Jacinda Ardern, former Young Labour president and political advisor, was elected president of the International Union of Socialist Youth – a group encompassing socialist, social democratic and Labour Party youth organisations from more than 100 countries, in January 2008.
Ardern has been the Member of Parliament (MP) for the Mount Albert electorate since 8 March 2017; she was first elected to the House of Representatives as a list MP at the 2008 general election.
“Do it for all of us,” the UK Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn, recently urged her, reflecting the hopes of Labour supporters inside and outside New Zealand.
“I am certainly going to try to keep positive momentum for the progressive movements from around the world,” says Ardern, when asked if she has been passed the torch from Corbyn and Bernie Sanders.
Helen Clark protege
After graduating from the University of Waikato in 2001, Ardern began her career working as a researcher in the office of Prime Minister Helen Clark. She later worked in the United Kingdom as a policy advisor to British Prime Minister Tony Blair.
Ardern became a list MP in 2008, a position she held for almost ten years until her election to the Mount Albert electorate in the 2017 by-election, held on 25 February. She was unanimously elected as Deputy Leader of the Labour Party on 1 March 2017, following the resignation of Annette King. Ardern became Leader of the Labour Party on 1 August 2017, after Andrew Little resigned from the position following a historically low poll result for the party. She is credited with increasing her party's rating in opinion polls. In the general election of 23 September 2017, the Labour Party won 46 seats (a net gain of 14), putting it behind the National Party, which won 56 seats. After negotiations with National and Labour, the New Zealand First party chose to enter into a minority coalition government with Labour, supported by the Greens, with Ardern as Prime Minister.
Born in Hamilton, New Zealand in 1980 Ardern grew up as a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Morrinsville and Murupara, where her father, Ross Ardern, worked as a police officer, and her mother, Laurell Ardern, worked as a school catering assistant. She studied at Morrinsville College, where she was the student representative on the school's Board of Trustees. She then attended the University of Waikato, graduating in 2001 with a Bachelor of Communication Studies (BCS) in politics and public relations.
Ardern was brought into politics by her aunt, Marie Ardern, a longstanding member of the Labour Party, who recruited the teenaged Ardern to help her with campaigning for New Plymouth MP Harry Duynhoven during his re-election campaign at the 1999 general election.
Ardern joined the Labour Party at the age of 17, and became a senior figure in the Young Labour sector of the party. After graduating from university, she spent time working in the offices of Phil Goff and of Helen Clark as a researcher. After a period of time in New York City, where she volunteered at a soup kitchen and worked on a workers' rights campaign, Ardern moved to London where she became a senior policy adviser in an 80-person policy unit of then-British prime minister Tony Blair. She did not meet Blair in London, but did question him about the invasion of Iraq at an event in New Zealand in 2011. Ardern was also seconded to the Home Office to help with a review of policing in England and Wales.
Ardern’s life operated around politics from that point on, and even affected her decision to study Communications and International Relations at Waikato University.
“The idea of getting a student loan and having to pay interest while I was still at university and being burdened with this massive debt just seemed wholly unfair to me, and it influenced what I studied and even where I studied.”
By this stage, Ardern was already a Labour Party member, encouraged into the party at age 18 by ideological compatibility on a multiplicity of issues.
“It was a collection [of issues] really...I remember just the little things that I noticed and I made a connection between them and politics, which is sometimes the linkage that we don’t always make when things effect our lives.”
Ardern campaigned as a list MP in London for the 2008 election, primarily as a way to increase enrolment among ex-patriates rather than as a bid for parliament.
“I don’t know that at the beginning I had any real expectations.”
But a 5 am phone call in August last year heralded a career change, after she secured number twenty on the party list.
“I remember being slightly dazed and not quite believing it and thinking I was in a dream still.
“[I remember thinking] barring an absolute catastrophe in the election I was going to be an MP. That was quite an unusual feeling sitting in my room in Brixton...not wanting to wake up any of my flatmates, and sitting there taking in the enormity of it all.”
Upon election, opposition leader Phil Goff promoted Ardern to the front bench, naming her Labour's spokesperson for Youth Affairs and as associate spokesperson for Justice (Youth Affairs).
Ardern contested the seat of Auckland Central for Labour in the 2011 general election, standing against incumbent National MP Nikki Kaye for National and Greens candidate Denise Roche. Despite targeting Green voters to vote strategically for her, she lost to Kaye by 717 votes. However, she returned to Parliament via the party list, on which she was ranked 13th. Ardern maintained an office within the electorate while she was a list MP based in Auckland Central.
After Goff resigned from the Party leadership following his defeat at the 2011 election, Ardern supported David Shearer over David Cunliffe. She was elevated to the fourth-ranking position in the Shadow Cabinet on 19 December 2011, becoming a spokesperson for social development under new leader David Shearer.
