2017 New Zealand Labour Party leadership election

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New Zealand Labour Party leadership election, 2017
← 2014 1 August 2017
  Jacinda Ardern, 2018.jpg
Candidate Jacinda Ardern
Popular vote Unopposed

Leader before election

Andrew Little

Elected Leader

Jacinda Ardern

The New Zealand Labour Party leadership election 2017 was held on 1 August 2017 to choose the next Leader of the New Zealand Labour Party. The election was won by Deputy Leader and Mount Albert MP Jacinda Ardern.


Labour leader Andrew Little had led Labour since 2014 and after several low polling results announced his intention to retire from the leadership following intense media speculation.[1] According to Ardern, Little had previously approached her on 26 July (her birthday) and stated he thought she should take over as party leader, as he was of the opinion he couldn't turn things around for Labour. Ardern said she had refused, telling him to "stick it out".[2]


As Ardern was the only officially nominated candidate, she was universally elected as party leader and took over Little's role as Leader of the Opposition as well. Kelvin Davis was then elected unopposed as deputy leader filling the vacancy caused by Ardern's elevation.[3] At 37, Ardern became the youngest leader of the Labour Party. She is also the second woman to lead the party after Helen Clark. Ardern's tenure as leader began just eight weeks before the 2017 general election, and at a press conference following her election as leader, she said that the forthcoming election campaign would be one of "relentless positivity".[4]


Immediately following the announcement that Ardern had been elected leader, Labour was inundated with donations by the public, at their peak reaching NZ$700 per minute.[5] Ardern's election was followed by a spate of positive coverage from many sections of the media, including international outlets such as CNN,[6] with commentators referring to a 'Jacinda effect' and 'Jacindamania'.[7][8] Labour also rose dramatically upon Ardern's elevation to the leadership; by late August they had risen to 43 per cent in the Colmar Brunton poll (having been 24 per cent before the leadership change) as well as managing to overtake National in opinion polls for the first time in over a decade.[2] In the last week of the campaign, the party dropped in the polls, and achieved second place behind National in the preliminary results of the 23 September election. However National did not secure a majority, leaving New Zealand First as kingmaker, which negotiated with both parties about a coalition agreement. On 19 October 2017, it was announced that Labour had formed a government with New Zealand First and the Greens, and making Ardern Prime Minister.

Andrew Little was later lauded by Labour supporters for putting aside his personal ambition to allow Ardern to lead Labour, which saw a swift reversal of fortunes. His decision was labelled a "selfless masterstroke" and he was praised for his integrity and selflessness.[9] He was then elected as a Cabinet Minister by the Labour caucus following Labour's formation of a government.[10]

See also


  1. ^ "Andrew Little's full statement on resignation". The New Zealand Herald. 1 August 2017.
  2. ^ a b "Little asked Ardern to lead six days before he resigned". The New Zealand Herald. 14 September 2017.
  3. ^ Trevett, Claire (1 August 2017). "Jacinda Ardern elected as new Labour leader". The New Zealand Herald.
  4. ^ Eleanor Ainge Roy in Dunedin. "Jacinda Ardern becomes youngest New Zealand Labour leader after Andrew Little quits". The Guardian. Retrieved 13 January 2018.
  5. ^ "Donations to Labour surge as Jacinda Ardern named new leader". The New Zealand Herald. 2 August 2017. Retrieved 7 September 2017.
  6. ^ "'All bets are off' in New Zealand vote as 'Jacindamania' boosts Labour". CNN – CNN. 1 September 2017. Retrieved 1 September 2017.
  7. ^ Peacock, Colin (3 August 2017). "'Jacinda effect' in full effect in the media". Radio New Zealand. Retrieved 16 August 2017.
  8. ^ Roy, Eleanor Ainge (10 August 2017). "New Zealand gripped by 'Jacindamania' as new Labour leader soars in polls". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 13 September 2017.
  9. ^ "Andrew Little – he is the real hero say supporters". The New Zealand Herald. 20 October 2017. Retrieved 20 October 2017.
  10. ^ "Who's in? Who's out?". Radio NZ. 20 October 2017. Retrieved 20 October 2017.
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