Time for Shearer to go - Lees-Galloway
Palmerston North's MP says he is looking forward to seeing who will put their hand up for Labour's leadership.
David Shearer stepped down from the role at a press conference this afternoon, triggering a four-week election process involving Labour members and unions.
Iain Lees-Galloway told reporters in Parliament today it was time for Shearer to step aside.
''I think David has put in a lot of effort over the last couple of years, he's worked really, really hard for the Labour Party, he can step away with his head held high, but it probably was time for us to look at other opportunities.''
A Labour Party member since 1999, Demelza George-Franzmayr of Palmerston North said Shearer had taken a brave step.
''The current polling is not good, he hasn't had much traction lately and it's a hard bullet to take but sometimes it's better to step down than be rolled.
''I personally would have liked to have seen David Cunliffe selected when Phil Goff resigned [following the 2011 election] and am still of that opinion. He is smart, articulate, and very good at policy too.
''Yes, he can seem smug, but I much prefer him to other MPs we could name.''
George-Franzmayr said she hoped a leadership change would bring a better balance to the party's front bench.
''We need a younger, gender balanced group, I would love to see a more representative group leading our party.''
When Shearer last visited Manawatu in May he was confident of Labour's chances at next year's election, saying polls showed it was his to lose.
''We're happy with the way it's tracking. Polls bounce around but the trend line is definitely up for us and the trend for National is down,'' Shearer said.
''The challenge for us is to put out policies that people believe make sense and look like a Government-in-waiting.''
With a horror week in Parliament this week, it seems Shearer's caucus no longer felt they looked ready to govern under Shearer.
Prime Minister John Key humbled Shearer when he revealed a secret meeting the pair had to discuss the GCSB legislation and the Labour leader was ridiculed for bringing two dead fish into the debating chamber during question time.
Social media exploded following Shearer's announcement, particularly on Twitter, where a number of suggestions - serious and otherwise - were offered on who should lead Labour next.
While most of the speculation focused on Labour's Palmerston North-born deputy leader Grant Robertson or New Lynn MP David Cunliffe, Palmerston North rapper PNC offered Labour a different Manawatu-based solution.
''Labour needs to re-sign Steve Maharey. He had PM swag, plus was reppin the 06.''
However TVNZ journalist Jessica Mutch dashed that hope when she tweeted about two hours later: ''former Labour MP Steve Maharey walked past and I asked him what he thought of leadership issue he laughed 'you've got to be kidding me'.''
- © Fairfax NZ News
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