In changing leaders less than two months out from the election Labour has revealed its concern is not with winning but with not losing too badly.

Its immediate goal is not to beat National but rather to win back the votes lost to the Greens and New Zealand First.

That noted, Labour could still win government this election.

Labour will enjoy a bounce with a new leader and Ardern's honeymoon could carry her through to election day.
Her press conference after her rise to leader showed her to be extremely capable and politically adroit, not something that can readily be said about her recent predecessors.


It will all depend on Winston Peters. He's set to be kingmaker.

I have seen hopeful comments from National Party supporters that Peters would never make a young woman of limited experience Prime Minister and his boss.

I am not at all sure of that.

There have been all manner of criticisms levelled at Peters over the years but rigidity has never been one of them. I can see him doing it. Such commentary also misses an obvious win-win. Since Ardern first arrived in Parliament she has been clear she didn't want the job of Prime Minister. Peters has never wanted anything else. Problem solved.

Peters has the advantage of being more experienced than Labour's entire front bench combined. He wins on seniority and experience.
Ardern has a long political career ahead of her and plenty of chances to get the top job once Peters has had his full.

Labour and the Greens won't like having Peters as Prime Minister of "their" Government, but the alternative is another three years in Opposition. It should be an easy rationalisation.

They also know Peters will be the most hands-off Prime Minister New Zealand has ever enjoyed. Ministers will be able to get on with the job as long as they don't screw up.

It's hard to see National agreeing to make Peters Prime Minister. Its man is practised and experienced. After nine years, it won't want to share power. It would be better off to have a term in Opposition, let the Peters Government implode and come back even stronger.


I would have counselled against changing leaders eight weeks out.
I now see it as inspired and just the circuit-breaker Labour needed.

It was a courageous move by a party not noted in recent years for its courage. There's an odds on chance we will have Prime Minister Winston Peters, then Sir Winston Peters. And then Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.

Don't feel too sorry for Andrew Little.

The political circumstance he found himself in was such there was a good chance he would not even make it to Parliament this election.

There is now a good chance he will be a senior cabinet minister through having resigned in favour of his Deputy.

Politics is a wonderful thing: it's never over and MMP throws up weird and wonderful combinations.