‘Bo­gan’ Ardern ex­horts young peo­ple to en­rol

The New Zealand Herald - - NEWS - Claire Trevett

Labour leader Jacinda Ardern looked back to her “bo­gan” days on the farm in Waikato yes­ter­day at a cam­paign rally in Hamil­ton where she de­liv­ered a plea for young vot­ers to vote.

Today farm­ers in the re­gion will set out why they be­lieve she has sul­lied their name, but yes­ter­day Ardern was de­ter­mined to show what a coun­try gal she was, telling the au­di­ence about driv­ing a red Massey Fer­gu­son trac­tor and turn­ing the fam­ily or­chard into a sheep farm.

Ardern was speak­ing to a bois­ter­ous au­di­ence of Labour sup­port­ers at the Clarence St Theatre in Hamil­ton.

She got a rap­tur­ous wel­come — but it was the young vot­ers she was wor­ried about more than the con­verted at the Hamil­ton rally.

Ardern said the elec­tion was close and could well be de­cided on turnout.

“This elec­tion is go­ing to come down to the wire and every sin­gle vote is go­ing to count.”

She told the sup­port­ers to talk to their friends and col­leagues to make sure they were en­rolled.

Her cam­paign has been pitched firmly at the younger gen­er­a­tion — but en­rol­ment numbers are lag­ging be­hind pre­vi­ous elec­tions.

Other­wise it was her usual cam­paign pitch, com­plete with quotes from Norm Kirk and Peter Fraser, much use of words such as “hope” and a prom­ise to solve prob­lems from home­less­ness to cli­mate change, from clean rivers to af­ford­able hous­ing.

She said that in some ways New Zealand was con­sid­ered the envy of the world be­cause of its eco­nomic growth. How­ever, her mea­sure would be how peo­ple in towns such as Ngaru­awahia were feel­ing rather than over­seas econ­o­mists.

“A suc­cess­ful econ­omy is one that serves its peo­ple, not the other way round. I want eco­nomic suc­cess to feel real, but it won’t feel like any­thing but faint praise un­til it feels real for every­one.”

Ardern said she was “back in my own back­yard” and re­ferred to her birth and early years in Dins­dale and up­bring­ing in Mor­rinsville. She said she re­called “many hours do­ing laps down Vic­to­ria St in my friend’s car, be­cause that’s what bo­gans did”.

Af­ter­wards Ardern took an­other trick from for­mer Prime Min­is­ter John Key’s book — promis­ing to at­tend Wai­tangi Day cel­e­bra­tions at Te Tii Marae af­ter her ri­val Bill English said he would not go back.

In 2008, Key made the same pledge af­ter for­mer He­len Clark said she would not re­turn fol­low­ing a se­ries of soured wel­comes. Key kept that pledge un­til 2016, when he too pulled out. Last week, Ardern had copied Key’s pledge to re­sign rather than lift the su­per­an­nu­a­tion age.

The rally opened with Anika Moa, in­tro­duced by Ta­mati Cof­fey as the third most pop­u­lar les­bian in New Zealand — af­ter the Topp Twins.

Moa jok­ingly took ex­cep­tion, say­ing she liked to think she was the hottest: “They’ve had their time.”

Moa is the lat­est of a string of New Zealand mu­si­cians to ap­pear at Labour cam­paign events — the cam­paign launch fea­tured Hol­lie Smith and a speech by Don McGlashan.

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