Patrick Gower: Jacinda Ardern's climate change line an absolute banger

OPINION: Jacinda Ardern delivered one simply exceptional line in her speech today, calling the fight against climate change "my generation's nuclear-free moment".

It is catchy, credible and has cut-through. It is a great line. It is an absolute banger of a line.

It is such a good line it's a surprise it has not been used before.

Yes, it is just rhetoric - but rhetoric is an important political weapon.

The line has a deeper importance because it puts climate change front and centre of "the Ardern agenda".

Combining the line with the powerful anecdote about her father Ross Ardern seeing climate change first-hand in Kiribati took it up another level.

It obviously draws on one of New Zealand's proudest moments and the Labour Party's proud heritage.

But it also reaches out to the generation of younger voters Labour is so desperate to energise.

It's a good politics for Labour because it's a clear point of difference with National, which has a distinct lack of commitment to dealing with climate change.

And it will obviously be immensely worrying for the Greens to see Ardern's powerful voice take centre stage in the climate change debate. It will surely mean more Green votes going Labour's way.

Ardern still needs to flesh out Labour's climate change policy.

But words can be powerful - and today's line has put climate change on the agenda and set down a new dividing line in the fight for power.

Patrick Gower is Newshub's political editor.