Shearer faces leadership barbs from PM

Labour Party leader David Shearer has rejected renewed speculation about his leadership, and his fellow MPs have rallied around him.

But the speculation prompted a series of barbs across the debating chamber as Prime Minister John Key answered questions about the Government's record on unemployment.

Mr Key used the speculation to fob off questions from Mr Shearer, asking which David would lead the Labour Party after the weekend.

Several political columnists and bloggers have criticised Mr Shearer's performance and said he should go.

And suggestions have been made that Mr Shearer still doesn't have the full support of those MPs who voted for David Cunliffe, his adversary in last December's leadership contest.

Mr Cunliffe, meanwhile, says Mr Shearer has his support.

Other Labour MPs are more wholehearted in pledging their support, saying there is no threat to Mr Shearer.

Mr Shearer will attend his first annual party conference as leader this weekend, with some bloggers suggesting it could be his last.

But he said there is no challenge to his leadership and he rejects criticism he has not been performing well in the job.

Mr Shearer says the conference is a good opportunity for him to talk about the things that matter such as jobs and education and what Labour will do.

Earlier, Radio New Zealand's political editor said Mr Shearer faces no challenge at the moment, but he has failed to make his leadership secure since succeeding Phil Goff last December.

There still appears to be some tension within the caucus between those who supported Mr Shearer and those who voted for his opponent, David Cunliffe.

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