Election 2023: Carmel Sepuloni reveals what happened in Labour caucus meeting after catastrophic election defeat

The outgoing Deputy Prime Minister Carmel Sepuloni says Labour is still grieving its crushing defeat to the National Party in the general election.

Labour's huge majority in the 2020 election was overturned with preliminary results showing the party would lose 31 MPs – just under half of their seats in Parliament.

On Tuesday, the party's new caucus met to reflect on the election and work out where to go forward.

Labour leader and outgoing Prime Minister Chris Hipkins it was a "brutal weekend" and the team is picking themselves back up again.

"We took the time in the morning to acknowledge the contributions of people who have given at least three years, in same cases six years of their lives to serving people and we thanked them for that and acknowledged the contributions they'd made and that's pretty tough," Hipkins told media after the meeting.

Appearing on Newshub Nation on Saturday, Sepuloni said the magnitude of the loss has sunk in, but the party is still grieving.

"This is the nature of things. I've been around a little while, I've been in elections that we've won and elections that we've lost and so this is just part of what we signed up for," Sepuloni told co-host Simon Shepherd.

However, she said the knives weren't out in the caucus meeting.

"We did have unity within our caucus. It is a different feel from some of the other caucuses I've been in… It wasn't a blood bath like we saw in 2017 where it was a seven-hour caucus after that election."

Sepuloni said the caucus isn't blaming Hipkins for the loss and is unified behind him.

On Tuesday, Labour announced Hipkins will retain the leadership, however, a decision has not been made on whether he will remain the leader until the new caucus is confirmed after the full election results are released on November 3. Hipkins has confirmed he will stay on as an MP for the full term.

As for her own aspirations, Sepuloni said she has no ambitions to be the labour leader and intends to stick around for the whole term.

She said she would be surprised if labour's leadership was not sorted by Christmas.

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