Ryan Bridge: Run and hide, Jacinda Ardern

OPINION: When your ship has hit the iceberg and begun slowly sinking, it is not the time to jump in the captain's chair.

It is time to sneak behind the women and children, quietly find a life raft and float away.

Jacinda Ardern would be making a mistake of titanic proportions if she was to heed the advice of some pundits today in replacing Andrew Little as leader of the dogged Labour Party.

That she will lead it into the 2020 election is without a doubt, so why risk making the outcome of your first battle a defeat so bad it's potentially unparalleled in party history?

Look how long it took Bill English to come back from 21 percent in 2002.

But because I'm a reasonable guy, let's pretend for a moment that - despite saying she's supporting Andrew Little - Jacinda does end up taking the reins and Labour does alright on September 23.

Then she's the young, new kid on the playground with Winston Peters dictating terms like the headmaster.

Between her and benefit fraudster Metiria, Winnie would run rings around whatever hodge-podge arrangement could be cobbled together.

In government or not, either outcome would be bad for her and bad for Labour.

Rebuilding might take longer than Labour had hoped, but they've only got their own fractured, ideologically torn party hierarchy to thank for that.

Labour's problems today are not the fault of Little, Shearer, Goff nor Cunliffe (although the latter did little to help matters).

They're the result of infighting between the liberal, urban elite whose control of the party became too strong in the post-Clark years, and the down-in-the-trenches, stand-up-for-the-workers, not-afraid-of-hard-yakka stalwarts that seem to have all but disappeared.

Whatever Labour's problems, whatever its solutions, turning its only asset into a potential liability to save a few points in an election with no real winners would be disastrous.

Ryan Bridge is a former political reporter and current RadioLIVE host. 

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