Jenna Lynch: Chris Hipkins has changed the game, and election 2023 is going to be dynamite

ANALYSIS: Losing a leader can be incredibly destabilising, but Labour has flipped that from fiasco to fortune. 

A smooth transition with the benefit of a much-needed reset has put Labour back in the game - but it had to be the right person. 

Chris Hipkins is Labour's saviour. An affable chap who has immediately swivelled his party out of its spiral by being a bit real, a bit relatable, and a bit reliable. 

But top points for political masterstroke must be given to Jacinda Ardern for masterminding a clean changing of the guard. Her timing was perfect, giving Hipkins the best possible honeymoon opportunity. 

A note about the timing of this Newshub-Reid Research poll. We went into the field on Sunday - as soon as Hipkins was confirmed as leader by the Labour Party and polled through to Friday night, so this is a perfect snapshot of people's initial reaction and gut feeling toward Hipkins. They like him, but it obviously then doesn't take into account his response to the Auckland flood crisis. 

History tells us new leaders do usually get a bump and Hipkins should not take this result with any form of complacency. His true test is whether he can keep Labour up near 40 percent.

Over the coming weeks, Hipkins will properly make his mark on this Government with the policy purge to refocus, and you'd think some sparkly new ideas to show what he's made of. 

His reshuffle - pegged for this week - gives him the opportunity to show off a 'new look' Government. 

Hipkins first entry in the preferred Prime Minister rankings at 19.6 percent is above Christopher Luxon's first go, so he'll be pleased with that. When Sir John Key stood down Sir Bill English scooped up all but about 12 percent of Sir John's fans in the preferred PM race too - though he scored 25 percent as Sir John was polling much higher, 

Hipkins is also not at a phenomenon level. Ardern's first rank as Labour leader was 26.3 percent and her election to leader led to a 9 point poll bump for Labour. 

But in the head-to-head, it's one metric that will be hard for Luxon to turn around: Trust. 

Leadership is all about trust and Hipkins and Luxon aren't even in the same ballpark here - National should be worried about that result. 

This poll is a tectonic shift in the political centre of gravity. Labour is in front, somewhere they've not been for a year now. 

Chippy has changed the landscape. Decision 2023 is going to be dynamite.

Jenna Lynch is Newshub's Political Editor.