Not many people know this, but in 2008 David Farrar and I had a long lunch with Jacinda Ardern in Morrinsville.
It was pleasant enough but I was left with the distinct impression that Jacinda Ardern was living a dream and a plan created by other people…for her.
She also left me with the impression that she was nothing but a collection of bumper sticker slogans and she had about as much depth as a car park puddle in Alice Springs.
Now the Media party are pushing hard for her to be the deputy leader of the Labour party and replace septuagenarian Annette King.
Chris Trotter has fallen for it also. He thinks that Labour’s future rest upon Jacinda Ardern’s reluctant shoulders.
“Jacinda” was the only name on Labour’s by-election billboards. Andrew Little will have noted that. When the electorate starts identifying politicians by their given name – “Rob”, “Winston”, “Helen” – it signals a significant up-tick in political familiarity. It’s easy to vote for a candidate who requires no second name. “Jacinda” has acquired a winning ring.
If Little doesn’t respond to Jacinda Ardern’s emphatic by-election victory in Mt Albert by promoting her to deputy-leader, then he’s a fool. Success merits promotion. Any failure on Little’s part to acknowledge Arden’s pulling-power in Auckland will only fuel suspicions that he lacks the fortitude to shake-up the delicate factional balance of Labour’s caucus.