Claire Trevett: Ardern romps home in boring by-election

From the day she launched her campaign for Mt Albert back in January, it was clear Jacinda Ardern, pictured with Andrew Little, was going to win. Photo /  Michael Craig
From the day she launched her campaign for Mt Albert back in January, it was clear Jacinda Ardern, pictured with Andrew Little, was going to win. Photo / Michael Craig

Are we there yet? It's the plea of children on a long roadie and the voters of Mt Albert may well feel the same right about now.

At 7 pm the polls closed and soon after it became clear Labour's Jacinda Ardern had romped home - if it can be called romping from what looked like a dire turnout.

In truth it had been clear Ardern would romp home from the start.

It was, it has to be said, the most boring by-election in living memory.

Even political junkies had to struggle for enthusiasm. Commentators went to great lengths to inject some tension into it and some meaning or out of it - any meaning or tension at all.

That, dear readers, is exactly why National didn't stand a candidate.

Even if Labour had not stood the popular Jacinda Ardern, National was never going to win.

The only ones really enraged by National's decision are the Greens and Labour - because it deprived the campaign of a competition and therefore of oxygen.

It also deprived them of an opportunity to run National's nose in it again so soon after Mt Roskill.

Labour had hoped it would be a good profile rising exercise for them - and for Jacinda Ardern.

It is likely by now Little is wondering if he could squeeze a bit more profile and a few points in the polls out of having Ardern as his deputy instead of King.

That is no indictment of King - but there is a bit of magic about Ardern.

The by-election was a handy chance to road test how the two went side by side on the campaign trail.

Other than that the only vaguely interesting bit was The Opportunities Party leader Gareth Morgan saying the by-election would be a litmus test on whether the party stood in the general election. It's a silly litmus test - Geoff Simmons was hardly well known there.

Like a school sports day, it was reduced to being about participation rather than competition.

The only real ramification is that Labour can now bring Raymond Huo I'm to address its atrocious lack of Asian representation. And Ardern doesn't have to risk the ignominy of being beaten by Nikki Kaye in Auckland Central for a third time running.

It was always going to be a tough ask routing Kaye after the year she has had - battling breast cancer and likely a big promotion to Education Minister come May. But Ardern's late shift meant Labour did not have time to recruit another high profile candidate in Auckland Central.

Labour may well have held Mt Albert - but the price could well be losing the chance to win Auckland Central.

There may well be a payback for National over its own no-show. Come Election Day, its voters in Mt Albert may well remember this most boring of days, think stuff them if they couldn't be bothered and give their vote to Jacinda Ardern instead - a reward for participation if you like.

That is unlikely.

It is more likely those voters will wake up in the morning, hear who the new MP is if they can be bothered checking the news, roll over and go back to sleep.

Nothing to see here in the 'burbs of Mt Albert.

- NZ Herald

Get the news delivered straight to your inbox

Receive the day’s news, sport and entertainment in our daily email newsletter

SIGN UP NOW

© Copyright 2017, NZME. Publishing Limited

Assembled by: (static) on production bpcf03 at 27 Apr 2017 15:33:39 Processing Time: 581ms