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Stardust not faded yet for young leader

Opinion Piece

One month in office and there are no signs that Jacindamania is fading. The new Prime Minister continues to attract crowds of admirers, possibly even above the level John Key enjoyed at the height of his popularity.

A video hugging Lorde at the New Zealand Music Awards going viral, kissing babies and posing for endless selfies at a Grey Lynn festival show the stardust has not faded yet for Jacinda Ardern.

This was also reflected in a Roy Morgan poll showing 53 percent of New Zealanders believe 2018 will be better than 2017, compared with just 31 percent of Australians. Unsurprisingly the local figures showed that 74 percent of Labour voters were positive, 67 percent of New Zealand First voters and 80 percent of Green voters.

There are still 71 days to go in the Government’s demanding first 100 days programme, and there are major challenges ahead, but for now it is all coming up roses.

Things did not do that for the Tongan rugby league team beaten 20-18 by England at a sold-out Mount Smart. They were denied a last-minute try when the video official was not consulted. Tongan Andrew Fifita was adamant he had scored and about 50,000 agreed by immediately signing an online petition asking rugby league officials for a “please explain”. They then proceeded to turn central Auckland red yesterday.

No such dramas for the All Blacks who produced what was described as the best performance of the Europe tour in beating a good Welsh side 33-18, the 30th win in a row against the only other country where rugby is the national sport.

Some are querying the length of the season for our top players but Hansen’s men have rounded out another amazing year, topped off with Beauden Barrett named international player of the year again this morning, and Riko Ioane breakthrough player of the year.

One potential cloud on the horizon came with reports Abu Dhabi, among others, is trying to lure Team New Zealand with a $116m offer for hosting rights to the America’s Cup defence.