David Shearer. Photo Getty
Rumours are circulating again about the role Helen Clark
had in moves to roll David Shearer as Labour's leader just
before he resigned to pre-empt a motion of no confidence.
Helen Clark was in New Zealand the week before Mr Shearer
resigned on August 22 and there was speculation she had
discussed the need to change the leader with some MPs during
Yesterday it was also revealed party president Moira
Coatsworth and general secretary Tim Barnett had travelled to
Waihi to meet her at her father's house in the week before Mr
Shearer stepped down.
Mr Barnett, who was a Labour MP when Helen Clark was PM,
confirmed the trip but said it was usual to meet when she was
"It would be a regular thing to do. She asked for an update
on what was happening in the party. Nothing more than that."
Asked if they discussed Mr Shearer, he said it was
"incidental to everything else really".
"She just wanted to get an update on what was going on ... ."
He said he had not known there were moves afoot to unseat Mr
Helen Clark does get to vote on the leadership but has not
publicly endorsed any of the three contestants, although
David Cunliffe has said he was optimistic he had her vote.
As the MPs firm up behind their choices, Grant Robertson
appears to have the edge in support in Labour's caucus with
at least 12 MPs firmly pegged down and another four likely to
vote for him. Mr Cunliffe has nine MPs confirmed in his camp,
and one likely to opt for him.
Mr Jones has five possible votes in the caucus and could also
pick up Meka Whaitiri, who is undecided but whose local
electorate members are urging her to back Mr Jones. He is the
only Maori candidate and was very close to her predecessor,
the late Parekura Horomia.
David Parker and Andrew Little are yet to give a commitment
to any of the contenders. The Labour Party's Maori branch has
endorsed Mr Jones for the role.
It is understood the Dairy Workers' Union has issued a
non-binding recommendation to its delegates in favour of Mr
Labour's candidates were last night in Tauranga and will be
in Hamilton tonight before the rest day tomorrow.
Who's backing who
The numbers at the mid-point of Labour's leadership campaign:
Jacinda Ardern, Maryan Street, Phil Twyford, Trevor Mallard,
Megan Woods, Kris Faafoi, Darien Fenton, Clare Curran, Chris
Hipkins, Annette King, Phil Goff. Likely: Ruth Dyson, Clayton
Cosgrove, David Clark, Raymond Huo.
Moana Mackey, Lianne Dalziel, Nanaia Mahuta, Louisa Wall,
Iain Lees-Galloway, Sue Moroney, Carol Beaumont, Su'a William
Sio, Likely: Rajen Prasad.
Rino Tirikatene. Likely: Damien O'Connor, Ross Robertson,
David Parker, Andrew Little, Meka Whaitiri.
- Claire Trevett of the New Zealand Herald