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David Shearer prefers war zones to politics

Published: 2:49PM Sunday September 08, 2013 Source: ONE News

Being in a war zone was preferable to heading a political party for former Labour leader David Shearer.

Mr Shearer, who resigned as the leader of Labour in August, told TV ONE's Q and A programme he in some ways preferred the danger of a war zone during his time doing humanitarian work with the United Nations to leading the party.

"In politics you're getting sniped at from all directions. In a war zone you can generally tell who the good guys are and who are the bad guys."

The most difficult aspect of being leader was the "pettiness" of it all, he said.

"Politicians from all sides come in to make a difference, to actually get something done, and what you get caught up with, particularly as the leader, is point-scoring and that sort of pettiness.

"And I just found it boring, I found it beneath me, and I wasn't very good at it because of that."

He also revealed he was both relieved and disappointed to step down from the position, saying that in one respect it was a huge weight off his shoulders.

"In one respect, I was relieved. In other respects [I was] disappointed, of course. I put a lot into it and would have liked to have continued on."

The former leader of the opposition said he would "absolutely" be staying in politics and that he would like to have senior role in the party.

"You don't get into politics to sit on the back benches and twiddle your thumbs," he said.

"I came in wanting to make a difference to New Zealand. That's the reason for me being in politics. That hasn't changed. I'm very passionate about making a change in New Zealand and making sure that Labour wins."

Speaking of his decision to step down, Mr Shearer said it was clear he did have the support of the whole party.

"I wasn't prepared to go around on bended knee to my caucus colleagues and ask for their support. That's just not the way I do things."

It was important for the party to be unified, and for the new leader to have the full support of the party, Mr Shearer said.

"The most corrosive issue for us in the Labour Party has been disunity."

Mr Shearer would not give any hint as to which of the three candidates he would be voting for to be the next leader.

"I'm not actually telling anybody who I'm voting for, except my wife, and I guarantee she won't tell you either."