Ardern named Labour leader

Central Leader - - SITUATIONS VACANT - TRACYWATKINS

Jacinda Ardern says Labour is about to ‘‘run the cam­paign of our lives’’ in her first me­dia con­fer­ence as the new leader of the Labour Party.

Ardern was voted in as leader af­ter Andrew Lit­tle’s sud­den res­ig­na­tion on Tues­day morn­ing. Kelvin Davis was the party’s new deputy leader.

She said she was look­ing for­ward to the chal­lenge of the elec­tion cam­paign, talk­ing to re­porters shortly af­ter mid­day.

Ardern said she and the party would take 72 hours to take stock of where Labour was at.

‘‘I will bring a dif­fer­ent stamp to this cam­paign,’’ Ardern said, and high­lighted ‘‘re­lent­less pos­i­tiv­ity’’ and a clear vi­sion for New Zealand.

She said there was no Plan B - they were fo­cussed on the elec­tion.

Ardern laughed, and said that she had just ac­cepted the ‘‘worst job in pol­i­tics’’ at very short no­tice.

She paid trib­ute to Lit­tle, say­ing he was first and fore­most loyal to Labour. She thanked him for his ‘‘in­cred­i­ble’’ work over the last few years.

Labour’s new deputy leader had the quick­est shower of his life this morn­ing when he got a call at 4.30am say­ing he needed to be on a flight in Kerik­eri in two hours’ time.

Davis had planned to be up north on Tues­day morn­ing but got told he needed to be in Welling­ton.

He was un­sure about what would hap­pen with the fact he’s not on Labour’s party list in the elec­tion. All of the Labour MPs in Maori seats took them­selves off the list earlier this year.

But it could be awk­ward if Mana Party leader Hone Harawira won the Te Tai Tok­erau seat off Davis and he didn’t have the list as a back-up.

Lit­tle re­signed at a cau­cus meet­ing of Labour MPs in Welling­ton on Tues­day morn­ing.

The move fol­lowed rev­e­la­tions Lit­tle had con­sulted his col­leagues on whether to step aside over new polling show­ing the party sink­ing to a record low re­sult.

Lit­tle said as leader you had to take re­spon­si­bil­ity and he did. The polls were show­ing a de­clin­ing trend.

‘‘I do take re­spon­si­bil­ity and be­lieve that Labour must have an op­por­tu­nity to per­form bet­ter un­der new lead­er­ship through to the elec­tion.’’

Af­ter an­nounc­ing his res­ig­na­tion Lit­tle said Ardern had his full back­ing, ahead of the vote which con­firmed her as the new leader.

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