Cunliffe 'not challenging Shearer'

KATE CHAPMAN
Last updated 12:46 24/01/2013
DAVID CUNLIFFE
NICOLE GOURLEY
DAVID CUNLIFFE: "I am not challenging David Shearer."

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A relaxed-looking David Cunliffe has said he will back Labour leader David Shearer in February's upcoming leadership vote.

Cunliffe was among the Labour MPs gathered at celebrations at Ratana Pa near Whanganui this morning.

He said he was back from a family holiday in Golden Bay and said he was feeling relaxed.

Clean shaven - unlike the bearded version following his failed leadership bid last year - and wearing a beige cap, Cunliffe told media he supported Shearer.

"I've already stated a number of times he has my full support.

"I am not challenging David Shearer."

And his support was not contingent on a decent spot in the party's frontbench reshuffle due early next month.

"It's a matter for the leader," Cunliffe said.

He had not spoken to Shearer about it but was "telling the world now".

Shearer said he was not worried about his leadership although he would not go so far as to say he expected 100 per cent endorsement.

"I expect an endorsement yes, who knows what's going to happen, I haven't done a poll, that's the way it works, but I'm not expecting any problems that's for sure," he said.

Meanwhile, Labour was told it would be the next Government in coalition with the Greens at Ratana today.

Ratana speaker Ruia Aperehama also told the Mana and Maori parties to stop fighting and come together.

"Never take the Maori vote for granted," he told politicians during an impassioned speech.

"Mr Shearer, I hope that in 12 months time that you and your government will be successful with a coalition."

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