Jacinda Ardern

As all things new come to dominate New Zealand's political landscape, National will be forced more quickly than it hoped to confront its own need for change. Tonight's poll offers succour for the party, but tolls the bell for Bill.

The first poll of the year confirms the over-arching narrative of New Zealand politics since the election and follows some pretty typical trends. But it raises a few curly questions too, mostly about new generations.

Social democracy is in trouble. Social democratic parties have been annihilated in Greece, reduced to a shadow in France and struggle in Scandinavia. Corbyn in Britian and Sanders in the United States have support but can't get elected. Can New Zealand Labour show that it is not only possible to form a government but also to save social democracy? 

Social democrats like to do good. That is why they seek to be in government. They can use the resources of the state to improve lives. 

The announcement by Jacinda Ardern and Clarke Gayford that they will be parents this year for the first time suggests a Rubicon is about to be crossed. Some progress has been made toward women being able to be mothers and in paid employment but there is some way to go.  Given Ardern and Gayford's prominence they may be about to make the tectonic plates of our society shift. 

Imagine a world that is organised so that we took it for granted that mothers could be in paid employment. It is easy - but you do have to try. 

Jim Anderton has died at a time when the party he fought for, then walked out on, looks more like him than it does his erstwhile opponents.

Jim Anderton's final victory comes in the words of tribute from the leaders of the party that once famously "left" him and the sincerity with which they have claimed him as one of their own; a face once more on the Labour totem pole. Through much of the 1990s while he was bitterly attacked by Labour leaders - Helen Clark included - such tributes were impossible to imagine.

Incumbency is the super power every politician craves, yet this oddly muted new Labour-led government doesn't seem to have figured out how to use it yet. This week's mini-Budget is now crucial if it wants to position itself as a truly transformational government

It's such a quiet and prosaic tranformation. An undistinguished revolution.