Labour leader Andrew Little faced media for the first time this year without his usual spectacles - but says the new look isn't an election year make-over.

Little said he used to wear contacts regularly years ago.

"I haven't more recently, but I have been this summer. And so, I'll wear them sometimes and sometimes not."

READ MORE
Labour leader Andrew Little needs a makeover: Colin Mathura-Jeffree

Advertisement

Laughter greeted a question of whether casting off the glasses at yesterday's event was an election year make over.

"No, I'm just getting back to see how they [contacts] feel and what it looks like and, who knows," said Little, who wore his glasses during a visit today to the Pike River families at their picket line.

Image is important in politics but not all efforts to improve it have gone well.

Former Labour leader Phil Goff's freshly dyed hair stole the limelight at his State of the Nation speech in 2011.

New Zealand First leader Winston Peters accused John Key of dying his hair in a memorable exchange after Parliament resumed last year.

After Key denied doing so - saying "there's no dye in these locks, baby" - Peters asked, "why don't the curtains match the carpet then?"

Politicians across the chamber erupted with laughter, and Key objected: "I take offence that the member is telling New Zealand he's seen my carpet".