Ardern stood again in Auckland Central at the 2014 general election. She again finished second though increased her own vote and reduced Kaye's majority from 717 to 600. Ranked 5th on Labour's list Ardern was still returned to Parliament where she became Shadow spokesperson for Justice, Children, Small Business, and Arts & Culture under new leader Andrew Little.
Ardern put forward her name for the Labour nomination for the Mount Albert by-election to be held in February 2017 following the resignation of David Shearer on 8 December 2016. When nominations for the Labour Party closed on 12 January 2017, Ardern was the only nominee and was selected unopposed. On 21 January, Ardern participated in the 2017 Women's March, a worldwide protest in opposition to Donald Trump, the newly inaugurated president of the United States. She was confirmed as Labour's candidate at a meeting on 22 January. Ardern won a landslide victory, gaining 77 per cent of votes cast in the preliminary results.
Following her win in the by-election, Ardern was unanimously elected as deputy leader of the Labour Party on 7 March 2017, following the resignation of Annette King who was intending to retire at the next election. Ardern's vacant list seat was taken by Raymond Huo.
On 1 August 2017, just seven weeks before the 2017 general election, she assumed the position of leader of the Labour Party, and consequently became leader of the Opposition, following the resignation of Andrew Little. Little stood down due to the party's historically low polling.Ardern was unanimously confirmed in an election to choose a new leader at a caucus meeting the same day.
Ardern's election was followed by a spate of positive coverage from many sections of the media, including international outlets such as CNN, with commentators referring to a 'Jacinda effect' and 'Jacindamania'.
After Ardern's ascension to the leadership, Labour rose dramatically in opinion polls. By late August they had reached 43 per cent in the Colmar Brunton poll (having been 24 per cent under Little's leadership) as well as managing to overtake National in opinion polls for the first time in over a decade. Detractors noted that her positions were substantially similar to those of Andrew Little.
The Labour and Green parties' proposed water and pollution taxes also generated criticism from farmers. On 18 September 2017, the farming lobby group Federated Farmers staged a protest against the taxes in Ardern's hometown of Morrinsville. New Zealand First leader Winston Peters attended the protest to campaign, but was jeered at by the farmers because they suspected he was also in favour of the taxes. During the protest, one farmer displayed a sign calling Ardern a "pretty Communist". This was criticised as misogynistic by former Prime Minister Helen Clark.
Preliminary results from the general election indicated that Labour received 35.79 per cent of the vote to National's 46.03 per cent. After special votes were counted, Labour increased it's vote share to 36.89 while National dropped back to 44.45. Labour gained 14 seats, increasing it's parliamentary representation to 46 seats. This was the best result for the party since losing power in 2008. After the election, Ardern and deputy leader Kelvin Davis negotiated with the Greens and New Zealand First parties about forming a coalition, as the rival National Party lacked sufficient seats to govern alone. Under the country's mixed-member proportional (MMP) voting system, New Zealand First held the balance of power and was, therefore, able to choose the party that would lead a coalition government
"Capitalism has failed"
"Belt and Road"
Marching with Beaumont
Living Wage support
Lyndy McIntyre January 30, 2018 ·
FIRST Union comrades
Dennis Maga September 19, 2017 ·
Kirk Legacy Seminar
The Labour Party will formally acknowledge the work of Sir Owen Woodhouse at a presentation at the Kirk Legacy Seminar to be held at Auckland Girls Grammar School on Saturday, November 3rd, announced Paul Chalmers, Labour Party Regional Reresentative.
"We are honoured to have Sir Owen at the Kirk Legacy Seminar. "Norm Kirk ensured that when the scheme started under his government, it was true to Sir Owen's original proposal". said Andrew Little. "This a moment in time when we can reflect on the on both the contribution of both Kirk Government and one of its finest achievements, ACC."
The Kirk Legacy Seminar is being held to commemorate the achievements of the Kirk Government of 1972 - 1975. Speakers include Bob Harvey and Hamish Keith, biographers Margaret Hayward and Dave Grant, commentator Colin James, Green MP Kennedy Graham, Labour MPs Jacinda Ardern and Nanaia Mahuta, Historian Gerard Hill, and Rev Bob Scott and lecturer Mike Law, Panelists Bob Tizard, Judy McGregor and Chris Trotter.
Socialist Campaign Manager
Piet Ubels February 25, 2017 ·
Congratulations to Jacinda Ardern for your massive win in the Mt Albert by-election! I'm stoked to have had the opportunity to contribute to such an awesome team that helped make this happen. — with Brendon Lane, Kirk Serpes, Jeremy Greenbrook-Held, Jacinda Ardern, Analiese Jackson and Britt Robyn.
Also, says Ardern, the great thing about being active in IUSY was that a decade on, "some of my friends are ministers around the world. I've got friends in Italy, in Denmark, in South Africa, who are now in office."
