Labour Party leader David Cunliffe claims National voters strategically answered a recent poll question to raise doubts about his leadership.
Meeting with supporters and Rangitata candidate Steve Gibson in Timaru yesterday, Cunliffe addressed the latest stuff.co.nz/Ipsos poll, which showed a net 13.6 per cent of those surveyed were more likely to vote for Labour if he were no longer leader.
Cunliffe said National voters had stated they would vote for Labour without him because "they want to destabilise the Labour Party".
Gibson told supporters: "If nobody's gonna stand up for David Cunliffe, I'll tell you what, I bloody well will".
Gibson called Cunliffe "a bloody decent bloke" but said "some people are just a bit unsure about him".
Cunliffe said the Green Party's decision not to stand a candidate in the Rangitata electorate was "very kind of them" but insisted it was entirely "a matter for the Green Party" and he believed Gibson could win an electorate seat.
Gibson is standing against incumbent National MP Jo Goodhew, who was returned in 2011 with a majority of 6537.
Gibson said he had visited 4000 homes in the electorate while working as an energy efficiency consultant and had discussed politics with residents.
- The Timaru Herald