If Phil has had enough of the sh!# thrown at him and wants to get out of the way and relax back into a mere 60 hour week working for his constituents, fair enough.
But Labour would still be better off with a protracted positive leadership contest, where all the candidates can be examined, got to be known and considered. The party could do with the time to consider why it got its worst result since the 1920s, have the contenders articulate how they will move the party forward, and consider what plan will work best. And all those juicy, easy summer news cycles need filling with positive Labour vibes.
This is where Annette King could step up. Like Harriet Harman did in the UK after Gordon Brown resigned, she could be interim leader while the contenders focus on a positive campaign, getting themselves known by the New Zealand public and Labour party members alike.
The media are desperate for a bloodbath and division, so the campaign would need to be tightly run – caught briefing the media against your competitors, or openly criticising them, you’re out. Annette can set the rules and ensure they’re kept: focus on your vision for the future of the party and New Zealand, and your own strengths and plan to achieve that vision.
The party need to organise townhalls around the country so members can hear them speak, and media can present them to the country. Let’s have an invigorating contest!
So members / caucus: if you can’t get Phil to stay a bit longer, push this on Annette!