Published: Wed, August 02, 2017
World | By Paul Elliott

Jacinda Ardern Takes Over New Zealand Opposition as Election Looms

Jacinda Ardern Takes Over New Zealand Opposition as Election Looms

Jacinda Ardern (C), New Zealand's new opposition Labour leader, speaks to the press alongside members of her party after Andrew Little stepped down in Wellington, New Zealand.

Sports presenter Mark Richardson then offered the inspired argument that the people of New Zealand have the right to ask Ardern this stuff as her potential future employers (y'know, if she's elected PM), because "if you're an employer of a company, you need to know that kind of thing from the women that you're employing, because legally you have to give them maternity leave".

Ardern says she's actually a "total policy nerd" and she describes her grasp of Te Reo as "disappointing".

Mr Little yesterday nominated his deputy Jacinda Ardern to replace him after two polls this week showed support for the left-leaning party at just 24 per cent, its lowest ever.

"In terms of ultimate effect I think she's only got 40 days until the advanced polls open and you know that would be a resilient effort if she could succeed".

Ms Ardern said women should be employed on their qualifications, regardless of their baby-making plans.

The repeated questioning of Ms Ardern on the subject has sparked outrage among many who point out that male politicians are rarely asked their parenthood plans.

Just one day into her new job with the Labour Party, the 37-year-old had already been asked twice in two separate interviews about whether she meant to become a parent. It should not predetermine whether or not they get the job, ' she added.

Prime Minister Bill English is not fazed by the Maori Party's offer to make peace with Labour.

National will pull its punches while Ms Ardern enjoys the after-glow of the leadership change and the spike in publicity the party, and she herself, have received as a result.

"I've just confirmed to the Labour Party caucus that I will step down as leader to the Labour party", Little told reporters. New Zealand is due to hold a general election on September 23.

"Like Labour our party is concerned about more than half the prison population being Māori, not enough Māori people owning their own homes, whānau ora not getting enough funding to make the difference we want it to and the shocking number of people sleeping in their cars and on the streets".

Ms Barry had no view on that except being sure Ms Ardern will "do her best".

In what is perhaps the first glimpse into how popular Ms Ardern will be as a leader, the amounts flooding in are certainly heartening to the newly appointed leader.

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