3 Dec 2011

Parker pulls out of leadership race

12:45 pm on 3 December 2011

David Parker, one of the MPs vying for the Labour Party leadership, has pulled out just two days after declaring he would be in the race.


Earlier this week, leader Phil Goff and his deputy Annette King announced that they will stand down on 13 December.

David Cunliffe and David Shearer are now the main contenders, along with Nanaia Mahuta, who is running as Mr Cunliffe's deputy, and Grant Robertson.

In a statement released on Thursday afternoon, Mr Parker says he remains committed to Labour's ideals.

However, he says there is growing support for a new face to lead the party and he intends to support Mr Shearer in his bid.

Mr Parker says he will be making no further comment at this stage.

Mr Shearer says he was surprised when Mr Parker phoned him and told him he was pulling out of the race.

He told Radio New Zealand's Checkpoint programme on Thursday while Mr Parker will bring supporters with him, the contest is by no means over.

"Those people have a choice as well, they may decide to support David Cunliffe. So the job is by no means over and I need to earn the support of my colleagues - and I'm still doing that."

A series of party meetings are being held around the country next week where the contenders will be under the spotlight.

Mr Cunliffe told Checkpoint on Thursday he does not believe the development alters the race.

"Because I think what you'll probably see is a reallocation of support from David Parker to David Shearer. I don't think it will change the support for our ticket, essentially."