Manawatu unions sad Andrew Little 'lost his nerve' but ready to back Jacinda Ardern

Labour's taking a fresh approach with new leader Jacinda Ardern, instead of Andrew Little.
DAVID UNWIN/STUFF

Labour's taking a fresh approach with new leader Jacinda Ardern, instead of Andrew Little.

Manawatu union leaders disappointed Andrew Little has quit as Labour leader are ready to back Labour's fresh approach with Jacinda Ardern.

Little resigned as party leader at a  caucus meeting of Labour MPs in Wellington on Tuesday morning, after polling showed the party sinking to a record low result.

First Union Palmerston North organiser Dion Martin was surprised and disappointed Little quit so close to the election.

"He lost his nerve... Jeremy Corbyn​ was getting a lot of flak from his party and the media in Britain, too. But he gutsed it out, and did really well in [the UK] election."

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Martin said Little wasn't as inspirational as Corbyn, but probably could have surprised the nay-sayers, too.

But the union would remain supportive of Labour under the new leadership, Ardern and her deputy Kelvin Davis.

"In the end, it doesn't matter who leads.  For the unions, and a lot of workers, it's about what a party can deliver for us.

"A living wage, housing and more spending on health – all the big policies that support workers are still there [with Ardern.]"

Little said Labour's poll results were falling and a leader had to take responsibility, so he did.

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"I do take responsibility and believe that Labour must have an opportunity to perform better under new leadership through to the election."

Unions Manawatu convenor John Shennan said unionists had trusted Little's long history in the trade union movement, and were sad to see him go.

"He was one of us... We'd certainly have preferred he stayed, but we just have to move on. The king is dead. Long live the queen."

Shennan said the strategy behind the leadership change was solid, although a bit close to the election.

Palmerston North MP Iain Lees-Galloway said a new generation was taking the party reins with Ardern's leadership, but Little deserved respect for his integrity.

"It's been a big day full of many emotions.

"I'm certain that this will be a turning point in our campaign, and we have every reason to believe we can make the change New Zealand so desperately needs."

 

 - Stuff

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