Jacinda Ardern wins the hearts of her hometown but can she win their party votes?
New Labour leader Jacinda Ardern has the overwhelming support from her hometown, but it's unlikely to turn into party votes.
Morrinsville, traditionally part of a Waikato's blue ribbon electorate, is unlikely to change colours but that hasn't stopped her hometown from heaping praise on her.
The praise comes after Ardern was named leader of the opposition party on Tuesday following Andrew Little's resignation.
Little's resignation comes on the heels of damning polls that show only 24 percent support for the party. Little also trailed Ardern in the preferred Prime Minister polls.
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Locals, however, are excited by the latest turn of events that have seen a much loved local girl shoot straight to the top.
Ardern grew up in Morrinsville after leaving Murupara. She attended Morrinsville College.
Second cousin Neil Ardern said he was pleased with Ardern's rise to the top and said she had the charisma to go all the way.
"John Key had a charisma about him, he could sway the public, he had the gift of the gab I suppose. She talks the same way, she has a way of putting things and it just makes people feel better."
Neil Ardern, a National supporter, said although it was unlikely to sway his vote, he was extremely proud of Ardern.
"I think we may see a few votes go to Labour this election, but I think the seat is still National."
Family friend and Morrinsville business owner Brett Johnstone said Labour made the right move in putting Ardern at the top.
"She was groomed for this role by Helen Clark. I think this is a very good and a very logical move," he said. "Jacinda could well be the next Helen Clark.
"It won't change the seat but we may well see some people vote for the Labour candidate, but not the party."
Another Morrinsville local Michelle Clare was ecstatic when she learned Ardern had secured the top spot.
"Yes. We need her," she said. "At the end of the day we need a bit of change. Having a fresh caucus in there to help New Zealanders. We've even spoken to her about things we need and she has helped us. She deserves that role."
Lloyd Clare agreed, saying the party needed "new blood" within their ranks.
Te Aroha man Roy Avery, a National supporter, thought the leadership change was overdue.
"It had to come, I didn't think much of [Little] anyway, you know, as a leader. To me he was nothing really," he said. "I think it is a good choice for Jacinda to take the party."
Asked if he would now consider voting for Labour with Ardern at the top, Avery was unrepentant "No".
But Adern's childhood teacher Kaye Sampson said the leadership change had solidified her position come election day.
"I will be voting Labour because she is leader. I believe in her vision and I know she will work diligently for all New Zealanders and she cares for the most vulnerable."
Sampson, who taught Ardern at Rangatahi College in Murupara, said she was an astute student. "She was always well behaved, well organised and presented well. She was one of our top students," Sampson said.
Sampson, a resource teacher for learning and behaviour in Taupo, said prior to the announcement she didn't know who she would cast her vote for.
"I was unsure about who I was going to vote for, but now I know. It's not that I thought Andrew was not good, I just thought he was a little bit weak. But she has a lot of guts.
"A lot of teachers will be voting Labour now, if talk in the staff room is anything to go by."