How does Labour's new leader stack up against the competition?

Jacinda Ardern speaks to reporters on Tuesday. Can she turn around Labour's fortunes?
Hagen Hopkins

Jacinda Ardern speaks to reporters on Tuesday. Can she turn around Labour's fortunes?

The elevation of Jacinda Ardern to Labour Party leader was a move born of desperation, but in the immediate aftermath of Tuesday's excitement it's looking like the move may be the step change the party needed.

So, ironically, Labour's poor polling eight weeks out from the election could have precipitated the dramatic action that will see it do much better than those polls were suggesting.

There's still a long way to go, and we're waiting to see how Ardern performs when she crosses swords with some of the hardened campaigners who'll be doing their best to shut down any possibility of a Labour renaissance. Until then, here are some basic details about the leaders of the parties with MPs in parliament.

Bill English

Bill English

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Bill English, 55 National: Born in Lumsden, Southland, English spent his early years growing up on the family farm in the hills behind the tiny Southland town of Dipton. He was one of 12 children. The farm, which is named Rosedale, has been in the English family for more than 125 years. It was bought in 1890 by Richard English, who was originally from Tipperary in Ireland, and his wife Mary-Jane (nee Casey).

A Catholic, English boarded at St Patrick's College in Silverstream, Wellington, for his secondary education, then studied economics at Otago University and English literature at Victoria University. He worked as a Treasury analyst before becoming MP for the Southland electorate of Wallace in 1990. He was minister of health from late 1996 to early 1999, when he became minister of finance. He had less than a year in that role before a Labour-led government took over late in 1999.

Jacinda Ardern during her maiden speech to parliament in 2008.
SUPPLIED

Jacinda Ardern during her maiden speech to parliament in 2008.

He was opposition leader for two years from October 2001 - during that time leading National to its worst ever election defeat, when it won just 20.9 per cent of the party vote in 2002. English was finance minister from late 2008 until late 2016, holding the purse strings as New Zealand negotiated its way through the global financial crisis and the rebuild of Christchurch following the devastating quakes of 2010 and 2011.

Jacinda Ardern, 37 Labour: Born in Hamilton, Ardern spent most of her young years in the Waikato town of Morrinsville. There were also a couple of years in Murupara, where her father was a police officer. Her family was Mormon. She left the faith in her 20s, mostly because of its anti-homosexual stance.

She studied communication studies at Waikato University, and worked for 2-1/2 years in the UK Cabinet Office. In  2007, she was only the second woman to be elected president of the International Union of Socialist Youth - described in Ardern's profile on Labour's website as the largest international political youth organisation in the world.

Metiria Turei
HAGEN HOPKINS/GETTY IMAGES

Metiria Turei

Ardern entered Parliament on the Labour Party list in 2008, and in February became MP for Mt Albert when she won a by-election which followed the resignation of David Shearer. She is Labour's spokesperson for justice, arts, culture and heritage, children, and small business, and is associate spokesperson for Auckland issues.

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Metiria Turei, 47 Greens: Turei's profile on the Green's website says she was raised in a working class Maori family in Palmerston North. 

She became a single mum at 22, and realised she would need a career that would set her up well for her daughter. Using a training incentive allowance, she studied law at Auckland University, graduating in 1999 and starting work as a commercial lawyer.

James Shaw
CHRIS SKELTON/STUFF

James Shaw

Turei entered parliament on the Green's list in 2002. She became co-leader in 2009, and her roles include being party spokesperson for building and housing, and inequality.

James Shaw, 44 Greens: In his maiden speech to parliament in 2014, Shaw, who was born and grew up in Wellington, said he was raised by his mother Cynthia and her same-sex partner Susanne. His mother managed to raise enough on her teacher's salary to send him to Scots College. He later transferred to Wellington High School.

His first ancestors in New Zealand were Englishman Charles John Shaw and Annie Mathilda Baggett, who married in Christchurch in 1867. Baggett was the grand daughter of a Jamaican plantation slave.Shaw worked as a business consultant in London for 12 years, entering parliament on the Green's list in 2014 and becoming co-leader in 2015, after Russel Norman stepped down from the position. Shaw is the Green spokesperson for climate change, economic development and finance.