MUNZ was pleased to offer a warm welcome to Jacinda Ardern, Labour leader and Prime Minister of New Zealand, at our November National Council Meeting.On November 1st 2017, she was joined by the new Minister for Workplace Relations, Iain Lees-Galloway. A constructive discussion took place about the changes to come.
Cuba embassy connections
“Welcome 10,000 Now”
By Tom Peters 23 September 2015. A few hundred people attended a rally in central Auckland on Saturday, entitled “Welcome 10,000 Now,” to demand that New Zealand accept 10,000 more refugees.
In response to an outpouring of public support for refugees fleeing war in the Middle East, the National Party government recently agreed to accept a so-called “emergency intake” of just 600 extra refugees on top of the country’s annual UN quota of 750. This quota has not been raised in nearly 30 years and is the 87th lowest in the world.
A diverse audience including students, workers and former refugees from many parts of the world attended the protest at Aotea Square, which raised funds for the Auckland Refugee Council. It followed demonstrations the previous week in Wellington, Christchurch and many smaller centres, which called for an increase in the refugee quota.
However, the most significant aspect of the rally, from a political standpoint, was the cynical role played by its main organiser, Socialist Aotearoa. While professing concern for refugees and occasionally mouthing socialist phrases, this middle class pseudo-left organisation supports US intervention in Syria. It has echoed the positions of similar groups internationally, including the US-based International Socialist Organisation, Socialist Alternative in Australia, the New Anti-Capitalist Party in France and the British Socialist Workers Party (with which Socialist Aotearoa is politically affiliated).
A spokesperson from the group Syrian Solidarity New Zealand, Abdul Elah, was invited to address the Auckland rally to argue for direct military intervention in support of these reactionary forces. This group, which has received a large amount of media attention, has made numerous calls for “humanitarian” intervention.
Elah dismissed suggestions that ISIS bore any responsibility for the crisis in Syria, which he blamed entirely on the Assad regime. He called on the “international community and the United States [to] please make a no fly zone.”
Elah’s speech amounted to a plea for similar intervention in Syria. This was greeted with a call for applause by Socialist Aotearoa leader Joe Carolan, who added: “Never in the course of history have so many people been abandoned. It’s disgusting, we should be furious about what’s happening there.”
Carolan gave a warm welcome to opposition Labour Party MP Jacinda Ardern and Green MP Marama Davidson, who he introduced as “speakers from the left.” The MPs were allowed to shamelessly posture as supporters of refugees, while Carolan declared it was “great to see Labour here” and hailed Davidson as “an MP for the people and the social movements.”
with guests poet Whaitiri Mikaere, Chilean refugee and poet Esteban Espinoza, musicians The Neo-Kalashnikovs, Jack and Jenny Lange, and MANIC SEEDS, Paul Brown and Folk the Quota, Green Party MP Marama Davidson, Labour Party MP Jacinda Ardern , Arabian refugee Mustafa Steve, Bosnian social justice activist Emir Hodzic, Syrian Solidarity Abdul Elah and Kareana Kee, NZ Kurdish Society Sarkawt Abdullazada and Laila Saber , Abann Kamyay Yor, General Manager of Auckland Refugee Community Coalition and Sudanese Refugee, Michael Kidd- lawyer for family of Ioane Teitiota, eco refugee from Kiribati facing deportation, Tobi Muir and Kumbirai Makwindi-Jafa Mafia Sound System, Sharmin and Payman, Kurdish refugees and members of Shakti Youth Ambassadors Network, Unions Auckland Rachel Mackintosh, Chris Sullivan, Catholic Deacon, Fala Haulangi, SFWU and Tuvaluan Eco-refugees, Hela Rahman, Iraqi community, Billy Hania NZ Palestine Solidarity Network, Jeremy Randerson, Mana Movement, Joe Carolan Socialist Aotearoa, Mike Treen Unite Union, Anu Kaloti Migrant Workers Association of Aotearoa, Dennis Maga UNIMEG / First Union, Albert Barr Citizens Resistance, Gary Cranston, Climate Justice Aotearoa, Sunny Sehgal EPMU, and Sirpa Gunn Auckland Refugee Council. Art and street theatre by Front Line Arts Collective .
Facebook September 28, 2018:
- [http://thestandard.org.nz/ardern-to-lead-iusy/ The standard, Jacinda Ardern to lead IUSY Written By: ALL_YOUR_BASE - Date published: 1:59 pm, January 31st, 2008]
- [Duff, Michelle. Jacinda Ardern: The Story Behind An Extraordinary Leader. Allen & Unwin. p. 70.]
- SCOOP, Scoop's Meet The New MPs Project: Jacinda Ardern Wednesday, 14 October 2009, 5:15 pm Article: Amanda Fisher