first Maori to ever be Deputy leader of the Labour Party and will give him real muscle against Hone in Te Tai Tokerau.
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’.
This is a very narrow narrative, and I think it’s written by mainly older pundits.
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.
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.
She could well be what Labour needs, the questions are does she have enough time to turn Labour’s fortunes around, and can she survive the factional machinations of the Labour Party to survive a possible defeat?