Patrick Gower: Deputy Jacinda is Labour's best move in years

OPINION: Jacinda Ardern's anointment as deputy leader is the best leadership move I've seen Labour make.

It is so good I actually thought it would never happen.

It is logical. It was pretty much bloodless. I didn't think Labour was capable of that.

I thought Annette King would be harder to move than Mt Albert itself. I didn't think King would see sense. I didn't think Andrew Little would have the guts to push the issue.

I didn't think Ardern would be prepared to go over the top. I thought Labour's MPs would be either too jealous - or too scared - to push it.

The Labour Party usually acts bizarrely over leadership decisions, leaving ten-fold more self-inflicted wounds than what it sought to fix.

But not this time.

Putting Ardern into the role with six months to go till a general election shows one thing: Labour wants to win.

It is a ruthless move, just like the high list spot for Willie Jackson (to block him from going to the Maori Party, and them getting a seat) and Greg O'Connor in Ohariu (a right-ish candidate to get rid of Peter Dunne, with help of the Greens standing aside).

Little is struggling to get cut-through with the public. In contrast, Jacinda Ardern has massive cut-through. So much has been written about why Labour needs her, it is all so obvious.

And if Ardern will do one thing, it she will amplify the "vibe" on the Left.

The Labour-Green alliance started the year with a good vibe and Ardern's rise to deputy leader will take it up a level.

She represents a new generation and a new style of politics. The Labour grassroots love her (and so do the Greens).

It is pretty much a fait accompli - I doubt anyone is foolish enough to challenge Ardern for the role before next Tuesday's caucus vote, and if they do - they will lose.

The key question is this - will Ardern make a difference to Labour's fortunes? The answer: she already has, and she hasn't even started in the job.

Ardern's appointment is all about the vibe. There are still huge questions about her substance and the Labour-Green substance, but the vibe is all good. 

A final word for Annette King - Labour to the end, every decision she has ever made has been for the good of her party. Not many politicians can retire saying that.