Former Labour leadership contender Shane Jones has thrown
his "unstinting support" behind new leader David Cunliffe.
Speaking from his base at the Manurewa RSA after his defeat,
54-year-old Mr Jones said he never expected to win.
"I started this race as an underdog. And I really had a
slightly different mission, which was to jolt our party and
begin to talk in such a way that we made ourselves relevant
again, not just to party members but to voters who seem to
have walked away from Labour.
"And if I've contributed to that narrative than I have no
doubt that I'll be well regarded for that as time goes on."
He said he planned on calling Mr Cunliffe tonight to
congratulate him and the other contender Grant Robertson to
"It has been an invigorating race and the winner David
Cunliffe will have my unstinting support. I have not a doubt
in my mind that unless we unify around our new leader, we run
the risk of losing the momentum that's been built up through
"I realise next year we have a bigger contest, and that's to
take on Prime Minister John Key's Government."
Mr Jones said he would not throw his hat into the ring for
the deputy leadership and would be keen to see a female party
member take up the role.
A small group of about 20 people, including Labour MP Su'a
William Sio, had gathered in support, helping themselves to
drinks and nibbles put on by Mr Jones.
Dozens of family members were unable to attend, including Mr
Jones' mother, because they were attending the tangi of his
uncle in Northland, as well as the tangi of his partner Dot
The results were announced to Mr Jones via a phone call from
the party's general secretary Tim Barnett about 2.43pm. Mr
Jones told Ms Pumipi and long-time supporter Shane Te Pou
before being given the green light to announce it publicly a
few minutes later.
Ms Pumipi, who was Mr Jones' campaign manager, said she was
probably "more disappointed than Shane".
She hoped to have quiet time with her partner tonight and
maybe go to a movie.
Former taxi driver Sam Pehi, 80, had travelled from Ponsonby
to support Mr Jones, wearing his best suit, which was
"When I found out he would be here, I shaved, shampooed and
came straight here.
"Shane has a wonderful leadership style because he's been
brought up amongst Maori and Pakeha. He has the relationship