An actual Auckland Central strategy?

by Jake Quinn

National's Nikki Kaye and Labour's Jacinda Ardern

With the news that Phil Twyford will be now be seeking Labour’s Waitakere nomination for 2011, Jacinda Ardern is now free to publicly state her intention to seek the Auckland Central nomination.

Jacinda, formerly of Morrinsville in the Waikato, raised eyebrows earlier in the year by taking up residence in Auckland Central.  After all, Twyford, who had just suffered the inconvenience of having been pushed aside for David Shearer in Mouth Albert, had already set up shop next to Nikki Kaye’s Auckland Central electorate office and was therefore assumed to be the front-runner for Labour’s candidacy.

Some serious discussions must have gone on as to what kind of candidate would be the most likely to actually beat Kaye, who is widely seen to be doing quite well locally and who, naturally, receives a constant trickle of positive press coverage from her mates at the Herald and the city’s various glamour and gossip pages.

I imagine Jacinda would have the leadership’s and probably even some members of the party hierarchy’s (the Labour Party Council’s) support for the move, and has no doubt spent the last few months cozying up to the various local electorate committee members who would provide the only other possible resistance to her move.

I’d say confirming Jacinda’s nomination is unlikely to be as controversial as some might suggest (although I’m sure many people will put their names forward).  Thus, talk of others providing stiff competition might be misguided.  In any case, I’d say Jacinda’s wide-ranging support would probably be enough to see her shake off the possible internal opponents.

In the same way that every other CBD seat goes to Labour, Auckland Central is a natural seat for the party.  Winning it back needs to be an absolute top priority for Labour and having Jacinda as their candidate is the best way to ensure that happens.

When the 2011 election rolls around, Auckland Central voters will be able to ask “hey, these two candidates are both hard-working, intelligent, bushy-tailed young up-and-comers, so what separates them?”

Well, that’s the thing, I’m sure they both like to think of themselves as ‘pro-environment urban-liberals’, but only one of them can really say it with a straight face – and that’s the difference.

What Kaye tirelessly presents to the electorate, or at least tries to, Ardern actually is.