How is David Shearer doing as Labour leader?
Labour leader David Shearer is promising to give his MPs a "rev-up" today after controversies that dogged the party last week, including Mangere MP Su'a William Sio's comments that Labour could lose the next election unless the gay marriage bill was withdrawn.
Speaking to reporters before the weekly Labour caucus meeting, Shearer said he would give MPs an "unequivocal steer" they should comment only on matters related to their electorates or their portfolio responsiblities, not wider party issues.
"People have their own opinion. What I will be telling my caucus today is to keep those opinions to themselves and they (should) focus on issues that New Zealand is most concerned about; the economy, it's on education and it's on the lack of jobs in New Zealand."
"I do not want them to be focusing on side issues," he said.
"They are going to get a rev-up today."
He had talked to Sio who had apologised, and regretted his comments about the impact of Manurewa MP Louisa Wall's gay marriage Bill, which will be decided by a conscience vote of MPs.
There were also reports last week of unnamed MPs criticising and expressing dislike of front bencher David Cunliffe.
Shearer said he had talked through the issues with Cunliffe at the weekend, but that was a private conversation.
He said Cunliffe was smart, hard-working and was covering a portfolio important to the party.
He said he was concerned that months after the leadership was settled, in a run-of with Cunliffe, the debate about that was continuing.
Shearer said Cunliffe had not expressed unhappiness at his leadership and was commited to supporting him.
Commenting on his own popularity rating, and asked if he was not connecting with voters, Shearer said: "I do not believe I am not not connecting."
- © Fairfax NZ News
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