The incredible rise of Jacinda Ardern

Labour leader Jacinda Ardern has led the party to an incredible comeback.

Just seven weeks before the election, Ms Ardern was selected to lead the Labour Party. Several major polls were showing the party's popularity under former leader Andrew Little sinking to 24 percent.

Mr Little asked her to take over, a caucus meeting was called and all of sudden New Zealand had a new leader of the opposition.

Ms Ardern's popularity was almost immediate, helped along after she sternly took on The AM Show host Mark Richardson over whether it's acceptable to ask women of their baby plans during job interviews.

It is "totally unacceptable in 2017" to ask women about baby plans, she said, pointing her finger in an iconic moment that helped rocket her into news bulletins across the world.

Ms Ardern on The AM Show.
Ms Ardern on The AM Show. Photo credit: Newshub.

Almost as soon as Ms Ardern took power, the party rose in the polls to a final result of 36.9 percent.

It increased its seats from 32 to 46, its highest election result in 12 years.

Ms Ardern's strong start softened as the campaign progressed and she went head-to-head with vastly experienced National counterpart Bill English across three televised leaders debates.

Behind her "let's do this" catchcry, Ms Ardern defended her alternative budget against National claims of a $11.7 billion "fiscal hole".

Before Labour's change in leadership, those voters not backing National appeared to be turning to minor parties the Greens and NZ First, with both sitting on 13 percent in Newshub's July poll.

But Ms Ardern's rise in popularity has seen voters turn away from minor parties and back Labour instead.

Final results had the Greens on 6.3 percent, nearly halving its seats won in 2014.

NZ First was less affected by Labour's rise, losing two seats and ending up on 7.2 percent.

National lost four seats but remains the party with the single largest bloc of votes.

It will be a formidable party in opposition.