It's not a sound you hear very much from Dear Leader Little's Labour Party - the sound of caucus applause ringing out into the corridor, which given what was happening behind the closed door, was a reason for celebration and commiseration.

They were celebrating the cosmetic surgery being applied to the leadership, the sort of surgery that's eluded Little, the sort that softens his lines, that breaks down what comes across as a brittle exterior.

Even though he'd be the last to admit it, Jacinda Ardern's his political prop to give the leadership a more appealing face, particularly for the young who don't show much interest in politics.

It's an acknowledgement that Andrew Little's leadership wasn't working the way they wanted it to, it needed a new ingredient that'd give it more appeal.


The commiseration was for Auntie Annette King who in a conventional sense was your quintessential deputy, always in the background, never a challenge, cleaning up after the leader and doing the spadework to convince his colleagues that his way was the right way, even though a number of them found what they considered the manure hard to swallow.

Ardern's a different kettle of fish and even though she's not nakedly ambitious, the pronunciation's certainly sounding a bit more like Helen Clark these days, and once she gets a taste of the job and a sniff of power, it becomes hard to resist.

Little was asked what he'd feel like if the opinion polls in the lead up to the election sees his sidekick edging him out in the preferred Prime Minister rankings.

He was emphatic, "there's only one leader of the party, it's me, we're a team and we're campaigning together to win Government on the 23rd of September."

And without prompting, she showed she was a quick learner: "I'm here to see Andrew Little elected as Prime Minister and nothing else."

No need for an apprenticeship there then, which is just as well as it looks as though she'll be his constant companion on the campaign trail with her ample pearly whites, lightening up the Little billboards.

Clearly the hope is, the traditional voter connectivity with the leader will in Labour's case be the connectivity with the leaders.

Perhaps it's time for a television deputy leaders' debate!