In just over a month, party’s youthful, confident new leader has transformed its moribund poll position and put it in serious contention to win the election

There’s no doubt Jacinda Ardern taking over as leader is the best thing that has happened to New Zealand Labour in a long time, with its polling surging by 19 points in just a month as the phenomenon dubbed “Jacindamania” grips the country. There are the T-shirts, the tote bags with her face plastered on them, the “Let’s do this” slogan, and the memes flying around social media – but underlying all this is a serious groundswell of support.

Ardern, 37, the youngest person to lead the party, has taken a crash course in leadership and passed, so far, with flying colours. Just seven and a half weeks out from the 23 September general election, Andrew Little resigned as Labour leader after its lowest ever poll result of just 24 points.

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