So that feels like a really long holiday, did I miss anything?
Jacinda Ardern quitting seems like a long time ago now given all the news we've had since. But I can tell you my first thought was not – oh dear, misogyny forced her out. The true reason of course was the polls, the research, the divisiveness, the polarisation, the fact Labour was on a hiding to nothing with her at the helm.
Epic failures to deliver on so much, the arrogance that had crept in, the fact she clearly couldn’t stand the reality of not being popular anymore. Those jumping to assert that it was misogyny only discredit all women in leadership positions. We’ve had female leaders in this country for years, they hold their own, they don’t need coddling and defending and protecting.
Ardern just didn’t like the idea of losing. She wasn’t up for the grind of election year on the hustings with people giving her a hard time. And fair enough, that’s on her. I don’t begrudge her wanting to pull the pin on her ‘team of 5 million’ when it didn’t suit her. But even she didn’t want the misogyny defence. Even she argued that wasn’t a factor. She just didn’t want to do it anymore. Fair cop.
Although the whole thing did remind me of an Air B&B guest who trashes the place, in our case the country, then leaves without cleaning up. It was not - as may've been inferred - some late summer holiday revelation she had either. We now know it was all planned and arranged back before Christmas. Hence the transition to new leader was so quick and easy.
Canny and clever of the Labour party? Or Machiavellian? It doesn’t really matter, the point is she’s gone, and somehow the media got sucked into thinking that a new leader means a whole fresh new Labour.
How? It’s the same old government with the same old policies with the same spending habits and dysfunction that we’ve seen all along. Nothing’s changed. The guy who wouldn’t listen to dairy owners over ram raids, or fix the Police portfolio when he had it, or improve our woeful education or sort our Covid response in a way that didn’t divide the entire country, is now in charge.
How’s that any better? Well last night's two polls tell us it may be better optics for voters - who also seem sucked into the fiction that a new leader means a whole new approach to governing.
So a honeymoon bump? Or can Chippy turn it around for the party? I mean he doesn't grate the average Kiwi the same way Jacinda Ardern did, but he’s still Labour, and they’re still useless.
So, my biggest surprise over the holidays was not Ardern quitting or Hipkins coming in, but the sycophantic response to it where he's been painted as some kind of Messiah, and her as a dearly departed Saint.
Kate Hawkesby is a political broadcaster on Newstalk ZB - her articles can be seen HERE.
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