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Jacinda Ardern’s popularity plummeted this year. Things could get worse in 2023 | Jacinda Ardern

“Bring it Jacinda Ardern Addressing party members at the Labor Party’s final meeting before the next election in early November, he told a cheering crowd.

In the weeks that followed, the political headwinds accelerated. Recession predictions, stubbornly high inflation, public fear of crime, tough polls and a persistent pocket of anti-government conspiracy theorists dominated the news cycle. It was brutal for a progressive leader who dropped to some of the lowest polls of her political career.

Death of Jacindamania

Ardern outside Parliament in Wellington after the 2017 swearing-in ceremony
Ardern outside Parliament in Wellington after the 2017 swearing-in ceremony. Photo: Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images

The last poll in 2022 put Labor at around 33%, compared to 38-39% for the centre-right National Party. These results are among the lowest in Ardern’s leadership and represent a setback in the bleak direction of the polls. Labor Party When she first took over in 2017, I was hooked.

At the time, the party’s bets on talented but relatively inexperienced MPs paid big dividends.Ardern’s leadership was shrouded in a zeal called “Jacindamania” that controlled the fate of the party. 20% points And he led Labor to victory in the 2017 coalition elections, which a few months ago was hard to believe.

Her clear communication and progressive credentials earned her international acclaim and presented a compelling liberal foil in an era ruled by Donald Trump, Jair Bolsonaro and Boris Johnson. , her popularity skyrocketed in New Zealand and abroad, boosted by her. Responding to a series of crises and the strength of Covid response in the country.

Internationally, its star power endured – But domestically, the prime minister’s popularity is steadily declining. This time it’s a known amount, with a decidedly less optimistic public behind her.

Prime Minister Ardern greeted Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin (left) in Auckland in November.
Prime Minister Ardern greets Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin (left) in Auckland in November. Photo: Diego Opatowski/AFP/Getty Images


The biggest driving force behind Ardern’s slides is mostly out of her control. A series of economic waves will likely continue to haunt voters well into an election year. New Zealand’s Reserve Bank keeps inflation at her 7.2%. announced plans to engineer A “shallow recession” in 2023 is meant to pull the country out of the inflationary cycle. Banks have already raised their official discount rates, Boosting Homeowners’ Mortgage PaymentsGasoline prices started to skyrocket in the middle of the year, and food costs are rising 10.7% annually.

Many of these have been deployed around the world, but knowledge of the broader context seems unlikely to win over New Zealanders.

“You can explain inflation and external forces, but they have no effect on voters. Every time you fill up your car, every time you get chi. [food]they are looking at their situation and their government,” says Shane Te Pow, a political commentator and former Labor Party official.

A closed clothing store in Shannon, North Island, New Zealand, January 2020
A closed clothing store in Shannon, North Island, New Zealand, January 2020. Photo: Murd MacLeod/The Guardian

As the success of the Covid response fades from immediate memory, people are becoming more and more pessimistic. From a high of 70% in early 2021, he began tracking to 30% in early 2021 in a poll on whether people “think the country is moving in the right direction.” end of the year. This loss of trust is worse than any voter’s preference for any party or leader, and poses serious problems for the current administration.

But as New Zealanders and opposition politicians become increasingly obsessed with economic issues, the Ardern government is teeming with other policy priorities.

“People’s attention is focused on their finances. They are very concerned about what is happening to their jobs, how much it will cost them to pay off their mortgage, buy groceries and petrol.” Ardern. “And they expect the government to show the same laser focus they’ve been feeling.”

Instead, he said, “the government has tried to do a lot of things, but they have not been able to explain it all.”

Ardern emerged from COVID-19 restrictions, and the intensity of pandemic governance delayed a backlog of policy projects. His overcrowded 2022 schedule includes complex reform projects to address greenhouse gas emissions, resource management, water governance, a proposed merger of public broadcasters, and an ailing health and criminal justice system. It was

Few of these reforms are uncontroversial, and governments often struggle to communicate the purpose of their projects, says Dr Lara Greaves, a political scientist at the University of Auckland. increase.

“It should be fairly easy to sell something that would require rebuilding the water infrastructure,” she says. “We have seen them pressed for time because of their policy schedules…but [those reforms] It’s never been sold to the public in such a way that you can understand why it’s needed. ”

Restoring strength will require sacrificing some of these policy goals to bring back New Zealanders who are now primarily concerned with the cost of living and the economy, Jones says.

Ardern has already acknowledged this, announcing that in 2023 it will scale back its policy to focus on the economy.

“Toxic Note”

Protesters against government plans to tax livestock emissions in Wellington in October
Protesters against government plans to tax livestock emissions in Wellington in October. Photo: Marty Melville/AFP/Getty Images

Next year’s election campaign could also pose new challenges, especially for left-wing parties that have been targeted by fierce opposition groups. new zealand politicssays Te Pou.

Pockets of dissatisfaction with the Covid response and vaccine mandates have become the core of conspiratorial anti-government sentiment, sometimes violent. Protesters occupied the parliament lawn for weekscalled for the prime minister to be hanged on the gallows, rioted, set fires, vandalized public facilities, and threw bricks at police.

Even after the protesters were wiped out, some affiliated groups were seething. Abuse and Intimidation of Politicians According to police reports, several men have been charged with making repeated violent threats against Ardern. Such an environment could represent a sharp change from the dynamics of past campaigns, where the prime minister was crushed by crowds at his events and shopping his malls in the community.

“2022 was a year of big changes in our politics,” says Jones. “I think the 2023 campaign will be very different from previous campaigns. New Zealand’s traditionally relaxed and casual democracy, where citizens are more accessible to politicians, poses too many security risks. .”

A year is a long time in politics, although recent polls predict the formation of a national law coalition. New Zealand’s tight coalition-based elections are known to take unexpected turns. According to Greaves, so far the policy offered by the National is thin and lacks detail, so it remains to be seen whether what they propose will resonate with New Zealanders. Some of ‘s star power may have worn off, but Te Pou says the skills that propelled her to her former heights are still there. But she’s still a great communicator.”

If she can effectively turn those skills into an economic storm, Jones says she may still be able to shave off another shot at governance.

“Part of Jacinda Ardern’s success in communicating through Covid was that it had a singular focus. She was able to send a clear message to New Zealanders about their plans to get out of it. “I think that’s going to be the kind of strength that Jacinda can count on to win a third term.”

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/dec/24/jacinda-arderns-popularity-plummeted-this-year-things-could-get-worse-in-2023 Jacinda Ardern’s popularity plummeted this year. Things could get worse in 2023 | Jacinda Ardern

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