Labour MP David Cunliffe says he will decide over the
next few days whether to have a further go at getting the
Labour leadership, after David Shearer's resignation from the
job after failing to get traction in the polls.
On the way into Parliament minutes after Mr Shearer's
announcement today, Mr Cunliffe said he had "made no
decisions'' about his own plans to run for the job and had
learned of Mr Shearer's decision only at the caucus meeting
called just before it was publicly announced. Mr Cunliffe
lost to Mr Shearer in the runoff for the job after the 2011
"I've made no decisions. I'll be consulting with party
members, my LEC [electorate committee], supporters and I'll
make up my mind over the next few days.''
Mr Cunliffe is regarded as having low levels of support in
caucus, but the party's membership and union affiliates now
have a vote which could be enough to override the caucus
Mr Shearer's deputy leader Grant Robertson said he would not
comment until after Question Time. He was not at Mr Shearer's
side when Mr Shearer made the announcement - a sign Mr
Robertson is considering running for the job.
Last year David Cunliffe was demoted by Mr Shearer after the
party's annual conference, at which Mr Cunliffe repeatedly
refused to express his support for Mr Shearer. Mr Cunliffe
said today that he wished Mr Shearer well. ``He's made the
very best contribution.''
Andrew Little, another MP regarded as having leadership
aspirations, also refused to rule out trying for the role but
said he had given "no thought'' to the matter.
"These are long, drawn out affairs sometimes.''
Mr Shearer was a man of "honour and integrity" in a difficult
job, Mr Little said.
"It's really hard for us all that it should end in this
Asked if it was damaging for the party to be facing another
leadership change, he said: "Leadership contests are never a
good thing for a party. That's just the reality of it.''
However, Labour's finance spokesman David Parker, who had
withdrawn from the leadership race in 2011 to boost Mr
Shearer's chances against Mr Cunliffe, said he would not put
his name forward again.
Former leader Phil Goff also ruled out another tilt.