Nikki Kaye un­der­stands Jacinda hype

Auckland City Harbour News - - YOUR LOCAL NEWS - JO MOIR

Auck­land cen­tral MP and Ed­u­ca­tion Min­is­ter Nikki Kaye says the hype around Labour’s Jacinda Ardern doesn’t sur­prise her be­cause she’s ‘‘charis­matic’’ and ’’cares a lot’’.

Kaye will contest her seat at this year’s elec­tion but for the first time in six years her com­pe­ti­tion isn’t Ardern, who won the Mt Al­bert by-elec­tion ear­lier this year.

Kaye took time out from Par­lia­ment at the end of last year after be­ing di­ag­nosed with breast cancer and said her ap­proach to the cam­paign had to change as a re­sult - the num­ber of doors she’ll knock on had been halved for a start.

Ardern had al­ways been a ‘‘for­mi­da­ble’’ op­po­nent and run­ning against her now that she was leader of the Op­po­si­tion would have been ‘‘tough’’, Kaye said.

‘‘She’s got a large group of peo­ple be­hind her that sup­port her. I guess though I’m re­ally con­fi­dent in what I’ve de­liv­ered and I think that my ex­pe­ri­ence of pol­i­tics is that peo­ple know that,’’ she said.

In 2008 and 2011 Kaye knocked on 10,000 doors and in 2014 it was 9000. She ex­pected to knock on be­tween 4000 and 5000 by Septem­ber 23.

‘‘Since I got sick last year it’s not been pos­si­ble to knock on as many doors. I’ve done a few thou­sand but what’s hap­pened even in the last cou­ple of years is the amount of peo­ple en­gag­ing on­line, whether it’s con­stituency queries or even through the elec­tion cam- paign.’’

Kaye changed her ap­proach and is mak­ing greater use of so­cial me­dia, par­tic­u­larly Face­book Live, and is for the first time hold­ing street cor­ner meet­ings.

Any sug­ges­tion she would throw in the towel if Na­tional did not get to form a gov­ern­ment after the elec­tion was dis­missed by Kaye, pro­vid­ing she was Auck­land cen­tral MP.

‘‘I’m in here as long as the peo­ple of Auck­land cen­tral want me and it would be very dif­fi­cult for me if I lost the seat. That’s where I would have to think re­ally care­fully about stick­ing around be­cause I love be­ing a con­stituency MP. I think it’s part of my DNA.’’

Kaye said the so-called ‘‘Jacinda ef­fect’’, the surge in the polls and the crowds of peo­ple around Ardern did not sur­prise her.

‘‘I’ve worked in Auck­land cen­tral with her for a pe­riod of time. I’m not sur­prised in the sense Jacinda cares a lot, she’s charis­matic.’’

She said she ‘‘com­pletely un­der­stands there’s a group of peo­ple that are ex­cited about Jacinda’’.

DIANA WOR­THY

Nikki Kaye and Jacinda Ardern have bat­tled it out in Auck­land cen­tral at the last two elec­tions but not any­more.

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