'Never had a moment's regret': Andrew Little remembers the day he stepped aside for Jacinda Ardern

Three years on from giving up the Labour Party leadership, Andrew Little says he's "never had a moment's regret".

At this point in the 2017 election campaign Labour was facing its worst defeat in decades, going as low as 24.1 percent in the Newshub-Reid Research poll in the last week of July.

In that same poll, Little's preferred Prime Minister polling of 7.1 percent had already fallen behind Jacinda Ardern, who scored 8.7 percent.

Little stepped aside to make way for Ardern on August 1, 2017, which gave the party an immediate boost in the polls. Though beaten by National in the party vote at the election in September, Labour had clawed back enough votes to put together a coalition with New Zealand First, backed by the Green Party. 

"Three eventful years ago today I nominated my mate @jacindaardern to succeed me as leader of the mighty @nzlabour party," Little tweeted on Saturday morning.

"The whole world can see why I've never had a moment's regret. Proud to keep moving with you boss."

He ended the tweet with a heart emoji and a picture of the pair hugging.

Since becoming Prime Minister, Ardern has earned global recognition for her responses to crises such as the Christchurch terror attack and the COVID-19 pandemic. She also found time to have her first child with partner Clarke Gayford.

In the most recent Newshub-Reid Research poll, Ardern polled 60.8 percent as preferred Prime Minister, nearly three times the support for new National Party leader Judith Collins.

She has been criticised however for apparent failures to act quickly to punish misbehaving members of her own caucus, such as Clare Curran.

Little went on to handle a number of ministerial portfolios, including Justice, Workplace Safety, Treaty negotiations, New Zealand's intelligence services and the Pike River re-entry. He is ranked seventh on the party's list for 2020.