Labour leader Andrew Little has quit as NZ Labour leader and has endorsed his deputy Jacinda Ardern to take over.
Little made his announcement after a brief meeting this morning, saying the party would be “better served” by a new leader. 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.
“I do take responsibility and believe that Labour must have an opportunity to perform better under new leadership through to the election,” Little said at the press conference. He said that he would stay on at least until the election later this year, and would have to talk to the p[arty about what slot he would have on the list.
Little’s resignation has opened the way for front runners, Jacinda Ardern and Maori MP Kelvin Davis. The pair have been rumoured to be running on a joint ticket as leader and deputy leader respectively.
Ardern, 37, was elected to parliament in 2008. She has since moved up the ranks and became Labour’s youngest deputy leader at age 36, earlier in 2017. She is currently the spokesperson for justice, arts, culture and heritage, children and small business. She’s also the associate spokesperson for Auckland issues.
Backers hope that Ardern that she can bring a new face to the Labour party, and win back votes from urban liberals and women. However her detractors criticise Ardern for achieving little in her time in politics.
Kelvin Davis first entered Parliament in 2008, having previously worked as a principal at Kaitaia Intermediate School. His profile has been boosted in the past term through his efforts to publicise conditions in privately run jails. He has also criticised the Australian government for detaining Kiwis who are awaiting their visa applications, after a 2015 report showed that New Zealanders made up the largest single group in Australian detention centres.
For an exclusive interview with Andrew Little, pick up the September issue of MiNDFOOD on sale Monday 7 August.