Thakur Ranjit Singh
Among others, this means turning around a rudderless and crippled ship in such a short lap of time. Has this phenomenon ever been achieved before? No? Never? Impossible? Unhistorical?
Either you have a short memory, or were not even born when it happened.
JACINDA ARDERN: Next Prime Minister of New Zealand will bid farewell to Bill English from the 9th Floor Prime Minister's Office in the beehive in Wellington.
What caused this miracle for Labour? Australia was going through some tough economic times in early 1980s. At the time of proposed election in 1982, the economy suffered from high inflation, industrial disputes and high unemployment, accompanied by a prolonged drought.
Opposition Labour Party then was led by Bill Hayden. Similar to New Zealand situation, they were also going through disputes, infighting, disunity and instability. A faction of Labour Party wanted to roll Hayden as party leader in favour of Hawke. Prime Minister Fraser was well aware of the disunity in Labour, and took advantage of this by calling a snap-election.
He prematurely dissolved parliament and called for election on 5 March, 1983, unaware that Hayden had resigned and was replaced by Hawke. Under leadership of Hawke, Labour Party reassembled, realigned and recovered. It gained its lost territory, credibility and support. They surprised all political pundits. On the election night, Labour Party experienced a massive swing and wrested back power.
Time Magazine of 14 March, 1983 ran the following self-explanatory story:
Voters bet on a chummy, charismatic new leader
Barely a month ago, was Robert James Lee (Bob) Hawke, 53, a fledgling parliamentarian with a mediocre record as his party's spokesman for industrial relations. Last weekend he was elected Prime Minister of Australia, leading to victory a listless, often divided Labour Party that has held power for just three of the past 34 years. Hawke and his Labourites ended the 7½-year reign of Incumbent Malcolm Fraser and his Liberal/ National Party coalition.
Now, let us compare this 1983 Australia situation to 2017 election in New Zealand.
Leadership in Labour Party in NZ took place just some seven weeks before the election. The party had been going through instability and uncertainty since departure of Helen Clark - they failed to anchor the party with any leader since she left. Political good-fortune eluded them and they were in a free-fall with National Party gearing up for a historic fourth-term as the government.
And then a miracle happened! Very admirably, Andrew Little made a Hail Mary Pass to Jacinda Ardern in a smooth, non-controversial and unanimous leadership change. And as they say, rest is developing into a history.
The unsung hero and Queen-maker, Andrew Little who abdicated to ensure a doze of oxygen for Labour Party, by relinquishing leadership to Jacinda Ardern.
The resulting Jacindamania positively echoes one cheer from her re-assembled Millennials- a knockout punch on the election night, with Ardern in driver’s seat.
The meteoric rise for Ardern is contrasted by a drop in support for National, their desperate negative campaigning, and boring Bill , contrasted by Ardern’ s positivity and charisma.
They say, you get a government and leader you deserve: It is Ardern's positivity versus English's lies, scaremongering and dirty -campaigning.
The sceptics who consider this as a mammoth task for Labour Party in general and Jacinda Ardern in particular, are correct. However it is not impossible, and very probable, considering the tell-tale signs already evident. And this is backed by historical precedent. And it will happen again.
Jacinda Ardern - the Queen that Andrew Little help make
Jacinda Ardern will execute a Bob Hawke stroke on Bill English, to floor him on the count- thanks to Andrew Little"s Hail Mary Pass.
But will happen to Bill English?
For those of you who have seen "Back to the Future" should know that this would be second defeat for him on his run to be an elected Prime Minister. They will appreciate this NZ Herald cartoon.
Hence, for Bill English, it is back to the....
[Thakur Ranjit Singh is a political observer, a media commentator and journalist. He runs his blog, FIJI PUNDIT, and lives in Auckland]