So what are the pros and cons of Labour electing Jacinda. Here’s the pros:
- Genuine – what you see is what you get with Jacinda. She is comfortable in her own skin. The public like genuine people, as we saw with John Key
- Warm, funny and likeable – people generally don’t vote for someone they don’t like. It is not enough by itself, but it is a prerequisite
- Good communicator – nine years of weekly TV appearances
- Excellent debater – could well overshadow English one on one
- Motivational – will motivate many Labour activists who had given up
- Policy wonk – will not be left floundering on details
- Social Media – huge followings
- Media – many in the media love her and will give her a coronation
- Time – with just eight weeks until the election, honeymoon effect will not have worn off
- Is she ready to be PM? NZ has never elected someone PM who has been a party leader for just eight weeks. She is untested as a leader. Does the public think she can run the country? Running a country is vastly different to running a club of youth wings.
- Can you imagine Winston agreeing to make her Prime Minister if he holds the balance of power? He is more likely to demand the top job for himself.
- Economic credibility? Will the public think her and Grant Robertson will be better economic managers than Bill English and Steven Joyce?
- Caucus support. Her unanimous election was because no one else wanted it before the election. But several senior Labour MPs do not think she has been an effective Opposition MP. Will she face a challenge in October, if Labour loses?
- Effectiveness. As I pointed out in March, she prioritises empathy over effectiveness.
- Electability. She is popular and liked but she did fail to win Auckland Central (a previous safe seat for Labour) in both 2011 and 2014
Overall the pros clearly outweigh the cons. I think she will do better than Andrew Little. The question is how much better.
Are there any pros or cons I have missed?