Statement from David Cunliffe
I am today announcing that I have decided not to nominate for the 2014 Labour Party leadership contest.
It has been a hard decision to make but it is one that I believe is in the best interests of the wider Labour Party.
There is so much work to do on behalf of those who don’t have a voice within the current government. It is important that Labour is in fighting shape to do that.
To truly serve New Zealanders we must first win government. To do that we need a united caucus and party. I believe that although I retain broad support around the party, the time has come to step aside.
Which is why, in withdrawing I am throwing my personal support behind Andrew Little’s bid for the leadership. I have enormous respect for Andrew and his integrity. I believe he is the right man for the job.
In talking to him over recent days, I know he has a strong vision that is driven by Labour Party values.
I believe Andrew will achieve greater cohesion across the caucus, and get the process of listening to New Zealanders underway quickly – both with voters and those hundreds of thousands who chose not to vote in the September election.
I have discussed my endorsement with a range of my supporters over the past days, including Maori and Pasifica representatives and a broad range of Labour Party members and supporting affiliates. They are personally very supportive and understand my reasons. I have expressed my view that they will have a strong and supportive voice with Andrew as leader.
I want to thank everyone who has supported me, both inside the party and my family and friends. You have given me strength and courage at the times it has been needed most.
It has been an absolute privilege to lead the New Zealand Labour Party. I am intending to stay in Parliament and continue to serve my Party and my constituents.
Labour’s values and mission are more important today than ever.