Ron Mark rolled as deputy leader of New Zealand First

  • 27/02/2018

New Zealand First leader Winston Peters has announced Fletcher Tabuteau has won the battle to be his new deputy.

Mr Tabuteau has been a member of the party since its inception and is currently serving his second term in Parliament. He takes the position of former deputy leader Ron Mark.

"New Zealand First indicated last week that it would consider the deputy-leadership position at its caucus meeting this morning," says Mr Peters.

"After careful consideration, the caucus today supported Fletcher Tabuteau to take over the role and I congratulate him on this appointment as deputy leader.

"New Zealand First extends its immense gratitude for the service of Ron Mark as deputy leader. The party recognises Ron is an integral member of the team, and we look forward to him playing a key role in the current government in his capacity as Minister of Defence and Minister of Veterans Affairs."

"It is my honour to announce that today I was successfully nominated as the Deputy Leader of New Zealand First," Mr Tabuteau says.

"The role comes with significant responsibility and I am delighted to have received the confidence of my caucus colleagues."

Newshub reporter Lloyd Burr says he is surprised that the "relative new-comer" won.

"I was of the mind that Ron Mark would absolutely cruise through that," he says.

"But no, there is a spanner in the works - he has been rolled by an MP called Fletcher Tabuteau."

Last week, rumours swirled that a deputy-leadership coup was brewing in NZ First, although it wasn't clear who was planning to challenge Mr Mark for his position.

But Burr says this "deputy-leadership roulette" won't affect any fight for the main prize - the leadership Mr Peters currently holds.

"What this means is that whoever is in that deputy leadership role is not the successor to Winston Peters," Burr says.

"If he ever does go his successor doesn't necessary have to be the deputy leader. Shane Jones could fit straight into that leadership role - it doesn't have to be the deputy."