HDPA’s 5 step recipe for Jacinda’s success

Should we take Jacindamania seriously? ?Heather du Plessis-Alan thinks so, as long as she covers the following:

Win back workers
Blue collar workers have begun leaving Labour. They left for Winston and the National Party.

They left because Labour got distracted by man bans, gender rules, ethnicity and sexuality. For workers trying to feed their families those debates are a luxury.

The good news for Labour is that those workers are probably about ready to come back. They hear the economy is doing brilliantly but they don’t feel it. Their wages aren’t going up, rents are getting more expensive, schools are begging for funding, hospitals are begging for funding.

They want a party that admits it’s tough out there and has a plan to help.

The problem is that “workers” are no longer in the factory. ?They are now more likely to be sole-charge self-employed types that know the value of an hour’s hard work. ?This is a totally different mindset to the unionists that just want to take it to the Torys. ?

Be a boss
Ardern needs to put her foot down with the Labour Party. By that, I mean the activists and the unions.

They’ve hijacked the party. They are much of the reason that Labour is sitting at 24 per cent in the polls. They are responsible for distractions like the man ban.

Ardern needs to control what Labour says and does.

The signs are good. She’s already reshuffled her team (albeit in the smallest possible way), announced she’ll change the campaign slogan and promised to review policies

I’m not so convinced she has shown her ability to conquer this most important step. ?But I agree with Heather that it’s time the Labour party runs itself, and the caucus believes in its own policies. ? The union tail wagging the Labour dog has been an utter failure. ?And for the unions too.

Take a risk
Ardern’s got years left in her. She can afford to take a risk.

Little played it safe. His campaign slogan was safe. His policies were safe. He did that because he wasn’t popular personally.

But a new leader means a new narrative. What was “Loose with Cash” under Little can become “Looking after New Zealanders” under Ardern.

And there is a mood for change. The reason National sits as high as it does in the polls is partly a vote of confidence in the party and partly because there is no clear alternative.

So Ardern needs to give voters an alternative.

She needs bold policies that promise to shake things up.

That’s a big ask between now and the election. ?In fact, it is impossible. ? If she hangs in there for 2020, she’ll have a fair shot at it then.

Don’t trust Winston or the Greens
They’re both trying to take Labour’s voters. They’re trying to drown out Labour by stealing the headlines just like Metiria Turei did with her benefit fraud admission.

Labour’s been so focused on attacking National, it’s forgotten to defend itself from raids on its flanks.

Winston’s stealing Labour’s blue collar workers. The Greens are stealing Labour’s radicals.

Everyone’s played friendly thus far, but if either of these parties lose voters back to Labour because of Ardern, watch them turn on each other.

Ardern needs to poop on the Greens from a great height. ?It is remarkable how admitting to multi-year fraud against the welfare system has decimated Labour’s vote and bolstered the Greens’. ?The MOU has been a total failure for Labour. ?They need to throw it out. ?It’s worthless to them anyway. ?And the symbolism would be huge.

Prove you’re ready for Government
This is the biggest challenge. Seven weeks is not a long time to prove much.

Ardern has weaknesses. She’s inexperienced in leadership. In opposition, she never managed to land a blow on National. She’s introduced the idea that she might not be up to handling the job if she has babies. And she’s seen – as one Labour MP described her – as “a flake”.

Labour has weaknesses. They’re too long to list. But top of that list is “disarray” and nothing says that more than changing the leader seven weeks out from an election.

If Ardern and her team can prove that none of that is worth worrying about and that they can handle the country’s credit cards, they’ll be away laughing.

This is a big one. ?Which probably needs a change in culture inside of Labour. ?This change can come about if the unions are put back where they belong.

Heather’s piece is probably the most honest analysis I’ve seen out there to date. ?It essentially says that if Jacinda can step up, and she has the genuine support of colleagues and the party, she can do great things.

Sadly, for her, I know the talent pool in the Labour caucus are deeply divided with long term selfish goals being sought at the expense of the party. ? And I don’t see that change in time for this election, or the next.


– Heather du Plessis-Alan, NZ Herald