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David Cunliffe debuts strongly in preferred PM stakes

Published: 1:04PM Sunday September 22, 2013 Source: ONE News

Labour's decision to hold an election for its new leader appears to have gone down well enough with voters in the latest ONE News Colmar Brunton Poll.
 
Labour is up one point to 34%, with new leader David Cunliffe making a strong entry into the preferred prime minister stakes.
 
Labour's decision to have an unprecedented three-way election to replace David Shearer was always a gamble that risked exposing the party's dirty laundry.
  
"The most corrosive issue facing the Labour Party is unity," Mr Shearer said recently.

But after a relativity clean campaign, Labour has climbed one point in the latest poll to 34%.

National, however, is also up one to 47%, with the Greens slipping 2% to 12%.

New Zealand First is steady on 4%, as is the Maori Party and the Conservatives on 1%.
 
When converted into seats in a 124 seat Parliament, there is nothing in it, National's 59 seats plus one each from Act and United Future giving the centre right 61.

Labour's 43, the Greens 16 plus Mana's one seat give the centre left 60.

Neither are enough for a majority, leaving the Maori Party and its three seats as king maker.

This assumes all current electorate seats are held.

While Labour hogged the limelight, Prime Minister John key headed to the Pacific to talk Fiji with Pacific leaders, all the while preparing to target a new opposition leader..

David Cunliffe has stormed into the preferred prime minster stakes in this poll, up 10 points to 12% support.

John Key is still popular though, up 1% to 42%. NZ First leader Winston Peters is a distant third on 4%.

It hasn't been a pitch perfect start for David Cunliffe, who asked the Prime Minister during question time: "Why, following the call from the chair of caucus, er Chorus...?"

But gaffes aside, Mr Cunliffe already seems to have earned the respect of his rival, says ONE News political editor Corin Dann.

Dann says it seems Labour's election gamble is well on the way to paying off.

'A good start' 

Mr Cunliffe said his jump in the preferred prime minister stakes is a good start but there's a lot more work to do.

"We are going to be part of dynamic team, we are going be a diverse team and we are going to be going for it," Mr Cunliffe told TV ONE's Q+A.

The new leader will be revealing his shadow cabinet at 2pm tomorrow and revealed there will more women in the senior line-up.

"We are going to be at the next election increasing the number of women in our caucus," he said.

"We do enjoy a majority of support from New Zealand women for good reason. We are progressive in our ideals."

Mr Cunliffe is set to challenge the government on the economic front with two finance-focussed brains in the top two opposition seats.

He this week confirmed David Parker as Labour's deputy leader who will remain as the party's finance spokesman.

"We may be pale, we may be male, but I promise you, we are not going to be stale," Mr Cunliffe told Q+A.

He said his choice of deputy reflects the direction in which he wants to lead the party.

Labour is upgrading its economic performance and will be challenging the government head-on, he said.
 
"The fact that the deputy leader is our finance spokesperson and will lead a much strengthened economic team is not an accident. He will face off and he will beat Bill English."

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