Labour's deputy leader Jacinda Ardern has begun her new job by taking up the cudgels on behalf of Generation X over National's plan to raise the age of Super.
Labour's caucus unanimously endorsed Ardern as the deputy this morning after veteran Annette King agreed to step aside to make way for the popular Auckland-based MP.
Labour leader Andrew Little said Ardern would take a different role to King, describing Ardern as the "voice of a generation" he said National had neglected.
Ardern kicked off by taking aim at Prime Minister Bill English for his plans to raise the age of Super for those born after June 1972 — the middle of the so-called Generation X. Ardern was born in 1980 — the cusp between Generation X and Y, or the Millenials.
Ardern said that meant her generation would be carrying the cost of English's failure to save for superannuation by continuing contributions to the Super Fund — the same generation that saw universal student allowances replaced by student loans.
"That's already the generation who have paid for their own education, and who are looking at not being able to buy their own homes as well.
[English] has essentially said that it's my generation that are going to pick up the tab."
Ardern's rival Gen X'er, National MP Nikki Kaye, said Ardern's stance was a change from the past when Labour had supported an increase in the Super age.
"It disappoints me in terms of Labour. If you look at statements made even by people like Jacinda Ardern, they were very clear that they thought that the age needed to be raised.
So they have flip-flopped massively."
Ardern disputed that, saying her stance had always been that Super had to be affordable, and that would have been possible had the Super Fund payments continued.
She said it was not a question of pitting Baby Boomers against Generation X. "It's about acknowledging what the Baby Boom generation had access to and that they care very much about how their children and grandchildren are affected by policies like this.
"So I don't think this has to be a generational war, but an acknowledgement of what's gone before and which generation is carrying the burden into the future."
Little said Ardern would offer a different style of deputy. Although it was yet to be decided whether both of them would feature on billboards or the back of buses, Ardern would be a "campaigning deputy" rather than the administrator in the back office.
Little will also conduct a mini-reshuffle of his team, which he expected to finalise today.
Ardern said she had asked to keep her Childrens' portfolio.