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Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has discussed the highs and lows of the 2017 election at the...
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has discussed the highs and lows of the 2017 election at the Auckland Writers Festival. Photo: NZME
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has spoken about her sense of "betrayal" to the electorate that she had formerly contested.

Ardern said this morning that shifting to win the Mt Albert seat - after the departure of former Labour leader David Shearer - felt like a betrayal after years trying to win Auckland Central.

The mitigating factor was that with boundary changes a chunk of Grey Lynn moved too, she told the audience at an Auckland Writers' Festival event.

Ardern was speaking at the event about the weeks leading up to the 2017 election that saw her form a coalition deal with NZ First and the Greens to form a government - against most expectations.

She "felt like it was my fault" that Annette King decided not to contest the 2017 election.

Ardern said that, after Andrew Little suggested she replace him as leader, she said no for four days.

He had said to her - just before she was due to enter the debating chamber at question time - "I don't know if I can do it", meaning turn public opinion in support of Labour before the 2017 election.

She said she pushed back against Little's wanting her to become leader but eventually he didn't give her a choice and made a captain's call.

Political scientist Stephen Levine's book Stardust & Substance was being discussed at the festival.

Asked by writer Toby Manhire what she was reading she said that - other than Cabinet papers - she was reading material in a psychology journal about the aftermath of the deadly Christchurch attacks on mosques two months ago.

The ASB Theatre at the Aotea Centre where she is being interviewed by Manhire was nearly full.

Ardern said she had texted her congratulations to Scott Morrison over his win in the Australian election, but she hadn't had a chance to phone him yet.


What is the point of this statement / new Zealand needs a leader to fix the many problems new Zealand has/ what we get is regular statements stories similar to this. 2019 the government has told us is the year of the delivery . its near the 6th month.

So you expect nine years to be changed in three.

Andrew Little deserves the highest praise for being so modest and insightful. He understood what it would take. And beside that, he seems perfectly (more) happy in his present role. Great respect!

Who is the REAL leader if Andrew Little could tell Ardern to be ‘leader’ whether she liked it or not? Who told Ardern to pull her head in after putting her foot in her mouth talking capital gains tax and risking scaring off investors whose money the NZ economy depends on? In a leadership race between the long-experienced, utterly sincere Sue Bradford and relative newcomer Metiria Turei who did the Green Party membership choose? It was the younger, more conventionally physically attractive one, arguably because of greater perceived media appeal. Sandra Lee was another elected rep who was very attractive, youngish, part-Maori woman when she was ‘kicked upstairs’ to leadership of Mana Motuhake and then co-leadership of the Alliance. But Lee had real political ability. And so did John Key, another ‘pretty face’ or accomplished ‘front person’ and media star. ( Not such a nice guy if you watched him debating in Parliament.)
I will be interested to see how Ardern survives the political spotlight. She sure didn’t get to be where she is on the basis of long political experience.

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