Jacinda Ardern the new NZ Labour leader as Little steps down
JACINDA Ardern has been elected unopposed as Labour's new leader after a caucus meeting following Andrew Little's decision to step down.
Kelvin Davis has been elected as deputy leader and is believed to be the first Maori to hold that post in the Labour Party.
It follows a turbulent week for Labour in which three polls puts its support in the low 20s - and Little stepped down from the job, saying he had to take responsibility for the result.
Little put Ardern in as his deputy in a bid to help raise Labour's fortunes, saying she appealed to the younger generation and was a valuable asset in Auckland.
However, Ardern's polling as preferred Prime Minister swiftly overtook Little's own. In the latest Newshub Reid Research poll she was on 8.7 per cent to Little's 7.1 per cent.
She featured in most of Labour's campaign advertising.
On Sunday, Little had revealed he had raised the prospect of standing down with senior colleagues but they had urged him to stay.
The fallout from that admission effectively resulted in his decision to do.
Previously, Labour leader Andrew Little has quit as Labour leader and endorsed his deputy Jacinda Ardern to take over.
His announcement paves the way for Ardern to step up into the top job just seven weeks before the general election. She has scheduled a press conference for midday.
Little made his announcement after a brief meeting this morning, saying the party would be "better served" by a new leader.
"I have just confirmed to the Labour caucus that I will step aside as leader of the Labour Party," he told reporters at Parliament this morning.
"There is no question that the poll results that came out last week were disturbing and very, very disappointing.
"In the end, as leader, you have to take responsibility. And I have, and I do."
Little said he remained "utterly determined" to get Labour into power in the September election. He said he would stay on as an MP at least until then.
"But it became pretty clear that the story around those polls was building a narrative day after day that meant we have not been able to get our messages about the things that actually matter.
"I take responsibility for that and it is my judgment that the people and the party who we are campaigning for will be better served by a new leader who can bring a fresh face and a fresh voice to this vital campaign."
Little said he expected Ardern to be nominated as leader, and said "she will have my 100 per cent backing". He had not considered whether he would be her deputy.
His announcement came just an hour after he said he would not resign and did not expect to be challenged for the job.
Little denied he had a last-minute change of heart, saying he had said "nothing about stepping up, stepping down, going around".
Asked whether he had lost the confidence of his caucus, he said it had been very supportive and that it was ultimately his choice to stand down.
Little said it had been a privilege to lead Labour, and he "only had good memories" of his time in charge.
"Please do not ruin them," he told reporters.
It follows two days of turmoil after a string of bad polls and Little's admission he had asked senior colleagues if he should step down.