Jenna Lynch: From Meme Minister to Prime Minister - can Chris Hipkins do this?

ANALYSIS: Chris "Chippy" Hipkins the affable Upper Hutt daggy dad will be New Zealand's 41st Prime Minister. 

His greatest advantage is his name recognition - Kiwis remember well the 'lad' episodes of the 1pm COVID briefing - the Chris and Ashley Show. One episode in particular, ahem. 

But there is more to the man than memes. 

Chris Hipkins was Jacinda Ardern's clean up guy - swooping in to take the reins from incompetent ministers and run point on problem portfolios. She handed him health during a pandemic, crime during a ram raid spree. 

But at his heart Hipkins is a political animal. He's been Leader of the House and can command Question Time. He is a quick thinking debater. He is an astute reader of public opinion. His political instincts are top notch. 

However that could pose a risk in itself - political creatures run the risk of twisting to the whim of the Wellington bubble. 

That's why the deputy role is crucial. Auckland needed to claim that title. 

The word is it would be very surprising if the role did not go to Carmel Sepuloni. 

Kiri Allan has confirmed to Newshub she is not putting herself forward for the job.

Carmel Sepuloni ticks every box. She is based in West Auckland, she's Pasifika, she has managed to keep the sometimes tricky Social Development portfolio out of the headlines. 

Also, according to sources, Sepuloni is well-liked in the caucus - she has the right drive and confidence to be an effective MP and minister but comes without the naked ambition to be the leader that so many politicians possess. 

She's trustworthy.

Labour insiders say Kiri Allan has made the right call not to run for the deputy role - it's wise to wait for her time. 

Labour has done well to run a mature process - with a sole candidate. I'm told behind the scenes there's been no scuttlebutt, no horse trading, just a desire to get on with it. 

That was the best case scenario. And now Chris Hipkins can get on and do this. 

Jenna Lynch is Newshub's Political Editor.