After the shock resignation of former Labour Leader Andrew Little and the promotion of the newly crowned saviour of left wing politics, Jacinda Ardern, Labour had one small problem. They had already put their billboards up.
Across the country, fenceposts and walls had been plastered with the big red hoardings, boasting their, now outdated, slogan ‘A Fresh Approach’, peculiarly juxtaposed with a picture of Andrew Little, the most drab and dreary political leader in recent memory. In perhaps a foreboding move, Jacinda Ardern was featured alongside Little. This went against tradition for New Zealand political hoardings, which traditionally only feature the party leader and the local candidate.
Because the leader was replaced with less than seven weeks to go until the election, printing new hoardings and getting them erected quickly was expected to be a major drain on party funds. This was quickly resolved after donations started pouring in.
‘The Ardern Effect’, as it was dubbed by the media, drove $250,000 in donations in just \two days after she was made party leader.
Labour Campaign Manager for Dunedin North Jarred Griffiths said his volunteers took down “about 50” hoardings from the electorate. “It doesn’t take us too long to take down hoardings and put them up, we’ve got an amazing team of volunteers”.
The party wanted to find a way to put their old signs to good use. Labour South Dunedin was contacted by the Dunedin Curtain Bank, who said they planned to use the unwanted signs to make DIY pelmets, a narrow strip of cloth-covered material, which can be fitted along the top of a window to conceal the curtain fittings and keep out drafts of cold air.
Griffiths says the Dunedin North electorate is also planning ways to ensure their signage is put to good use. “We haven’t given any away yet, we’re planning on waiting until the end of the campaign so we can get rid of all of them in one go. We’ve got a couple of organizations we have historically given them to – mostly early childhood centres who use them for arts and crafts. But if any other organisations have a use for them, we ask them to sing out. It’s all about upcycling.”