Jacinda Ardern has been Labour leader for 24 hours - so what's changed? video

Labour leader Jacinda Ardern has to change peoples' minds - fast

Labour leader Jacinda Ardern has to change peoples' minds - fast

Time is ticking by fast for Jacinda Ardern. She has only been in the job for a day but when you've only got about 50 days to persuade voters to change their minds, every hour counts.

Ardern gave herself 72 hours to come up with a plan - after day one, she has already ticked some boxes.

Staff have been assured of jobs till after the election at least; she has ruled out a major reshuffle but handed over most of her portfolios to her predecessor Andrew Little (she kept children, and picked up intelligence and security).

Ardern has also ditched Little's campaign slogan, the money is rolling in, and a big policy announcement is in the wings, probably targeting students, and student loans.

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But apart from a change of face, will voters notice a change in Labour? And what will that mean for them? We asked Ardern.

What does Labour stand for under your leadership?

"One of the statements I quote a lot from [Norman] Kirk is the one that relates to everyone - everyone needs somewhere to live, someone to love, something to do and something to hope for.

"That fundamental idea that Labour's had as the people's party is that if you provide the basic needs of every human and build a strong community around them then they will flourish. And that's where the creativity happens. That's where entrepreneurial activity happens. So we're harking back to those values because our concern is actually we haven't got the basics right any more.

"That fundamental right to a house, a decent place to live has been undermined. My generation is facing greater intergenerational inequality than others. Actually our older citizens now are even facing housing issues. So we're getting back to those basics but that's also so we can create an environment where all the good stuff happens."

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National will campaign on its economic record. Is that where Labour is weak?

"Labour in some ways has been more focused on economic credibility ... but actually our track record sets us apart. And I'm happy to hark back to that. Actually the last Labour government under Michael Cullen left a record that we can and really should be proud of."

But don't you lack experience on the economy?

"The economy intersects with every single portfolio … I understand that some of this investment that we need to do relies on us having a robust stable and thriving economic environment. They're reliant on one another. But actually getting our social policy right also has an impact on our economic future as well. And I see a lot of human waste in our system as it's working currently. But also I see the manifestation of inequality in our system as well."

Are you realistic about what you can achieve in the time you have?

"Yeah ... I know there is a lot of expectation out there as there well should be in the lead up to an election ... people have asked me what number do you want to achieve. If it's not a number that can achieve government then of course I've failed. Of course. Elections are black and white. You're either in or you're out. There'll be nuances in that but ultimately that has to be our goal."

What is your opinion of Bill English?

"Hes incredibly competent ... and I think there's a lot of respect out there for the role that he's played in multiple facets. But ultimately he has been a part of the John Key government; all of the issues that we're raising we believe there's a lot of room for improvement and change. He's been a part of that too. So I will be questioning elements of his legacy this campaign. "

 - Stuff


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