Giant task of changing Labour election billboards begins video

TOM HUNT/STUFF

Labour Party Rongotai electorate candidate talks about the mammoth task of changing billboards.

As dawn broke on the first morning of Jacinda Ardern's era as Labour leader, new billboards were up in Wellington.

Rongotai Labour candidate Paul Eagle, currently the city's deputy mayor, swung into action as soon as it was announced on Tuesday morning that Andrew Little was stepping down and Ardern was stepping up.

"We needed to show immediate change - I rang the [designer and] printer as soon as I heard. I said, 'what are the chances of getting a couple of designs done."

The old billboard, featuring Ardern and Little.
ALDEN WILLIAMS/STUFF

The old billboard, featuring Ardern and Little.

That was shortly after 10am. By 2pm a new, simple billboard was designed, reading just, "Party vote Labour".

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A new Labour Party billboard on John St, Newtown, Wellington, has no image of former leader Andrew Little, or new leader ...
TOM HUNT/STUFF

A new Labour Party billboard on John St, Newtown, Wellington, has no image of former leader Andrew Little, or new leader Jacinda Ardern.

By 7.30pm, the printing of a handful of new signs was done and Eagle with a couple of volunteers hit Wellington's main arterial routes - John St and Constable St in Newtown, as well as Wellington Rd, in Kilbirnie - to replace the Little billboards with the fresh version.

There was no trouble finding volunteers, he said.

Through the day, his phone was running hot as people volunteered to help put new boards up.

"I have never had so many text messages."

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Labour's campaign manager, Andrew Kirton, said on Tuesday that he wasn't concerned about the cost of replacing billboards featuring Little and Ardern.

"Everyone's asking about the billboards. We'll be focusing on getting those swapped around," Kirton said. 

"There will be a little bit of cost to be honest, but we've already had quite a few more donations come in so we're in pretty good shape."

The party has seen a boost in volunteer and financial support since Ardern took over.

In the 21 hours since she took the top job the party received more than $110,000 in donations - with a peak of $700 a minute in the hours just after she announced her leadership.

It wasn't just money - party chairman Andrew Kirton said 600 new volunteers had also got in touch.

"I've never seen anything remotely like this," he said.

 

 - Stuff

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