Local elections: Jacinda Ardern defends Labour endorsing defeated mayoral candidates, says it's not sign of 2023 election results

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is not convinced, a swing to the right in local elections is a sign of what might be to come for the Government at the 2023 election. 

The Labour Party openly endorsed Efeso Collins in Auckland and Labour MP Paul Eagle in Wellington but both were beaten in their mayoral races at the weekend.

Auckland on Saturday elected Wayne Brown as Mayor, with official results showing Brown received more than 144,619 votes, while Collins sat with 89,811.

In the Capital, the preliminary results showed, Tory Whanau won with 34,510 votes compared to incumbent mayor Andy Foster who received 15,024 votes. Ray Chung was third with 14,331 and Eagle in fourth with 12,436.

Ardern told AM on Monday it's hard to make a straight comparison between local and central politics.

"I've never really drawn those straight comparisons for New Zealand in local and central elections and in part because people just don't run on those party tickets in the same way," she told AM co-host Ryan Bridge. 

"Yes, you might have endorsed candidates, but it's just not been the historic nature of local government that they go out and run on party tickets. The other point I would make is if you take Auckland for an example, you've often had those differences in leadership at any given time." 

Ardern referred to former National and ACT MP John Banks, who was Auckland Mayor during Helen Clark's reign and former Labour leader Phil Goff who was Mayor of New Zealand's biggest city during National's last tenure in power.

The Prime Minister said she's never tended to read anything into the local election results. 

"So even when you had Auckland and the Super City consecutively, elect progressive mayors, I didn't necessarily draw a comparison of what that would then mean for central government," Arden told AM. 

"Now, that's not to say we don't look across the country about different issues that are being raised in different agendas that different councils will have. 

"It's not to say that, of course, we don't observe that we work closely with local governments, so we hear those issues. But it's another thing entirely to say this therefore will predict what happens in a central government election."

Ardern said she'll work with all mayors whether they agree on everything or not. 

"Our approach has always been because, of course, local councils are elected by the local communities, MPs are elected also by their local communities, so actually the best thing we can do is work hard together," she said. 

"That's something we've actually been really focussed on as a Government. 

"We haven't always agreed, but we have always worked hard to try and work together … The most important thing for the people we represent is that we do our best to find consensus and to work together."

Watch the full interview with Jacinda Ardern above.