Caucus unanimously endorses Leader

Labour Leader David Shearer has today received the unanimous endorsement of his caucus.

“I called MPs together because I want any speculation or doubt about my leadership to be put to rest. That has now happened. I enjoy the confidence of my caucus today and going forward.

“Labour is a team. We’re here for New Zealanders and that’s bigger than the ambitions of any single individual.  Any impression of division distracts us from that task. We must work together in the interests of New Zealand.

“This weekend, I laid out a bold plan to take New Zealand in a new direction, to reignite our stalled economy and to deliver a fair go to all New Zealanders. Our new KiwiBuild scheme will put 100,000 families into their first home. It’s an ambitious plan, but one that I’m determined to see implemented.

“To do that, I need a caucus that is fully behind me. Sadly, David Cunliffe has not been able to show that loyalty. His actions at the weekend were disappointing, not only to me but to many Party members. That, along with his repeated failure to quell speculation about the leadership, means that I no longer have confidence in him. He has lost my trust.

“That is why I have taken the decision today to demote David Cunliffe from the front bench to the unranked section of the caucus. I have also removed his Economic Development and Associate Finance portfolios from him. I will announce replacement spokespeople in the next few days.

“After the leadership contest last year, I publicly expressed my support for David Cunliffe and appointed him to the front bench as a sign of my respect for him and desire for us to work together. I regret having to take the action I have today, but he has left me with no alternative.

“David Cunliffe is a talented MP and it is possible there is a road back for him. But I would like him to take the time to reflect on his ability to play a part in our team. I have also left the rest of my caucus in no doubt that we need to pull together.

“Today is about moving forward and putting division behind us. In order to change people’s lives we need a change of government. That’s the change I’m focused on.

“New Zealanders quite rightly expect that we will focus on their ambitions, not our own. And on the issues that matter most to them - jobs, housing and education. That’s what my team will do,” said David Shearer.