Adam Bennett

Adam is a political reporter for the New Zealand Herald.

Electorate supports Cunliffe

David Cunliffe. Photo / Dean Purcell
David Cunliffe. Photo / Dean Purcell

Labour MPs remain gagged from discussing the punishment meted out to their colleague David Cunliffe, but Mr Cunliffe's electorate committee lodged a formal complaint about the treatment of Mr Cunliffe by his own colleagues last night.

Labour leader David Shearer has demoted Mr Cunliffe and stripped his portfolios off him, citing disloyalty for attempting to undermine Mr Shearer's leadership at Labour's annual conference last weekend.

MPs were told at the caucus meeting that only Mr Shearer would speak on the issue and it is understood MPs were sent another memo yesterday to remind them not to talk about the matter publicly.

However, the demotion prompted anger from some Cunliffe supporters on Facebook and the Standard blog as well as calls for MPs who had publicly criticised Mr Cunliffe to also be punished.

One of Mr Cunliffe's New Lynn electorate committee members, Greg Presland, said the committee had concerns about the demotion and the criticisms by other MPs, such as the chief whip Chris Hipkins.

At a special meeting called yesterday, the New Lynn Electorate Committee of the Labour Party voted unanimously to express its full confidence in Mr Cunliffe.

Mr Presland said Mr Shearer had the power to demote Mr Cunliffe so there was little that could be done.

"But there are concerns about the way David has been treated. A lot of the criticism we felt was unjustified."

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