New Prime Minister Hipkins is currently getting a free ride with the bored media trying to promote him as an appealing fresh new broom. He’s anything but that.
Take the invention of a hitherto unheard nick-name “Chippy”, this to induce a likeable character, “one of the chaps” flavour. It won’t work and never has.
When Keith Holyoake first ascended to high office the Nats tried to have him dubbed Kiwi Keith. It never took on and they ultimately abandoned it.
His successor Jack Marshall was marketed as “Gentleman Jack”. He was conspicuously gentlemanly but only had 10 months as PM before being ousted in 1972, then rolled by Rob Muldoon a year later. Note no-one ever accused Rob of being gentlemanly.
Popular Prime Ministers are invariably referred to by their Christian name, until that is, as is inevitable in politics, their popularity turns to disdain.
Muldoon was immensely popular with two thirds of the public from 1974 until 1979 and was widely known as Rob, despite offensive Labour attempts to dub him “Piggy”, this based on his appearance.
Helen Clark was always “Helen” up until, as is unavoidable, the electoral tide turning and in her last term she became “Clark”. John Key was “Jonky” with many folk. But no Prime Minister since the war copped as much public affection as Jacinda (remember her?) once the Covid crisis arose. She was always Jacinda, that is up until mid 2022 when the gradual dawning on the public finally sank in of the government’s excesses and incompetence. Then Jacinda became Ardern and the public respect turned to contempt.
The current “Chippy” attempt is down-right embarrassing and frankly infantile.