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Grant Robertson confirms bid for Labour leadership

Published: 11:01AM Sunday August 25, 2013 Source: ONE News

The race to find the next leader of the Labour Party is heating up with deputy leader Grant Robertson confirming that he will go for the top job.

Mr Roberston's announcement comes as a snap ONE News Colmar Brunton poll shows that rival David Cunliffe is the frontrunner.

The ONE News Colmar Brunton poll asked "Regardless of whether you support the Labour Party, which of the following MPs do you think would do the best job leading Labour into the next general election? Grant Robertson, David Cunliffe, Andrew Little, Jacinda Ardern, or Shane Jones."

Mr Cunliffe was the clear favourite, winning the support of 29% of the eligible voters asked, and 32% of those polled who support Labour.

The former government minister has been off the front benches since launching a leadership challenge against David Shearer earlier this year.

Mr Shearer announced he was standing down as leader this week as he did not feel he had the confidence of his MPs.

Of the other contenders the poll mentioned, Andrew Little (9%) and Jacinda Ardern (15%) have ruled themselves out and Shane Jones (11%)  is consider his options.

Candidates have until 10pm tomorrow to announce their intentions.

Mr Robertson said he offers a new generation of leadership that can unify the party and lead it to victory in 2014.

"I believe I can lead a party and a government that is principled, has vision and works with New Zealanders to give them hope and opportunity."

Labour must give New Zealanders reasons to vote for a Labour government, Mr Robertson said.

"We have to regain some hope. New Zealanders are tired of the short-term fixes and deals, and the failed ideas of the past. We must look ahead and govern for tomorrow as much as for today. We need to build the country that our grandchildren want to live in - prosperous, fair and environmentally aware."

Labour values

Before his resignation, Mr Shearer's poll ratings had been floundering for months and the poll also asked whether people thought a change of leadership would improve Labour's chances in next year's election.

Overall, most people - 45% - did not think it would make a difference, although the majority of Labour voters were positive about the change with 53% believing it will increase support for the party.

Speaking on TV ONE's Q+A this morning Labour Party president Moira Coatsworth said it is too early in the process to give much attention to poll results.

"We haven't heard who the candidates are or heard what they're standing for," she said.

"I think what party members will be looking for is have they (the candidates) got Labour values? Have they got leadership potential? Can they communicate and can they go hard and show the transformative policies?"

Labour whip Chris Hipkins said he has spoken to all of the potential candidates and urged them to put the best interests of the party ahead of their own ambitions.

"At the end of this, if there is a contest, they are all incredibly important members of our team and we're going to need them all to work together and pull in behind whoever comes out of this process as leader,"  he said.

"These are all incredibly talented people who are all assets to the Labour Party and they will all need to work together to support whomever comes out of this as a leader because we're going to want them all to be members of a cabinet in a future Labour government."

The telephone poll was put to 517 eligible voters on Friday and Saturday, 166 of whom were Labour supporters.

The poll has a margin of error of 4.4%.

Results

Question: "Last Thursday David Shearer stood down as leader of the Labour Party. Do you think a change of leadership will increase or decrease support for the Labour Party, or do you think it will make no difference?"

   Total Eligible New Zealand Voters Labour Party Supporters 
 Increase  33%  53%
 Make no difference  45%  26%
 Decrease  7%  4%
 Depends who the next leader is  5%  5%
 Don't know  10%  11%

Question: "Regardless of whether you support the Labour Party, which of the following MPs do you think would do the best job leading Labour into the next general election? Grant Robertson, David Cunliffe, Andrew Little, Jacinda Ardern, or Shane Jones."

  Total Eligible New Zealand voters   Labour Party supporters
David Cunliffe  29%  32% 
 Jacinda Ardern 15%  11% 
 Shane Jones 11%  14% 
 Grant Robertson 10%  14% 
 Andrew Little 9%  10% 
 None of them 3%  1% 
 Don't know 22%  18% 
 Don't wish to answer 1% 

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