I was in one of Sydney’s gayest suburbs, Newtown, when the words ‘vote no’ appeared in the sky above my girlfriend and I.
There was something quite confronting about being somewhere so open-minded yet having the ambience of hate hanging in the air as a backdrop to our morning coffee.
In late-July 2017, two months prior to New Zealand’s general election, its Labour Party recorded an historically awful poll result: its 23% popularity was roughly half that of its National Party rival.
By August 1, Jacinda Ardern had replaced Andrew Little as Party leader. Her campaign – based around a promise to address major challenges in the areas of housing, child poverty, water quality and climate change – had a dramatic impact on the Party’s fortunes, and Labour’s final election result was 37%. (Note, though, that support for the centre-left Labour-Green bloc increased by a more modest amount: from 38% in late July to 43%. And National’s election result (44%) was an improvement on its late-July number.)
With the support of New Zealand First, Ardern is now Prime Minister: an outcome that seemed highly unlikely at the end of July.
Continue reading Peter Skilling: Jacindamania 2017, hope & fear on the campaign trail