Face of the day

David Cunliffe

David Cunliffe


Labour MPs have emerged from a seven-hour crisis meeting – and leader David Cunliffe is still refusing to go.

After presenting the party’s new chief whip Chris Hipkins and his junior Carmel Sepuloni, he gave a short statement, but refused to say what happened in the meeting.

His MPs have given him a bloody nose with their choices. Openly critical of Cunliffe in the past, Hipkins was a whip under former leader David Shearer. He was also demoted in a reshuffle earlier this year.

Cunliffe wants his MPs to hold a confidence vote in him, triggering a primary-style run-off before Christmas. But the caucus wants to hold off until they have reflected on the crushing defeat at the ballot box on Saturday.
He insisted the whips were elected “unanimously.”

Cunliffe said he hasn’t made any decision on whether he would resign – a climb-down from bullish statements made in a press conference this morning.

“The feedback that I’ve had is both a wide range of colleagues and a wide range of party supporters do not think that is an appropriate step to take,” he told reporters earlier.

He also lashed out a senior colleagues who gave interviews after Saturday’s election loss.


Cunliffe said earlier he had searched his conscience about his decision to remain leader. “We do need to clear the air and we do need to move forward as a party.”

“Obviously, a lot of stuff went wrong.”

He said he was taking responsibility for the “deeply disappointing” loss but would not apologise. He blamed strategy, organisation, cultural and “people issues”.


“The voters are always right. We worked hard but we are not yet seen as a credible alternative.
Cunliffe had been expected in the capital yesterday but instead went to ground, and requests for an interview were met with silence. Those close to his team said it was in “serious disarray“.

– Stuff

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