5 Apr 2011

Two MPs take up Hughes' education role

1:40 pm on 5 April 2011

The Labour Party has announced new spokespeople on education after a reshuffle caused by Darren Hughes' resignation from Parliament.

Mr Hughes, who had been Labour's education spokesperson and senior whip, stood down as an MP after it was revealed the police were investigating a complaint against him from an 18-year-old-man.

David Shearer will take up the teritary education portfolio, and Sue Moroney, who already held the early childhood education portfolio, will now also be Labour's spokesperson on primary and secondary education.

It's a quick rise up the ranks for Mr Shearer who entered Parliament less than two years ago in the Mount Albert by-election. He says he relishes the opportunity to take on the responsibility.

For the job of senior whip, the Labour caucus chose Rick Barker, who has had the job of whip before in opposition and in Government.

Meanwhile, the party leader Phil Goff says a free and frank discussion was held at caucus about the Darren Hughes complaint.

Mr Hughes is still waiting for the outcome of the police investigation.

The party is to find a replacement MP from the Labour list, with Lousia Wall expected to fill his seat.

Support expressed for Goff

Meanwhile, Mr Goff has been given strong public backing by his finance spokesperson David Cunliffe.

Mr Goff's leadership has come under question recently because of low polling and his handling of the complaint against Darren Hughes.

Mr Cunliffe told an audience at the launch of the party's official campaign against asset sales in Auckland on Monday that Mr Goff is the hardest working politician he has ever met.

He said the party leader has a team behind him who support him, because he has New Zealand's interests at heart.