Labour will have a female deputy - Jones

22:58, Aug 27 2013
Shane Jones
SHANE JONES: On the campaign trail.

Labour leadership contest outsider Shane Jones says he will not try to chose a preferred deputy, but is certain the caucus will choose a woman to fill the role.

The Labour Party's rules will see caucus, unions and party membership vote for the leader, but only caucus will elect the deputy.

Jones told TVNZ's Breakfast this morning that the deputy would be female.

"Without a doubt the Labour caucus will choose, in my view, a woman to be their deputy and I'll just leave that with them," he said.

While he did not name a possible contender for the deputy role he said it would be important, were he leader, that the party put forward someone who could resonate with "new New Zealand".

Jones is seen as an outside for the leader's job, with David Cunliffe and Grant Robertson believed to be the front runners, but the list MP said the party needed to select a leader who could win the election, not the favour of union leaders.

"The question that should be looked at is who can win the test match next year, not the Ranfurly Shield that we're going through at the moment," Jones said.

Prime Minister John Key said yesterday that it was the unions, which represent 20 per cent of the votes in the leadership contest, that would decide the outcome.

Helen Kelly, president of the Council of Trade Unions, said the Government had a wider programme of attacking workers' rights and Key's approach to the Labour leadership was part of this campaign.

"This is part of the prime minister's efforts to justify what is a wholesale attack now on the working people of this country," she said.

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