T minus 8 days until the “Jacinda Option” becomes valid

The Labour party constitution allows for the caucus to vote out the leader and not have to go back to the members to choose a new leader if the general election will be held within 3 months.

On 23 June that part of the constitution becomes effective for the Labour party caucus.

Nathan Smith explores the “Jacinda Option”…formerly known as the “Mike Moore Option”

New Zealand First has reached a record level of support on the latest political poll, largely at the expense of the Labour Party.

According to the Newshub-Reid Research Poll released yesterday, Winston Peters’ party is up to 9.4%. Labour has dropped 4.2% to 26.4% while National is up 0.3% to 47.4%.

With 100 days to go until the 2017 election, these figures mean National would secure 58 seats while New Zealand First would have 12 seats. A total of 61 seats is required to govern.

Political commentator Bryce Edwards says this isn’t what Labour needs at the moment.

“The result is close to what they got at the disastrous 2014 election when they got 25%.

“Of course, it’s just one poll. Nonetheless, the latest Listener and TVNZ poll also had similarly low numbers. So this is looking like a trend and Labour is in big trouble.”

But Labour and National traditionally slide around 4-5% by the time of the election. That means that Labour is putting Bill English’s record low at risk.

For preferred prime minister, Mr Peters is the clear No 2 with 9.7% while Labour’s Andrew Little has 7% preference. Fellow Labour MP Jacinda Ardern rivals her party’s leader with 6.6%, although this figure has dropped 3.9% according to the poll. National’s Bill English is up 1.2% to 26.2% for preferred prime minister.

“Maybe Winston Peters isn’t going to be the kingmaker who is capable of putting Labour into power. If the recent polls are correct, National won’t have trouble putting forward another coalition government,” Dr Edwards says.

“Everyone’s been assuming Winston will have the numbers to choose Labour if he wants but maybe we’ve been a bit presumptuous about that. New Zealand First still isn’t at the numbers Labour needs for it to govern.”

Dr Edwards says Labour has the option to change its leadership after July [WO: June] 23 without taking the decision back to the membership.

If Andrew Little continues to bomb like this, I think there will be some people in Labour who are asking whether it’s time to bring in Jacinda Ardern. Andrew Little just isn’t doing it for Labour at the moment. But things would have to go a bit further south in the polls before Labour freaks out and goes with the Jacinda option.”

However, Dr Edwards doesn’t “sense Jacinda Ardern has the hunger to be the leader of the opposition, let alone the prime minister.”

“I think she knows her time is well off in the future. She’s growing into the deputy role and appears quite comfortable where she is.”

Ms Ardern has indicated to several media recently that she is not interested in taking the leadership.

Jacinda Ardern’s recent interview suggests that she can’t cope with being deputy let alone leader.

In any case I don’t believe she would do anything than arrest the current slide. That was why Mike Moore was drafted in to become leader in the dying days of the Lange/Palmer/Moore government.

Can Jacinda do that?

Unlikely.

If they do take that option then this is who would become the leader of the Labour party.

 

-NBR

 


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