Jacinda Ardern, Chris Hipkins and Grant Robertson; Getty Images
Opinion

Tova: Election predictions - Scenario No.2: What if the Labour Party loses

Although Christopher Luxon's had a bit of a shocker over the last couple of weeks, Jacinda Ardern would be a fool to rest on her laurels. 

Even though he hasn't been very good at sentences, communication or policy clarity, Luxon is the most formidable foe yet. 

And when bundled with myriad recent Government failures, a confluence of really difficult situations - like Ukraine, rising youth crime, China - and a general appetite post-COVID for change, 2023 is Ardern's election to lose. 

Come September/October next year, the political career of either Jacinda Ardern or Christopher Luxon is over. That's massive.

Grant Robertson

The Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister is the obvious successor in a John Key/Bill English kind of way.

He's not Labour's Deputy Leader - that's Kelvin Davis - but when he ruled himself out of the Deputy PM role, he kind of scuppered any real chances of being PM. 

Fairly certain he doesn't want it. 

Robertson on the other hand wants it. Happy to stand at the shoulder of his dear friend Jacinda Ardern and quite genuinely play the role of loyal deputy, but the second her job is up for grabs, make no mistakes he will take ruthless pursuit. 

There is absolutely nothing about Robertson that says he couldn't do the job and he's proven that whenever he steps in as Acting PM. He's incredibly smart, very hardworking and funny - check out some of his general debate speeches if you don't believe me. 

Like Ardern he can be a bit dictatorial and despite being very charming and likeable in real life, he risks coming across as thinking he's a bit smarter and better than those he's talking to. Condescension isn't a nice quality in a leader. 

He's tried before and somehow David Cunliffe beat him. That's not a great omen, but there was a nasty smear campaign about his sexuality which was gross and I'm fairly certain the country's moved on from that nonsense. 

I rate Robertson's chance of taking over the leadership at 50 percent.

Chris Hipkins

Chris Hipkins; Getty Images Chris Hipkins; Getty Images

The COVID response minister may very well give him a run for his money. Hipkins has proven himself during the pandemic. He rivals Ardern levels of clear communication and unlike Ardern he's willing to own any mistakes. 

His handling of that magnificently botched press conference recently was masterful - mea culpa with a bit of self-depreciation and good humour. 

He can take that a bit far and come across a bit dorky like rinsing the 'spread your legs meme' for every last chuckle, but people don't mind a bit of dorky in their MPs. 

A good safe pair of hands, I rate Hipkins' chance of taking over the leadership at 39 percent.

Kiritapu Allan

Allan's name often comes up in chats about the leadership and rightly so. She's very very good, intelligent, extremely dedicated and an all-round lovely person. She won hearts and minds with her advocacy for women's health from her treatment bed for cervical cancer. 

But Allen's got a way to go yet on the executive front. Great at grassroots, great on issues-based politics, but since becoming minister she's allowed some of her natural sparkle to be tarnished, worried she might say the wrong thing or step out of line. If she gets a bit more comfortable and gains confidence, she should be able to better pivot and flex in her communication. 

Until then I rate Allen's chance of taking over from Ardern at about 12.7 percent.

The rest of the pack

Andrew Little; Getty Images Andrew Little; Getty Images

And that's about it. Andrew Little and David Parker both get honourable mentions because they're really good and have what it takes on paper, but they've both also done the job and didn't quite have what it took IRL. 

So chances are around 2.3 percent respectively.