Labour elects Claire Szabó as new party president

Party conferences are usually a well-branded rah-rah love-in for true believers - but for Labour this year, not entirely.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern set the theme in her opening speech by acknowledging her party's failure to properly handle allegations of sexual assault and bullying by a party staffer.

The initial investigation into the complaints this year was botched and it took the Prime Minister six-weeks to properly act - forcing the resignation of then-party president Nigel Haworth.

On Saturday, Labour elected Habitat for Humanity CEO Claire Szabó as its new president to take his place. She steps into the top seat with two inquiries into the sexual assault allegations still underway.

Part of Szabó's pitch to the Labour conference was that she would "deal capably with the upcoming investigation reports", and the party will hope she cauterises some of the problems.

Speaking at the conference, Ardern herself gave a promise to do better - but admitted Labour still isn't there yet.

"Are we there yet? No I can't hand on heart say that but what I do know is everyone is committed to that," she said.

But the party's been saying it's committed to change since the first assault scandal at the Young Labour summer camp nearly two years ago.

On Saturday, Labour MP Poto Williams held a packed, closed-door session about safety in the party for volunteers.

"We know that we can and should be better and I think we're all supporting each other to be the place that we know we should be," Ardern said.

One complainant yesterday told Newshub the new investigation which is still underway is far better, and far more thorough.

"I'm not going to put imposed timelines [in place]," Ardern said.

In our last Newshub Reid Research poll - soon after Haworth quit - we asked if the sexual assault scandal changed the way you think about Jacinda Ardern.

Most - 61.1 percent - said no change. But a quarter of Kiwis - 25.9 percent -  felt more negatively or very negatively towards Ardern. Just 8.2 percent felt more positively.

And broken down, 9.6 percent of Labour voters felt more negatively about the Prime Minister and a quarter of the Greens too.

But Ardern said it shouldn't be about her.

"It should be about those who are involved in this," Ardern said.

Contact Newshub with your story tips: