Hello Dolly

Guyon Espiner has recently profiled potential future Labour leader Jacinda Ardern in the Listener. Jacinda Ardern obviously has admirable traits; she is motivated, she gets off her chuff and tries to make a positive difference to society.
She is both feminine and aggressive (the Listener photo is a beauty. It highlights both these attributes.) She has the potential to go far in politics. Unfortunately her ticket into politics is the reason she might not progress as far as she could.
 From the article:
¬†“She worked for Helen Clark and cites the former prime minister as a major inspiration.”¬†

This may prove to be Ardern’s downfall. Particularly her aspiration to follow in her mentor’s footsteps.
As time passes, the Dream Team of HC and Cullen will become less aspirational and longer memories will hold an impression of the fifth Labour Government as being vindictive; melded by feminist Schoolmarms and pigeonholed by special interest groups.
¬†Clark succeeded at the time because she wielded an iron-fist in-cased in a velvet glove. She was a bossy bitch who could switch from guerrilla mode to charm offensive depending on which tactic was deemed most likely to get policies into play. On one hand, a number of politicians and public servants’ ambitions were thwarted in the early 1990’s -2000’s for no greater reason than they were male and not “progressive”.
At the same time Clark charmed every journalist she spoke to. As a student journalist  in 2000, even we lowly muppets had access to her if we wanted.
Clark was hugely successful in her time and bought the parochial farming nation that was New Zealand into the 21st Century.
One of her best was policies was the largely unaffordable 20 hours free ECE. Horizons expanded as “sessional” ECE¬† was no longer the only option open to “Moms” in our child-bearing years.
Traditionally we dragged our loin-fruit off to “Kindy” only to turn around and go get ’em again – half an hour break if we were lucky.¬† Then thanks to “free” ECE, three days a week, six hours a day we could dump ’em in a centre . Even part time work became an option.
Contrary to the belief of the traditional 1950’s males in the National caucus, having children does not preclude work. But in order to make it worthwhile for the individuals, couples and society, some subsidy for childcare is needed.
This then set the ground for the introduction of Paid Parental Leave. The debate over PPL is still ongoing and Ardern is right in the middle of it.
BTW, I think six months PPL is a bit extreme. Even newborns enjoy a change of scene and having other people in their lives. No harm is done by skipping merrily out the door to a place where your boobs might be admired rather than gnawed on. A change of scene makes one appreciate t’other more.
But all this cultural change inevitably attracts criticism. I think the rise in family inequity will eventually be laid squarely at the feet of Labour, despite the new freedoms for women and the fiscal benefits accorded by Working For Families by Clark and Co. We voters are a simplistic bunch. We note the constant increase in child abuse despite the adoption of the anti-smacking bill by the Clark government. This controversial bill was introduced by a Green member and supported by Key but ’tis likely to cast the longest shadow over the Labour women.There will only ever be one Clark; paler replicas will be marked out as being beholden to the Clark vision and possibly Clark’s actual wishes from the distant metropolis of New York.
If Jacinda Ardern is to be even more successful in NZ politics she needs to find her own vision to draw on.

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