Labour MPs will demand David Cunliffe release potentially embarrassing internal polling results on his popularity to them in caucus as part of a brutally frank post-mortem of Labour's dismal election campaign.
The party's new caucus will meet for the first time today to review what went wrong and Mr Cunliffe's wish to put his leadership to the vote. Mr Cunliffe will face calls to release Labour's tightly guarded internal polling and focus group research - something that could be potentially embarrassing to him.
Several MPs said with the rest of the party under scrutiny over its performance, caucus should be also able to assess how much of a factor his own leadership was in the result. Labour's polling company, UMR Research, polls on how favourable voters' impressions are of the party leader and other key MPs - but the results are closely held by the leadership team.
At least four MPs are yet to rule out a tilt against Mr Cunliffe: Grant Robertson, David Shearer, David Parker and returning MP Stuart Nash. But Mr Cunliffe's wish for a swift leadership contest could be foiled - many MPs including Mr Shearer, Phil Goff and Mr Nash believed a vote should be delayed to allow an assessment of what went wrong.
Mr Nash said he was focusing on making his Napier electorate a safe Labour seat but would not rule out stepping up for the leadership. He said it was clear change was needed and the question was who could deliver that best. He was among those who said he believed Mr Cunliffe should reveal the results of UMR's polling to caucus, which was a confidential forum.
Mr Parker has previously said he had shelved all his leadership ambitions, but has not returned phone calls since election night.
Mr Shearer said MPs he had spoken to did not want to rush into a leadership contest. "We need to think about it, analyse it and work out what is best for the party - not for individuals." He also backed a release of the poll results to caucus.
Mr Cunliffe has already started campaigning for the top job, emailing members and unionists immediately after conceding on election night.
A Facebook page has also been set up by supporter "Nigel", who says Mr Cunliffe and his team are not involved in the page.
Neither party president Moira Coatsworth nor general secretary Tim Barnett returned calls yesterday after criticism over fundraising efforts. Mr Barnett said on Sunday that the party books were in good order although more money was always helpful. He said if a planned review found a personnel change was required, that would happen.
Labour's first caucus
• Will seek to delay a vote on the leadership until final results are known and Labour has analysed what went wrong.
• Will ask David Cunliffe to release internal polling on him.
• Party officials Moira Coatsworth and Tim Barnett will have to face caucus after questions about their campaign fundraising.
• Not ruling out contesting the leadership against Mr Cunliffe: Grant Robertson, David Parker, David Shearer, Stuart Nash.
Goff: Analyse what went wrong before the election
Former Labour leader Phil Goff told Radio New Zealand it would be a mistake to enter a leadership challenge before analysing what went wrong before the election.
"It's just logical, it's common sense to do it that way - find out what the reasons were, when you understand the reasons clearly, then we can understand and act upon the reasons which saw brand Labour relegated to 24.7 per cent instead of the 40 per cent that we actually needed."
Mr Goff suggested Labour leader David Cunliffe was in a hurry to confirm support for his leadership due to the adrenaline that he had built up during the election campaign.
"If we don't show the humility to acknowledge that there were things that we did that the wider electorate did not agree with, or the way we presented ourselves that didn't connect with them, then we're not doing justice to them or ourselves."
The party were "hugely disappointed" with the election result, Mr Goff said.
Former leader David Shearer also spoke to Radio New Zealand this morning and called for an independent review into the failures of Labour's 2014 election campaign.
"We need to know, behind the scenes for example, what our polling suggested, where our vote went
"What we need to do is take a very good look at all of the elements which led to our defeat, what we then need to do is take a look at that, review it, then we move to the changes that we need to make, that may include leadership or it may not.
"My fear is - and I think a few other MPs share this - is that unless you absorb this and take a look at it, what we end up doing, particularly with the way the Labour party selects its leadership now, is that you launch into a leadership campaign which actually diverts you from thinking through what actually happened.
"This is horrendous for Labour, we need to own this result."
- Additional reporting by Brendan Manning