Shearer, Robertson new Labour leaders
Tuesday 13 Dec 2011 9:32 a.m.
By 3 News online staff
David Shearer, the favourite going into this morning's leadership vote has been elected as the new leader of the Labour Party, taking over from current Phil Goff.
MP Grant Robertson will join Mr Shearer as Deputy of the 34-member caucus.
The pair went into the leader's office before addressing the media.
The only other contender, David Cunliffe, was last week describing himself as the underdog, but earlier today said it was going to go down to the wire.
Mr Shearer is not commenting on where Mr Cunliffe will sit with the new party make-up, but says he will get a senior position.
He says he was confident going into the voting session because he is popular among the Labour caucus. He says he stands as a "fresh-face" for Labour, as well as having a connection with New Zealanders.
"I want to get out and listen to what New Zealanders want for the Labour Party," he says. "Today is the beginning of a new start for Labour."
While he will steer the ship against asset sales he also came into politics with the belief of working with other parties.
Mr Shearer believes the Labour Party is in need of fresh ideas and has become "old-fashioned".
"The Labour Party must grow relevance and must grow support."
He says he is happy with the policies the party took going into the election and 2014 is the only target he has at this stage.
Following the election, Mr Shearer made the decision to put his hand up for leadership without colleagues approaching him.
Mr Cunliffe told media this morning that reports by newspaper the Dominion Post were “wrong” and the race was going to be “a lot closer than you think”.
Mr Shearer says he trusts Mr Cunliffe, because "he is a Labour man".
Mr Shearer, a former UN aid worker, came to Parliament in mid-2009 and that is believed to have worked in his favour, as Labour was looking for a leader who can give the party a fresh start without carrying any of the baggage from previous governments.
Earlier this morning one Labour MP told 3 News political reporter Patrick Gower that the leadership vote would be a “slam dunk” for Mr Shearer.
Labour lost 10 of its MPs in the November 26 election and Mr Goff and his deputy Annette King announced they were standing down, effective today.
They were understood to be backing Mr Shearer and Mr Robertson to take over.