Ardern ‘happy to roll with the punches’


Fresh off a con­vinc­ing win in a hur­ried by-elec­tion for Mt Al­bert, Labour’s Jacinda Ardern is fo­cus­ing on her new patch.

It help­fully blocks out mount­ing spec­u­la­tion that Labour leader An­drew Lit­tle will have some de­ci­sions to make over whether to make her his deputy leader head­ing into the elec­tion.

Ardern pulled in 10,000 votes in Sat­ur­day’s elec­tion in Auck­land, streets ahead of her clos­est ri­val Julie Anne Gen­ter on 1489.

In a com­pe­ti­tion that mostly had the wind taken out of it by Na­tional’s de­ci­sion not to stand a can­di­date, Ardern pulled a 30 per cent turnout with es­ti­mates of a to­tal vote count of 13,715.

Ardern said the lead­er­ship spec­u­la­tion was a dis­trac­tion.

‘‘I haven’t put any thought into it. Per­haps that says some­thing about my abil­ity to multi-task dur­ing a by-elec­tion.

‘‘I haven’t re­ally paid much at­ten­tion to it be­cause that’s been hap­pen­ing on and off for a while and it’s not some­thing that - when you’re par­tic­u­larly in the heat of a by-elec­tion - you want to get dis­tracted by,’’ she said.

Ardern had felt the pres­sure of de­liv­er­ing a good re­sult, over the past four week, even though many were treat­ing the out­come of the by-elec­tion as a fore­gone con­clu­sion.

De­spite com­men­tary around her po­ten­tial in the party, Ardern has not been known to fuel sug­ges­tions she had de­signs on a lead­er­ship role.

‘‘Of course, I want to be good at my jobs so that I’m in a po­si­tion to earn a place as a min­is­ter - be­cause that’s where you can make the great­est change,’’ she said.

It would be a tough call for Lit­tle, who would have to de­mote re­spected veteran An­nette King as deputy, to in­stall a pop­u­lar Auck­land-based MP.

If he did make the de­ci­sion in the next few weeks how­ever, Ardern was happy to do ‘‘what- ever’s best for the party’’.

‘‘But that’s been the way I’ve ap­proached most of my roles in the party - that’s noth­ing dif­fer­ent for me.

‘‘For me It’s been about say­ing what­ever’s best, what­ever’s needed. First and fore­most for me is the im­por­tance of just be­ing part of a strong team.’’

Now that she is MP for Mt Al­bert, Ardern has some tar­gets to achieve in the time be­tween now and the Septem­ber Gen­eral Elec­tion.


Jacinda Ar­den, newly elected Labour MP for Mt Al­bert cel­e­brates at the Point Che­va­lier

Bowl­ing Club.

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