OPINION: The Jacinda juggernaut can't be stopped
Labour’s rise from the dead is the political equivalent of a Marvel comic book storyline. They were lying prone on a hospital bed, near death when an experimental potion was injected into them and now they have superhuman strength and look unstoppable. That potion has since been given a name - The Jacinda Effect.
It appears to me the secret to running a successful political campaign is similar to that of telling a good joke. Timing is everything.
The change to Jacinda as leader has given Labour major momentum into the election, and because the change was so close to the day the momentum won’t have enough time to fizzle before we go to the polls. Genius.
Whether or not it was planned this way it has proved to be pure genius.
There was not much particularly wrong with Andrew Little. He is a nice enough guy, seemed quite relatable, said the right things, pointed out the government's failings. But the trouble was he is a middle aged white guy. Similar to the guy before him and the guy before him and, here is the kicker, similar to the guy opposite him.
It seemed a vote for Labour with Little in charge was a vote for more of the same at a time when the people were crying out for change.
The fresh approach they were promising screamed ‘nothing to see here’.
Labour tried to increase his popularity by promoting Jacinda to the deputy leader role but having her standing slightly behind his right shoulder did nothing because it was still Little’s voice they heard. Once the mic was handed to Jacinda the freight train started to move.
And that is all Jacinda has really done. She has captured the nation’s imagination with just words.
Sure, there have been policy announcements thrown out there but as many a political commentator or anyone wearing blue has pointed out there is little detail in those announcements.
Here is what those political commentators and National party members fail to see though. A vast majority of people who will be voting on September 23 don’t care about politics. So the details don’t matter to them.
They don’t read the news, they don’t have alerts coming on their phone about policy announcements, they won’t watch any of the leaders debates and they won't read this blog. They don't care.
I know it’s hard for us newsies to understand but the most of the voting public are not arm chair political experts. They do not give two hoots about politics and never will. They vote for people they like.
John Key was not popular because he had great policies. Most of his critics will tell you he sold the country down the river. He was popular because the public liked him.
While the well informed, political news junkies slapped their forehead at every Key botched handshake, catwalk mince or shower peeing admission the public had a bit of a laugh. That’s John. Bit of a goofball but we like him.
I see the same thing happening with Jacinda. Not because she is a goofball but because she is popular. She is a political rock star. She has it all.
She is intelligent, quick, witty, charismatic, no nonsense, stylish, funny and dear I say it good looking.
Not many will admit it around the dinner guest table but there will be thousands of votes coming her way from people that find her 'hot'.
There will be votes for Labour from people that could not name a single member of their cabinet other than Jacinda.
People are shallow.
Try as Bill English will over the next 3 weeks to point out that Jacinda has nothing on her CV to show she can be PM, or has any detail to any policy, people will vote for her anyway.
And that is my point really. It will not be a vote for Labour as such, it will be a vote for Jacinda.
The Jacinda juggernaut cannot be stopped now. The only question is how far can it go?
I think it can go as far as - she will form the next government, without Winston’s help.
Mike Roke Producer RadioLIVE Drive