'It wasn't me' - Jacinda Ardern denies forcing Peter Dunne out

  • 22/08/2017

Labour leader Jacinda Ardern has denied her massive rise in popularity forced United Future leader Peter Dunne out of Parliament.

On Monday, Mr Dunne announced that he's quitting politics after 33 years in the job.

Mr Dunne will step down at the election, saying that he's sensed a strong mood for change and that includes the Ōhāriu electorate that he's represented for decades.

His decision has been blamed on the rise of Ms Ardern and Labour's growth in popularity in Ōhāriu. However, appearing on the AM Show on Tuesday, Ms Ardern told the hosts that his exit had nothing to do with her.

"It's not me, as much as he's saying that we've had some impact, but actually in that seat it was looking tough well before I came along. So I think he's probably been thinking about this decision for a while. I certainly don't see it as my fault as it were," she says.

"I am sad though to see that he feels like he didn't have a choice, and he was sad about the decision. You always want to go out on your own terms.

"But it wasn't me, that seat's been looking like it's been looking for change for a while."

Ms Ardern paid tribute to Mr Dunne, and his long career.

"Someone who has been in politics for 33 years - you just take a moment and pause and say that is an enormous contribution. So I think we should really acknowledge that from Peter Dunne."