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Labour are hoping that Jacinda Ardern will help win over younger voters

The Wireless logo The Wireless 1/03/2017

And the pundits reckon this is a move that had to be made.

Labour's Jacinda Ardern. © Provided by Radio New Zealand Limited Labour's Jacinda Ardern. Labour's Jacinda Ardern.

Photo: Brad White/RNZ

Fresh from winning the Mt Albert by-election, Labour’s Jacinda Ardern looks set for a promotion after the party’s deputy leader, Annette King, today announced her resignation from the job and Parliament.

Both King and Labour leader Andrew Little are backing Ardern, 36, to take over as deputy, though the final decision will be made with a party caucus vote next Tuesday.

Despite only two days ago saying there was "no vacancy", Little is now banking on the move to freshen up the face of Labour going into the election.

“Jacinda, in her nearly nine years in Parliament, has done some tremendous work on a number of fronts.  She's a fantastic networker, she connects with the part of the electorate we're working very hard to connect with,” he said according to Stuff.

"It's Jacinda's generation who are suffering the worst by the neglect of this National Government, on housing, on health and on a range of other issues.”

King, who will turn 70 before the election, was giving Jacinda Ardern her full support.

"I have watched her political career blossom since she became an MP in 2008 and mentored her when she needed help,” she said.

"After her emphatic victory in Mt Albert, she's well and truly ready to step up."

Ardern took to Twitter to thank King for backing her, describing her as a friend, mentor and “pseudo-aunty”.


Meanwhile, the man who Ardern and Little will be looking to push out of government in September, Prime Minister Bill English, said King's departure would "leave a big gap" in Labour.

"They'll really miss her - Annette's been a long-time, reasonable, stabilising influence in the Labour Party.

English described Ardern as "untested". "We don't really mind what [Labour] do internally. Labour's fundamental problems are just out of sync with the confidence and direction of the country, and that's reflected in their low levels of support."

Newshub political editor Patrick Gower reckons it’s the best move Labour’s made in years, saying she will amplify the “vibe” of the Left. “ She represents a new generation and a new style of politics. The Labour grassroots love her (and so do the Greens).”

University of Otago politics lecturer Bryce Edwards writes in the NZ Herald: “It’s now The Andrew and Jacinda Show.”

“Everyone is likely to look back on this transition as having been inevitable. It simply wasn't tenable to keep King in that position while Ardern's star was rising so fast,” he says.

Over on The Spinoff, Toby Manhire says Ardern’s win made the change “irresistible” - and wagers there’s a chance she could overtake Little in the preferred leader polls. “And should Labour flunk again in September, she will be expected by many to stick her hand up.”  

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