Labour leader David Shearer reaffirmed his grip on the party today, with a stern warning for his MPs about the need for unity.
"I will be giving them a very unequivocal clear steer today that I want them to focus on the areas of concern to New Zealand. I do not want them to focus on side issues," said Shearer.
His comments are in reaction to instances of infighting within the Labour Party over the gay marriage bill, as well as debate surrounding his leadership performance in the wake of a slip in the polls.
Mangere MP Su'a William Sio also fronted up to his fellow MPs today, after suggesting that support for Louisa Wall's gay marriage bill could cost the party the next election.
Last week, Sio said he would be voting against Wall's gay marriage bill because there is widespread opposition within his electorate - which has the highest population of Pacific Islanders in New Zealand - to the bill.
"I"ve spoken to William about it and he regrets the comments," said Shearer. He also said Sio had apologised to him.
New Lynn MP David Cunliffe also brushed off criticism today over a report which claimed to expose the dislike some MPs apparently hold for the former Labour leadership contender.
"They were untrue, inaccurate and unfounded and they have been repudiated...I'm refreshed and ready to go," said Cunliffe.
ONE News Political Editor Corin Dann says it is not just the emergence of party infighting that is hurting Labour.
Dann said that a dip in the latest ONE News Colmar Brunton poll has reignited debate over Shearer's apparent inability to connect with the public.
The poll showed that National's popularity was up to 48%, while Labour and the Greens both dipped slightly - to 32% and 12% respectively.
Prime Minister John Key's rating as preferred Prime Minister has fallen by three points to 45% but he remains well ahead of Shearer who on 13% was down one point on the last poll.
"I don't believe I'm not not connecting. This is about getting the main messages to New Zealanders about what is of concern to them," Shearer responded.