Labour has opted for one term MP David Shearer as its new leader.
The party hopes the laid-back style of the Mt Albert MP will resonate with the public in the way John Key did for National.
His much vaunted CV as an aid and relief worker contrasts with money-market multi-millionaire Key, leading Labour supporters to say, only half in jest, that Key went overseas and made $50 million, Shearer went overseas and saved 50 million lives.
But the contrast ends there.
Key was an immediate hit with the party and the public. Shearer tried and failed twice to get into Parliament, once missing out on a Labour nomination and then losing to National in the Whangarei seat, before winning Mt Albert when Helen Clark retired in 2009.
So far he has failed to make a big impact in Parliament or public opinion and only became the front-runner when caucus favourite David Parker pulled out of the race.
But he is seen inside the party as a nice guy who will grow into the job and a fresh face; what Labour needs to reverse its thrashing on election night.
And his life history has been one of success.
Born in 1957, he was educated at Papatoetoe High School where he was head boy, senior athletics champion, first XI cricket captain and a member of the rugby first XV and swimming team.
After a teaching diploma and degrees in science and resource management at Auckland and Canterbury universities, he had a stint as a tour guide, spent four years as a science teacher, then contracted on environmental and Maori issues at the Tainui Trust Board - a time he credits with changing his attitude to things Maori.
But it was in overseas aid and development that he made his mark, first as a United Nations co- ordinator of aid in Africa, the Balkans and as head of Save the Children Fund in Rwanda, Somalia, Iraq and Sri Lanka.
He was awarded an MBE in the 1993 British honours list. In 1994 he was given Save the Children's international award for gallantry.
There followed a stint as a researcher in London and as adviser to then foreign affairs minister Phil Goff in the Beehive until 2002.
But, in 2003, he was back in Jerusalem as the head of the UN's humanitarian office.
He went on to lead UN humanitarian work in Lebanon and, from 2007-09, was head of the UN mission in Iraq, then became deputy head of the UN Development Programme in Iraq before getting the top job.
In 2009 after Helen Clark quit to take up the top job at the UNDP, he won the Mt Albert by-election with a majority of 9718 and entered Parliament. In the National landslide he retained Mt Albert with a majority of 10,021; not far short of Clark's 10,351 majority from 2008.
- Fairfax NZ
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