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Cunliffe Triggers Party Wide Leadership Contest

David Cunliffe has resigned as Labour Leader, but says he will seek re-election.

This will trigger a potentially bloody contest for the leadership. It is expected that former deputy leader Grant Robertson will seek to become Labour Leader, though others may throw their hat in the ring. If there is any contest the election will have to go through a process involving the party membership and union affiliates.

This follows Labour receiving 24% of the party vote in the election last week. The party’s worst result under the MMP system.

Cunliffe made the statement following a meeting of Labour’s ruling council and said he took responsibility for the “historic loss” and would give his full support for the review in to what caused it.

However, Cunliffe indicated he felt he had not enough time in the leadership role and Labour needed “experienced and determined leadership with a broad mandate” to contest the 2017 election.

His decision to force a contest means the Labour caucus will not be able to elect its preferred candidate and Cunliffe said his “consultation with colleagues, members and affiliates has affirmed that the whole party must participate in this choice, and not just one part of it.”

Cunliffe’s resignation will take effect from Tuesday.

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