1 Dec 2011

Labour leader contenders to hold meetings throughout NZ

6:38 pm on 1 December 2011

Contenders vying to be Labour's next leader support moves to hold meetings throughout the country so they can put their case to party members.


Labour leader Phil Goff and deputy Annette King have announced this week that they will stand down on 13 December.

David Cunliffe and David Shearer are the main contenders, along with Nanaia Mahuta, who is running as Mr Cunliffe's deputy, and Grant Roberston. David Parker pulled out of the race on Thursday.

The meetings will be held in Hamilton, Palmerston North, Wellington, Christchurch, Dunedin and Auckland next week at which the candidates will speak.

However, only sitting MPs vote on the leadership - but their stance might be influenced by the views of their local organisations.

David Cunliffe says while party members do not have a vote, they are likely to go back to their electorates and reflect on what they hear at the meetings.


"They may talk to their members - that's up to them. But in any case, a very important part of the platform that Nanaia Mahuta and I and our team want to bring forward is enhanced cooperation between the parliamentary wing and the party organisation so that we are building the grassroots party.

"These meetings are part of walking that talk. I strongly support the idea."

David Shearer is not as politically experienced as Mr Cunliffe and also supports the meetings, saying party members deserve to hear from the candidates.

"I think particularly for myself being fairly new off the block ... it gives me a chance to have a good chat to them and get them to engage with me. It should be a good event."

Mr Shearer says he expects the meetings to involve frank discussions about Labour's future.