Is Ardern’s cut-through an illusion?
Jacinda Ardern has been billed as the Great Deliverer of votes, especially young votes, but this may well be yet another false dawn for Labour.
Labour’s new leadership team had their first ever public debut on Thursday – and it revealed Jacinda Ardern maybe isn’t as popular as everyone thinks.
Even in the left-wing safe zone of Victoria University’s Kelburn campus, hardly any students knew who she was.
Leader Andrew Little on the other hand, was recognised by almost everyone.
It was an eye opener for the new deputy leader, who’s been touted time and time again as bringing something to the table that Mr Little apparently lacked: popularity.
But not on Thursday among the hundreds of students celebrating Orientation Week.
Newshub randomly asked 17 students if they knew who Andrew Little was. Nine knew he was leader, five knew he was a Labour MP and three had never heard of him.
We did the same with Jacinda Ardern: 10 people didn’t know who she was, five knew she was deputy leader, one thought she was co-leader, and one knew she was an MP, but didn’t know about her promotion.
Oh dear! Ardern does not walk on water, nor has she the preconceived recognition and mana that so many had assumed. Puff pieces in women’s magazines and nil political heft do not a leader of a featherweight make.
Revealingly Burr revealed his bias when he wrote:-
it wasn’t the instant ‘Jacinda Ardern Factor’ that many – including myself – were predicting.
It’s early days. And the pair did look good today. I just had higher expectations.