Winston Peters

Winston Peters

Winston Peters, 72 NZ First: Peters is the great survivor of New Zealand politics with a long and tumultuous political career behind him. He was born in Whangarei with a Maori father and Scottish mother. He had 10 siblings, and they lived in the small coastal settlement of Whananaki, northeast of Whangarei. Peters' NZ First profile says he went to Whangarei Boys High School and Dargaville High School. He is a former teacher, and studied history, political studies and law at Auckland University. He was captain of the Auckland Maori rugby team and had his own law practice.

He was elected to Parliament as a National MP in 1978, representing the Hunua electorate. He lost the seat in 1981, then was back in parliament in 1984 as the MP for Tauranga. In 1990 he was made Minister of Maori Affairs but was sacked from cabinet in 1991. He resigned from National and parliament in 1993, triggering a by-election, which he won as an independent candidate.

He held onto Tauranga in the general election a few months later, by then as a member of NZ First, which he had set up. In 1996 NZ First won 17 seats and Peters decided to form a coalition with National. In 1998 he was again sacked from cabinet and broke off the coalition. He remained MP for Tauranga until 2005, when he narrowly lost to National. Peters was a list MP from 2005-2008 but then spent three years in the wilderness after NZ First failed to get any seats.in 2008. He was back as a list MP in 2011 after his party bounced back with eight seats at the election that year. In 2015 he stood in the by-election for the seat of Northland, taking the seat handsomely from National which had held that part of the country for almost half a century. His many roles in parliament have included deputy prime minister and minister of foreign affairs.

Te Ururoa Flavell
Steph Rangi/STUFF

Te Ururoa Flavell

Te Ururoa Flavell, 61 Maori: Of Ngāti Rangiwewehi (Te Arawa), Ngāpuhi and Ngāti Raukawa descent, Flavell was born in Tokoroa and raised in his whanau home at Waiteti on the western shores of Lake Rotorua, a profile in the Te Puni Kokiri magazine Kokiri says.

His father died when he was 10, but a scholarship meant he was able to attend St Stephen's School at Bombay, where he was head prefect and first XV rugby captain. He had two seasons in the Auckland rugby team, is trained in Maori martial arts and competes in IronMaori competitions.Flavell trained as a teacher and has a Master of Arts from Waikato University. He has taught at several secondary schools, was head of Maori studies at Taranaki Polytechnic and dean of Maori studies at Waiariki Institute of Technology.

He entered parliament as the MP for Waiariki in 2005 and became co-leader of the party in 2013. He is minister of Maori development and Whanau Ora minister.

Marama Fox
Ross Giblin/Fairfax NZ

Marama Fox

Marama Fox, mid-40s Maori: The daughter of a Maori mother from Wairarapa and Pakeha father, Fox was born in Hamilton, lived in Porirua for a while then moved to Christchurch when she was still young. The youngest of five children, she told E-Tangata she and her siblings were the only Maori pupils at their primary school, there was only one other at Heaton Intermediate, then at Christchurch Girls High there were "10 or so" Maori students.

She was a mother at 18, to the first of nine children. By then she and husband Ben were living in Masterton, where they still live and where the whole family is involved in shearing.

A Mormon, Fox is a "moral conservative activist". The Maori Party described her as "a talented entertainer and storyteller, who has taken her many skills into the educational profession". She entered parliament as a list MP in 2014 and became Maori Party co-leader soon afterwards.

David Seymour
KEVIN STENT/STUFF

David Seymour

David Seymour, 34 ACT: Seymour was born in Palmerston North and grew up in Whangarei. He went to Auckland Grammar School, then to Auckland University where he studied electrical engineering and philosophy.

His profile on the ACT website says that after starting work as an engineer, the phone rang and he moved to Canada where he worked as a policy analyst for a private sector think tank.

He won the Epsom seat for ACT in 2014, and became party leader a few weeks later. He is parliamentary under-secretary for education and regulatory reform.

Peter Dunne,
CAMERON BURNELL/FAIRFAX NZ

Peter Dunne,

Peter Dunne, 63 United Future: Born in Christchurch, Dunne went to St Bede's College, then received a Master of Arts degree with honours in political science from Canterbury University.

His website on the Beehive website says he worked for the Department of Trade and Industry in Wellington during 1977-78, before joining the Alcoholic Liquor Advisory Council where he worked up to 1984.

Since 1984 he has held the northwest Wellington seats of Ohariu, Onslow, and Ohariu-Belmont - for the first decade as a member of the Labour party. He became an independent MP in 1994 and in 1995 an MP of United New Zealand - now known as United Future. He has been party leader since 1996. He is minister of internal affairs, and associate minister of health and conservation.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 - Stuff

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