Labour contestants Grant Robertson and David Cunliffe have both been nominated by Maori and Pacific Island MPs for the leadership contest - and in an apparent bid to defuse concern his sexuality will impact on his chances Mr Robertson's nominees include one of the few Labour MPs who opposed the gay marriage bill: Rino Tirikatene.
Mr Robertson put in his nomination form yesterday, signed by Te Tai Tonga MP Mr Tirikatene and Mana MP Kris Faafoi.
Mr Tirikatene voted against the gay marriage bill in its final reading. The selection of Mr Faafoi, of Tokelauan descent, is also clearly intended to show to the Pacific community that Mr Cunliffe does not have a monopoly on support from the Pacific community and signal that Mr Robertson's sexuality should not be an issue in whether he would be a good prime minister.
Mr Cunliffe's line-up of nominees is a mirror of Mr Robertson's: Louisa Wall and Su'a William Sio are again a Maori and Pacific Island mix as well as a gay marriage supporter and opponent. Ms Wall was the architect of the gay marriage bill and drove much of the campaign. However, Mr Sio opposed it, saying he wanted to reflect the concerns of religious and morally conservative Mangere constituents.
Mr Robertson said people could read what they wanted into his choice of nominees - but maintained his sexuality was irrelevant to his ability to be leader.
The third contestant, Andrew Little, said he expected to get his nomination in next week and would not name his two MPs before then.
Securing a nomination does not necessarily mean that MP is a supporter. Last year, Mr Sio was one of Shane Jones' nominees but openly backed Mr Cunliffe in the run-off.
Nominations close on Tuesday and it appears increasingly likely acting leader David Parker will be a last-minute entrant.
A group of MPs, understood to include Kelvin Davis, have been pushing for him to put his name in although yesterday he again said his position had not changed.
If he does, it will likely dent Mr Robertson's support in caucus - although the party uses a preferential voting system so it will not necessarily make an important difference to either man.
Mr Robertson said he did not believe the contest would be decided on the first round of preferences this time round, especially if a fourth candidate came along. Mr Robertson said he had no issue with Mr Parker entering - and also confirmed he would keep Mr Parker on in the finance role if Mr Robertson was leader. He would not say who his preference was for deputy, but indicated he would make that clear over the next three weeks.
Mr Cunliffe would have difficulty keeping Mr Parker in the finance role given Mr Parker has publicly said he has no confidence in Mr Cunliffe.
And Mr Little has called for the party to revisit some of its key policies such as capital gains tax and raising the retirement age - policies Mr Parker was instrumental in developing. Former Labour leader David Shearer is also still considering a tilt. Yesterday he echoed concerns also expressed by Damien O'Connor that the leadership contest meant the candidates had to appeal to Labour members - but that did not necessarily translate into appealing to the wider voter base.