New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern faces tough challenges as she heads into a general election campaign next year, with economic growth slowing, divisive referendums looming and a country reeling from disasters both natural and man-made.

Two years since she became the world's youngest female leader, Ardern remains hugely popular overseas thanks to her compassionate but decisive response to a mass shooting, her appearances on high-profile U.S. chat shows, and her ability to combine motherhood and leadership.

But the reality back home is a little different, with Ardern and her Labour Party's popularity slipping in opinion polls as voters worry her government has not yet made good on promises including tackling rising levels of homelessness and urban poverty.