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Labour MPs retain David Shearer as leader

Published: 7:45AM Monday February 04, 2013 Source: ONE News

David Shearer has been confirmed by his MPs as the Labour Party leader.

Shearer faced his latest leadership test as the party's caucus holds an all-day meeting in Auckland.

A secret ballot was held this morning and ONE News political editor Corin Dann said Shearer got the 60% plus one that he needed to retain leadership of the party.

Dann said barring a major meltdown in the polls Shearer will lead Labour to the next election.

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Shortly after the result was confirmed Shearer said: "The vote was in favour of myself. I don't know the result, the result is a secret ballot, but the threshold is the highest that we've ever had in a Labour Party vote before so it's 60% plus one."

"I'm very happy now to be the leader of the Labour Party endorsed and we go forward to hold the Government to account and to make sure that we get our policies across so that people can see that we are a Government in waiting."

He earlier tweeted that he would like to thank his colleagues for endorsing his leadership today.

Dann said we will not know if anyone voted against Shearer, and most MPs weren't giving much away as they entered the meeting this morning.

Many said it was a secret ballot and refused to divulge who they would be voting for.

David Clarke and Clayton Cosgrove were more forthcoming, saying that Shearer had their support.

Shearer was confident he had the numbers and had therefore not bothered to poll to check the numbers.

Under the new arrangement, decided on by the caucus last November, it is possible for just 40% of MPs to change the leader, but Shearer was all but guaranteed 100% loyalty.

This was despite David Cunliffe's attempted coup a short time after last year's party conference.

Cunliffe was later demoted for refusing to rule out a challenge for the leadership.

The MP for New Lynn said two weeks ago he had no interest in challenging for the Labour leadership again and will serve his time in Parliament on the back benches.