Cunliffe gets Labour leadership

David Cunliffe becomes New Zealand’s new Labour Party leader
David Cunliffe becomes New Zealand’s new Labour Party leader

WELLINGTON, Sept. 15 (Xinhua) — David Cunliffe is the new leader of New Zealand’s opposition Labour Party.
The announcement was made in Wellington on Sunday afternoon.
Former Labor Party leader David Shearer announced his resignation on Aug. 22, prompting a three-way contest for the leadership.
Under new rules where party members and affiliated unions got to vote along with Members of Parliament (MPs), the MP for New Lynn defeated Grant Robertson and Shane Jones.
Cunliffe received the most support from party members and affiliated unions, with 60.14 percent and 70.77 percent, respectively.
However, nearly half of the party’s MPs voted for Robertson, at 47.06 percent, compared with 32.35 percent for Cunliffe.
Robertson will resign as deputy leader of the Labor Party, and the vote for that position will be put to the caucus alone.
The party’s General Secretary and returning officer, Tim Barnett, made the announcement at the party’s headquarters in Wellington on Sunday afternoon.
There was no need to go to a second round under the preferential voting system, with Cunliffe winning the first round with 51 percent support.
Cunliffe was a diplomat before entering Parliament in 1999.
He was minister of health in Helen Clark’s government between 2005 and 2008.
After the 2008 Labour Party defeat, Cunliffe became the party’s
finance spokesperson and number three in the caucus.
Last year at the party’s annual conference, Cunliffe was demoted to the backbench after he was seen to undermine Shearer’s leadership. Enditem