Audrey Young

Audrey Young is the New Zealand Herald’s political editor.

David Cunliffe not standing down if he loses election

David Cunliffe would like to remain Labour leader and take the party into 2017 election, even if the party loses at the September 20 election.

"In general and with any new leader you go through a learning curve," he said.

"I think there is a very strong argument that it would be a waste of time, energy and resources to go through that process and start again."

Asked if he planned to stay on, no matter what the result, he said he did, "unless I feel like I have done such a bad job that it would be in the interests of the party for me not to put myself forward - if that questions arises."

Mr Cunliffe was speaking in the Herald's Hot Seat series of video interviews with party leaders running on nzherald.co.nz.

Mr Cunliffe suggested he had been handicapped by having been Labour leader for only a year.

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Having lost a leadership contest straight after Labour's loss in the 2011 election, he was elected in September last year after David Shearer stepped down.

It was also difficult for an Opposition party being up against the resources of state.

But he was having fun on the campaign and many dedicated Labour supporters were campaigning hard.

Speaking about the shape of a Labour-led Government, Mr Cunliffe said it was he would like to put a "solid coalition" potentially across Labour, the Greens and New Zealand First.
It was clear that the largest coalition governed, not the largest party.

"So there is every possibility of putting together a governing coalition across Labour the Greens and potentially New Zealand First."

Mr Cunliffe has ruled out having Internet-Mana MPs in ministerial positions but is open to a doing a confidence and supply agreement with the alliance.

The decision was "a really a matter about New Zealanders' "comfort levels" with a brand new party that had no track record and was bankrolled by Kim Dotcom.

"I would rather work with parties that have had years and years of experience, like the Greens and New Zealand First."

He did not rule out following the practice of Prime Minister John Key is having parties in Government whose vote Labour might not actually need.

National has done that with the Maori Party for its two terms in Government.

"I thought that was a constructive thing that the Prime Minister did at that occasion," Mr Cunliffe said.

He would not comment on the desire of the Green co-leaders, Metiria Turei and Russel Norman, to become co-deputy Prime Ministers.

But he reiterated that the finance portfolio would definitely stay with Labour.

THE VIDEO SERIES SO FAR

Thursday - Hone Harawira and Laila Harre, Internet-Mana

Friday - Colin Craig, Conservatives

Saturday - Jamie Whyte, Act

Monday - Peter Dunne, United Future

Tuesday - Te Ururoa Flavell, Maori Party

Wednesday - Russel Norman and Metiria Turei, Greens

Tomorrow - John Key, National

- NZ Herald

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