Jacinda Ardern's plan to put a 'different stamp' on the Labour leadership

Te Kāea

Jacinda Ardern is Labour's new leader following the resignation of former leader Andrew Little. For the first time in the party's history, a Māori has been elected to the party's deputy leadership.

Labour's golden girl Jacinda Ardern is the fresh face of the party leadership and has already set out her plans to put a "different stamp" on the campaign in the wake of Andrew Little stepping down.

Within an hour on Tuesday morning Little had announced he was resigning from the top job and Ardern and her deputy, Kelvin Davis, had been unanimously voted in by caucus as the new leadership team.

Ardern and Davis fronted media, flanked by the party's front bench MPs, where Ardern laid out her plans to run a campaign full of "relentless positivity" backed up with a promise to "run the campaign of our lives".

The fresh faces of the Labour leadership, Jacinda Ardern and deputy Kelvin Davis, will lead a campaign full of ...
GETTY IMAGES

The fresh faces of the Labour leadership, Jacinda Ardern and deputy Kelvin Davis, will lead a campaign full of "relentless positivity'' over the next seven weeks.

Ardern's star has been on the rise since winning the Mt Albert by-election earlier this year and within days being named the new deputy leader of the party after Labour veteran Annette King stood aside.

READ MORE:
What are Labour's new leaders Jacinda Ardern and Kelvin Davis all about?
Labour pins its hopes on a new top team - and a honeymoon for Ardern
The Andrew and Jacinda show - has anything changed?

The party had been in a state of panic since Sunday night when a new poll revealed Labour's support had dropped to 24 per cent followed by another poll on Monday showing it had dipped to 23 per cent - an all time low.

Labour leader Andrew Little stood down on Tuesday morning but his deputy, Jacinda Ardern, who now has the top job says ...
PHIL WALTER/GETTY IMAGES

Labour leader Andrew Little stood down on Tuesday morning but his deputy, Jacinda Ardern, who now has the top job says there will be a Minister role for Little in a Labour-led government.

In the wake of the disastrous polling Little dropped the bombshell that he had considered stepping down as leader and didn't think he could credibly form a government on 24 per cent.

That set the wheels in motion for a leadership change and on Monday night it became clear Ardern and Davis were emerging as the favourites.

Pressure had been building on Little to step down but it was also made clear to him that Ardern wouldn't force a vote. However his position had become untenable as it was obvious his caucus had lost confidence in him.

STUFF

Andrew Little steps down as Labour leader and is replaced by his former deputy Jacinda Ardern.

Little cancelled all of his media slots on Tuesday morning and headed to Parliament to tell his colleagues he was calling time on his leadership and in a press conference shortly after he endorsed Ardern for the position.

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In her first press conference as Labour leader Ardern thanked Little for his "incredible work" over the last couple of years and said the situation the party had found themselves in this week was "not what anyone expected or wanted".

She said the party's focus on inequality and housing would continue but there would inevitably be a few new things she would concentrate on over the course of the next seven weeks - the country goes to the polls on September 23.

Ardern, who was oozing confidence but at times also defensive, told media she could credibly lead a government on 24 per cent.

Asked whether she thought she could handle the job of prime minister, Ardern shot back, "I've been the president of an international youth organisation that had members from Lebanon, Palestine and Israel - I think I can do this".

Taking on the new gig so quickly had left her no time to give her family a heads-up - her partner, presenter Clarke Gayford, had only received a Facebook message.

New deputy leader, Davis, is a Maori firebrand well known for his solid work in the Corrections portfolio, in particular highlighting allegations of fight clubs in prisons, which ultimately led to a private prison operator losing their contract and the then-Corrections Minister Sam Lotu-Iiga losing his job.

Davis, Labour's Te Tai Tokerau MP, brings a different take to the leadership, including huge mana in the Maori community and a hard-nosed approach to politics.

The 50-year-old is the first Maori deputy leader, something he acknowledges is "long overdue" and it was finance spokesman Grant Robertson who nominated him for the job.

Robertson and Ardern are very close - the pair ran on a joint ticket in the last leadership race, which Little ultimately ended up winning.

It's expected Robertson will stay in the finance role, which will be crucial support for Ardern and Davis, neither of whom have held a finance or economic portfolio.

THE POLITICAL ONE-LINERS OF THE DAY

Jacinda Ardern

"I like single malts" - her message to NZ First leader Winston Peters

"Everyone knows that I have just accepted - with short notice - the worst job in politics."

"Stuart has already acknowledged to me that he was wrong" - her response to Labour MP Stuart Nash saying the party would be doomed if Andrew Little stood down.

"I used to be the president of an international youth organisation that had members from Lebanon, Palestine and Israel. I think I can do this." - her response to whether she has the goods to lead a government.

"There will be nothing blancmange about this campaign."

Kelvin Davis

"Besides good looks and charm and a taste of Ngapuhi?" - his response to what he brings to the leadership team.

"I got a joking text from one of them to me saying 'thanks for keeping me in the loop Dad'." - the speed of the leadership change meant he didn't get a chance to tell his daughters before it broke in the news.

"I had the quickest shower of my life" - plans to be in Northland on Tuesday went out the window when Davis got a call at 4am telling him to get to Wellington.

 - Stuff

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