Jacinda Ardern was today elected unopposed as Labour's new leader after a caucus meeting following Andrew Little's decision to step down.

Speaking publicly for the first time since the announcement, Ardern says, "We are about to run the campaign of our lives".

Read her full statement here:

"I want to start by giving my thanks to Andrew. His announcement today and the situation we have found ourselves in is not what anyone expected or wanted
In my time working with Andrew I know one thing to be true. He is first and foremost loyal to Labour, and I thank him for the support he gave me to work alongside him and for his incredible work over the last few years; a sentiment caucus expressed to him also.

Following Andrew's announcement, I was nominated to be Leader of the Labour Party. My nomination was unanimously accepted. Kelvin Davis was nominated as deputy, and this too was unanimously accepted.

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The circumstances may not be what Labour has planned for this campaign, but that has not weakened my resolve or focus. Or my team's. We are determined and steadfast, and I consider myself incredibly lucky to now call myself Leader, and equally fortunate to work alongside someone as committed and talented as Kelvin.

This team is about to run the campaign of our lives. Yes, we are an optimistic nation, but when you work at the coal face of politics, you have the chance to see every single day that as a country, we can do better than this. We can be better than this.

As a party, we have huge aspirations for New Zealand. A place where everyone has a roof over their head and meaningful work, where education is free and good ideas flourish, where children live surrounded by creativity not poverty, and where we build a reputation as world leaders on environmental issues.

At stake is the chance to build a New Zealand that is better than we found it. And to build a future to look forward to.

I will use the next 72 hours to reflect and take stock of the campaign plan, and additional policy announcements I would like to add to our programme. You will hear more from myself and the team on this in the future, but you will have no doubt over the agenda Labour is presenting this election. We will be positive, organised and ready.

I am privileged and honoured to be Leader of the Labour Party. I am looking forward to the challenge of the election campaign where I will get the opportunity to talk to New Zealanders about Labour's plan for a better and fairer New Zealand. This is what Labour has always stood for and under my leadership, will continue to stand for and fight for."