New Zealand Election: Will Labour Ride Jacindamania to Victory?

Gordon LaForge

Two weeks ago, New Zealand’s general election was on track to be anything but exciting. The National Party, led now by Prime Minister Bill English, has shepherded the country through eight years of steady, uneventful post-crisis growth. And two weeks ago it appeared certain Kiwis would hand stodgy-but-safe National another mandate. The party was polling a full 20 points ahead of the opposition Labour Party.

Then on July 31, Labour leader Andrew Little announced he was resigning and leaving the party in the hands of Jacinda Ardern, making the 37-year-old MP the party’s youngest leader ever. The sudden change so close to election day — coupled with Ardern’s youth, charisma and reputation for authenticity — turned a boring race thrilling overnight.