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.
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.
Parliament’s youngest MP, who, at 28, has been involved with the Labour Party for 10 years, embarked on a political career when she introduced trousers to her school uniform as Board of Trustees representative.
“At the time it affected me and my cold legs on a daily basis...sometimes these are political acts but we don’t see them in a political way.”
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.”
Political activity in New Zealand continued until after the 2005 election, when Ardern upped sticks to New York to try her luck – she freely admits that life for her “moves in electoral cycles”.
After running out of money in New York, Ardern secured a job in the United Kingdom working for Cabinet. This led to her campaigning 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.”
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.
Facebook September 28, 2018:
Jacinda Adern with Daraka Larimore-Hall.
- [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]
- SCOOP, Scoop's Meet The New MPs Project: Jacinda Ardern Wednesday, 14 October 2009, 5:15 pm Article: Amanda Fisher