David Cunliffe's comeback
Will David Cunliffe win the Labour leadership race?
If at first you don't succeed just pull a David Cunliffe.
The tenacious New Lynn MP has thrown his hand up again for the leadership of the Labour Party, with many tipping him to win.
Mr Cunliffe, who kept tight-lipped after Thursday's surprise departure of Labour leader David Shearer, announced his candidacy from his new New Lynn electoral office yesterday afternoon.
Talking earlier to the Western Leader he said he'd received a lot of support from the community.
"If I win it would be a powerful symbol that the west is a fortress for Labour. I have had so many people encouraging me to stand it's been amazing."
If Mr Cunliffe wins the leadership he'll fight to become New Lynn's first prime minister in next year's general election.
But first he'll have to beat deputy leader Grant Robertson and list MP Shane Jones, who have put their hands up for the leadership.
Former Labour MP John Tamihere backed Mr Shearer in the 2011 leadership contest, but says Mr Cunliffe has what it takes to defeat John Key.
"Cunliffe has my 100 per cent support. I had no idea John Key would keep getting better at his job. You have to ask, ‘Who can combat Key on economic issues?' There's no doubt in my mind Cunliffe can do that."
Mr Tamihere says Labour needs to move away from identity politics such as sexuality and gender and get back to campaigning on economic issues if it is to win at next year's election.
"The sobering experience Cunliffe went through after being demoted to the backbenches last year showed the fortitude the man has. It showed a level of integrity I didn't think he had."
Under the party's new selection process the candidates go on a "roadshow" and try to win the support of the caucus, party members and affiliated unions.
The caucus gets 40 per cent of the vote, party members get 40 per cent and the unions get 20 per cent.
In the past the leader has been decided solely by the caucus.
Te Atatu MP Phil Twyford says he is not taking a public position on any candidate.
He says unions were given 20 per cent of because of the important role they have played in the party.
"The party grew out of the labour movement and the rights of workers has always been a key value for Labour."
The New Lynn electorate is a stronghold for Labour, which is the only party to have won it in its 47 year history.
It's has been held for one term by Rex Mason and Phil Goff, four terms by Mr Cunliffe and 10 terms by Jonathan Hunt.
Labour's last contender for the Waitakere seat Carmel Sepuloni also backs Mr Cunliffe, saying she voted for him in his last bid and will hear out the other contenders but she is "pretty supportive of Cunliffe."
"I think he stands a good chance of winning. He's very popular among the party membership and I think his popularity in caucus is underestimated."
She says that no matter what his role has been in the past, West Auckland has always benefited from having him as an MP.
"The thing about David is he can go into any situation and do really well. If he's in a board room he understands and can work with them but if he's at the Avondale Markets he engages with them just as well."
- © Fairfax NZ News
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