The Jacinda effect is real | The Jackal

26 Aug 2017

The Jacinda effect is real

A month ago the Labour party chose a new leader and turned the September election upside down. It’s pretty obvious the right decision was made, because Labour immediately gained 9% in the Reid Research poll.

There is no question that the people of New Zealand want to see and learn about Jacinda Ardern. This has meant publishers are improving their ratings wherever she’s in print. But more than that, people aren’t just interested in selfies with the new Labour leader; they want to know what Ardern actually stands for as well.

This positive campaigning effect has obviously come as some surprise to certain journalists who thought Ardern’s popularity would wane within days. Almost a month later and her star continues to rise.

The new leader has performed exceptionally well because she genuinely believes in Labour’s traditional values. Those values were clearly evident when Labour upstaged National's Dunedin Hospital announcement last week, where Bill English was chased out of the building by around twenty or so protestors.

It was a totally different story when Ardern came to town.

Yesterday, Radio NZ reported:

Ardern raises stakes over Dunedin hospital

A Labour government would start building a new hospital in the centre of Dunedin in its first term, the party says.

Ms Ardern was confident her party could build the hospital faster than the National Party's seven to 10 year estimation.

"Simply by not having a PPP means we have much greater control over it. We also believe from the conversations that are being had locally that it is possible to deliver it sooner.

"The other [reason] is the start time. This government isn't even committing to starting it during their first term."

Ms Ardern also said public-private partnerships didn't work for some of the country's prisons and should not be used to build hospitals.

A Labour led government would build a new publicly owned Dunedin Hospital faster and for less money than National. With policy like that, it’s no wonder the good people of Dunedin turned out in droves.

Today, the Otago Daily Times reported:

Ardern pledges quick hospital construction

National's plan, announced a week ago, promises a new hospital by 2027.

Several hundred people turned up to see the Labour leader yesterday. About 200 of them could not fit into the University of Otago Hunter Centre, and listened outside on loudspeakers.

On her way in, Ms Ardern gave those outside an impromptu address. Apologising for the lack of space, she promised to visit Dunedin again before the election on September 23.

The large crowd was noticeably mesmerised by Jacinda Ardern. But more than that, Labour’s message is actually being picked up by the media and is getting through to the public.

Voters aren’t just there to meet the next Prime Minister either, they’re there to learn about what Labour really stands for.

Contrast that excellent policy announcement with Bill English on the same day letting people know that National would charge tourists twice as much to walk on some of our tracks. Around ten people attended what by most accounts was a very mundane experience.

The campaign is clearly being won by Labour and their new leader. It's not just Kiwi's who want to know about Jacinda Ardern either. Labour's messaging has gone global with a number of well-known international publications picking up on the Jacinda effect... a real effect that should enable a change of government after the election.