Barry Soper is Newstalk ZB's Political Editor

Barry Soper: New Mt Albert MP Jacinda Ardern's easy ride in politics

Labour's new constituent MP Jacinda Ardern's had an easy ride in politics.

The new Mt Albert MP went against the trend becoming Parliament's youngest politician when the Nats came to power in 2008 when the long time incumbent in her seat Helen Clark was swept from power.

Ever since the 36 year old's been unable to win a seat, always having a high place on Labour's list as their favourite daughter, until last Saturday but then that was a foregone conclusion with her only opposition coming from Julie Anne Genter who waved the Green flag which in reality to the electorate was little more than a white flag.

The Nats didn't bother contesting the seat that's always been held by Labour which didn't even bother turning it into a contest for Ardern to win nomination for the seat. Ardern's five years older than Helen Clark was when she won Mt Albert back in 1981 and like Clark, she grew up in rural Waikato.

Within eight years of entering Parliament, Clark was the deputy Prime Minister, a record Ardern won't be able to achieve, although chances of her being in the deputy's job if Andrew Little can pull it off this year are pretty good, meaning she will have taken just a year longer to to take the slot than Clark did.

Having observed both women since the start of their Parliamentary careers. they're not cut from the same cloth. Clark was always nakedly ambitious, even gasping in the smoke filled rooms she hated so much, getting to know the right power brokers who held the key to her success.

Of course the smoke filled rooms are long gone from Parliament these days, thanks largely to Clark, but Ardern clearly has the ability to get on with her colleagues, which could have something to do with her appreciation of single malt whiskeys.

No one can pinpoint a stellar, memorable success in her eight year stint in the place, although unlike Clark after the same service, she's always been in opposition which is arguably harder to make your mark.

And no one can put a finger on why she deserves to become Little's deputy but she's liked and in politics that's a rare skill that can take you far - ask John Key!

- Newstalk ZB

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Barry Soper is Newstalk ZB's Political Editor

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