Labour is well and truly back in the election race! The latest Newshub-Reid Research poll has been heartening – it indicates that Labour stands a good chance of forming the next government and getting more MPs into Parliament. However, it doesn’t become reality until September 23, once the votes are cast.

The poll is especially heartening for those of us in marginal seats. I’m standing in Maungakiekie, which is a bellwether seat. Since the first MMP election in 1996, Maungakiekie has always been won by the party that forms the government. Labour’s surge in the polls, coupled with National’s slow but steady descent, bodes well for a Labour victory in Maungakiekie. This would also be a victory for the Kiwi-Indian community. I understand it would be the first time in New Zealand’s political history that a candidate of Indian origin wins an electorate seat.

So what’s the Jacinda effect that has taken the country by storm and pushed us up in the polls?

This isn’t just about personality politics. Although it’s true that Jacinda is extremely relatable, I believe it’s more than that. She represents pretty much everything people want in a leader. A leader with integrity, who has a vision for a progressive country, is intelligent, articulate and filled with energy and compassionate. She is strong. In her first week as leader, she established that she can stand her ground and make tough decisions. She inspires people with her politics of hope; her vision for a fairer New Zealand and with the plan to implement it.

That’s where Labour’s policies come into the picture. The plan to implement the vision. This election is about policy as much as it is about the leader. Labour has been campaigning on the issues that matter most for many months. Out on the campaign trail, people want to talk about how the housing crisis affects them. Many talk about the health system that is becoming inaccessible to many – as a doctor put it recently the government cannot keep asking them to do more with less (referring to the underfunding of the health system) without there being an impact on people’s lives. Others are concerned that crime is on the rise and that Auckland is increasingly gridlocked.

Labour has the policies to fix those issues. After nine years of a National-led government, there is an appetite for change. This election, people should vote for the party that has a clear vision for New Zealand’s progress, a solid plan to implement them and a leader at the helm who inspires and articulates that vision well. This election is our chance to build a better, fairer New Zealand for all of us.