Politician Jacinda Ardern Enjoys Rapid Rise
Jacinda Ardern took over as New Zealand’s opposition leader just last week, but already she has prompted a flood of donations, taken a stance for women in the workplace and transformed what had been a dull election campaign, the Associated Press reports.
Whether her ascent will be enough for the liberal Labour Party to reverse its fortunes and mount a serious challenge to the conservative National Party when the general election is held in seven weeks is unclear. But few doubt the impact of the 37-year-old, who most people are now referring to simply as “Jacinda.”
Ardern has also unveiled the party’s new campaign slogan: “Let’s do this.” She also promised to host weekly sessions on Facebook as part of a strategy to become more accessible.
Ardern was the Labour Party’s deputy leader when she was thrust into the top job with scant notice after Andrew Little resigned, following a series of dismal opinion poll results. One poll indicated the party was supported by just 24 per cent of voters.
Ardern has a background in policy development and is the former president of the International Union of Socialist Youth. She was first elected to Parliament in 2008.
National Party lawmaker and campaign chairman Steven Joyce said he believes his party has better policies for New Zealanders and the boost the Labour Party is enjoying from its new leader won’t endure without policy changes.
“I’m always in anticipation of a fight, at every election, and this is no different from the last one,” Joyce said. “In fact, prior to this change, it was just too calm and too quiet.”
Original article by The Associated Press, The New York Times, August 4, 2017.