'Fresh approach is gone': Jacinda Ardern culls Labour's campaign slogan as donations fly in

One of the signs that will need to come down.
ALDEN WILLIAMS/STUFF

One of the signs that will need to come down.

Jacinda Ardern has moved swiftly to stamp her mark on Labour - and the first thing to go will be the party's campaign slogan.

"A fresh approach" was the banner under which Ardern's predecessor Andrew Little campaigned. The slogan is on their bill boards and campaign ads.

But Ardern confirmed on Wednesday it would not survive.

New leader Jacinda Ardern. The median donation amount to Labour after the leadership change was $33.
MONIQUE FORD/STUFF

New leader Jacinda Ardern. The median donation amount to Labour after the leadership change was $33.

"Fresh approach is gone."

The slogan is not the only thing that's being tossed out - Ardern said she was overhauling the entire campaign plan.

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It hasn't taken long to erase Andrew Little in Palmerston North.
MURRAY WILSON/STUFF

It hasn't taken long to erase Andrew Little in Palmerston North.

"What we will be doing on the road, what our tag line is likely to look like, what the vibe of the campaign will be."

Ardern has the luxury of money and volunteers to make good on her plans.

The Labour Party has seen a serious boost in volunteer and financial support since she took over as leader.

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In the 24 hours since the Mt Albert MP took the top job on Tuesday the party say they have received around $250,000 in donations - with a peak of $700 a minute in the hours just after she announced her leadership.

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It wasn't just money - party general secretary Andrew Kirton said 1000 new volunteers had also got in touch.

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

The party's website - where they say $150,000 of their donations were received - was swiftly updated to reflect the new leader.

The median online donation amount was $33, which was an option on the site.

"From the minute she was announced as leader it started coming in quite large volumes but quite small amounts - the average is about $30," Kirton said.

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It's understood the $100,000 received offline was in much larger chunks.

On the same day, National declared two large donations adding up to $168,000.

Labour won't say what a normal day looks like but claim this is represents a serious upsurge.

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"What I can say is that we were receiving in hours what we usually get in weeks," Kirton said.

It's appears to be the first concrete sign of an upsurge in support for Labour following the leadership change on Tuesday.

No new poll releases were expected in the immediate future, after the triple-whammy of three polls putting Labour's support at 24 per cent or lower on Sunday and Monday forced former leader Andrew Little to resign.

An already-replaced sign in Wellington.
ROBERT KITCHIN/STUFF

An already-replaced sign in Wellington.

The party would need the cash and volunteers.

They now faced the mammoth effort of replacing billboards bearing Andrew Little's face up and down the country, re-filming and re-promoting a new campaign ad, and likely destroying reams of printed material.

Ardern confidently said the party had enough money to do this on Tuesday but the new boost would be welcome news.

Already on Wednesday morning one of the Little-bearing signs on Wellington's John Street had been replaced overnight with a generic "Party Vote Labour" sign.

Alanah from Auckland, who didn't want to give media her last name, said she donated $250 to Labour in response to the change.

"She's motivated me to support Labour to do better. I also like that they made a Maori member deputy," she said.

Party president Nigel Haworth said all of the signs with Little's face would be removed within 48 hours.

Despite the bad polling and sudden shift at the wheel just seven weeks out from the election, MPs both on and off the record seemed more optimistic than they had been before the change.

One senior Labour MP said the mood was "buoyant" after an admittedly "tough few days".

But opponents say Labour's fresh face just papered over deeper problems with the party.

"The disarray they are in is not all Andrew Little's fault," National leader Prime Minister Bill English said.

"The basic problem isn't really the leadership, it's just they don't have a positive view of what New Zealand can achieve."

Ardern seemed to have taken his "positivity" criticism to heart, promising "relentless positivity" on several media appearances as leader.

"I think one of the issues that we have faced as Opposition is, of course, from Opposition it is our role to highlight the things that are going wrong, but New Zealand is a relentlessly positive country," Ardern told RNZ on Wednesday morning.

"I believe New Zealand can be better than it already is."

* Comments on this story are now closed.

 - Stuff

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