New Labour leader Jacinda Ardern gets warm Christchurch reception
She has not ventured anywhere near Christchurch as leader yet, but new Labour boss Jacinda Ardern has already been warmly received.
Party candidates on the campaign trail in the city on Wednesday took plenty of compliments on their new commander-in-chief.
Former leader Andrew Little resigned on Tuesday, following a string of poor poll results for Labour and a public admission he had considered stepping down. Ardern, his deputy, was elected unopposed as his replacement.
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Doorknocking in Fendalton – heartland National territory – Labour's Ilam candidate, Anthony Rimell, did not have to prompt some residents to comment on the leadership change.
"I think she'll be great," one woman, a longtime National supporter who was now a swing voter, said.
"You don't think she's a bit young perhaps? Maybe I'm just getting old."
"I think she's dynamic," another longtime National voter said, "I think it's the only thing you [Labour] could do."
Several lamented Little's demise.
"I'm sorry [he's] gone," one woman said.
"I don't know [Ardern]. I feel like she's a bit more known in Auckland than the South Island."
Across town in Linwood, Christchurch Central Labour candidate Duncan Webb enjoyed a similarly positive reaction.
Resident Hamish Tindall felt changing so close to the election was a bad idea, but he approved of the choice of Ardern and said the move might encourage him to give Labour his party vote.
A woman in the same street approved and said previous Labour party leaders put her off voting for them.
"This change can only be positive."
Another woman who told Webb she voted "for the other lot" said the news would not change her stance.
Another, who described herself as a swing voter, said she was "all for" the change and it was "good to have a woman in there".
Richard Tweedie was enthusiastic. Identifying himself as a Labour voter, he said the choice was "brilliant".
"She's a fresh face, a new generation."
Tweedie blamed former Prime Minister Helen Clark for the party's leadership problems, saying she had not encouraged upcoming leaders while in the top job.