Last election, Andrew Little looked at the slumping polls 3 moths out from the 2017 ballot and said, ‘I can’t lead this Party to victory’, and in the most unselfish, most progressive political move in NZ history, stood aside to allow Jacinda Ardern to become leader.
Talk about putting your privilege aside.
Jacinda exploded onto the political stage with an energy and excitement that propelled her into a position to form a Government, but we also need to acknowledge that Labour’s energy was spent on winning and with little executive oversight, with no plans to reform the neoliberal public service who stymied any direct application of services and an inexperienced front bench, Jacinda has not been able to be transformative in the way her rhetoric was.
If Jacinda wants to win a second term, she needs to articulate her vision of the first 100 days of a next Government. She now knows what is possible and what isn’t, she now sees the hopelessness of public services that are management heavy and service lite. She has the room to sideline underperforming Ministers.
With those ingredients she must now be able to construct her vision of what needs to be done and what she can promise.
The Budget Responsibility straight jacket Grant Robertson signed her Government into must be dumped for a wholesale mass investment into transformative infrastructure, a mass state housing build and real work to get peoples wages higher while giving business huge tax rebates into R&D.
Jacinda has to sell us a vision and give us the time scale of the first 100 days to create the perception of momentum.
She has to be bold, confident and authentically credible in providing hope to NZers that there can be a better way forward. She must do something that makes life directly better each week for her electorate. From a sizeable increase in welfare payments; to the first $20 000 being tax free; to GST being removed from fresh fruit and vegetables – she has to implement an idea that people can feel in their pocket each week.
If she cannot sell us her vision in the first 100 days, voters she warmed with the power of hope in 2017 will turn away cold in 2020 like frost in winter.
The humiliation of a one term Government or the roots of a political legacy that entrenched the politics of kindness into the foundations of our culture.
Those are the only two options going into election 2020 for her and Labour.