Jacinda Ardern goes for vision as National grab the cheque book
OPINION: Day one and $10 billion down. National's answer to "Jacinda-mania" couldn't be more old fashioned - pull out the cheque book.
As a sea of red gathered outside the Auckland town hall to bask in the new found optimism and euphoria generated by new leader Jacinda Ardern, National leader Bill English was in the provinces spruiking a $10 billion spend up on provincial highways.
Ardern's speech steered clear of spending promises but was big on vision - including making climate change "the nuclear free" moment of this generation.
Labour would not have known that National was planning to make a big roading announcement when Ardern wrote her speech. But the contrast could not have been more stark.
* Bill English's road to votes
* Labour begin with a troop rouser
* Bill English gets up close with the mood for change
* Election 2017: Putting Labour's latest poll-quake in context
* Green Party out of Parliament, Labour surges in new poll
Labour's new story under Jacinda Ardern is generational change.
And while roads are always a winner with voters, reaching back into the same old bag of tricks risks making National look predictable and tired.
The other stark contrast of the day was Labour itself.
The Auckland town hall was filled to overflowing several times over; the scene outside was chaotic as volunteers tried to squeeze the party faithful into one overflow room after another.
The mood was further buoyed when former Labour leader Helen Clark was singled out in the audience; the moment when she and Ardern hugged was an image the grassroots could not get enough of.
There has been nothing like Sunday's campaign launch since Clark left.
Last election it was almost too much of an effort to fill a school hall. .
Sunday's launch was something many of its younger members have never experienced.
National has the chance to reset the agenda again this week, however.
The books will be opened and will likely show there is room for a spend up on generous tax cuts.
And National's campaign launch next week in Auckland will be every bit as euphoric and likely even bigger.
But it's been a very long time since Labour believed - nearly a decade in fact.
Comments have been closed.