David Shearer resigns, leaving vacuum at top of NZ’s Labour Party
Aug. 22 (BusinessDesk) – David Shearer has resigned as leader of the New Zealand’s opposition Labour Party, having failed to make a dent in the popularity of the ruling National Party and Prime Minister John Key.
“There needs to be a Labour-led government and the ambitions of one person should never be larger than that purpose,” Shearer told reporters at a media conference in Wellington. He refused to take questions.
“There was no letter, there was no ultimatum, there was no vote,” he said. “But from the soundings I have taken from colleagues I realise I no longer enjoy the confidence of a number of my caucus colleagues.”
Shearer has struggled to erode Key’s popularity since Labour voted him in as leader in December 2011, replacing Phil Goff. He won former PM Helen Clark’s old seat of Mt Albert in 2009.
He will remain as an MP and stay on as leader until a replacement is found, he said today.
A One News-Colmar Brunton poll this month had Shearer up one point to 13 as preferred prime minister while Key slipped one point to 41.
A Fairfax Media-Ipsos political poll released this week showed Labour on 31.6 percent to National’s 48.3 percent. The Greens were on 12.3 percent and NZ First on 2.8 percent.
Under Labour's rules, there will be a run-off for the leadership. The party can cast 40 percent of the votes, the same level as the caucus, and the affiliates such as unions have 20 percent of the voting power.