Labour MP Kelvin Davis has endorsed fellow Labour and Maori MP Shane Jones as a future Labour leader in the middle of an election campaign.
In a live chat yesterday on www.nzherald.co.nz, Mr Davis was asked if he agreed with retiring Labour MP Mita Ririnui that the next Labour leader should be Shane Jones rather than finance spokesman David Cunliffe or David Parker.
Mr Davis replied: "I owe my political career to Shane Jones. He can be assured of my support."
But Mr Davis said he was not suggesting Mr Jones take a shot at the leadership now.
This year Mr Ririnui told Te Karere that Labour would lose the election and it was time for a Maori to lead the party and win back the Maori vote.
"The Maori Labour caucus is unanimous. We - the Maori members of Labour - think it's time that a Maori leads the party or at least is second in command," Mr Ririnui said.
During his Herald chat Mr Davis, who is challenging Hone Harawira for the seat of Te Tai Tokerau, also entertained the idea that he might lose.
Asked whom he would prefer to win out of Mana leader Mr Harawira or Maori Party candidate Waihoroi Shortland, Mr Davis said: "Obviously I want to win but worse-case scenario, Maori Party. I actually believe the Mana Party's policies are going to make Maori worse off."
Meanwhile, Labour leader Phil Goff has endorsed Mr Cunliffe as the man who would be Finance Minister in a Cabinet he led after failing to do so in a TV interview on Sunday. additional reporting, Audrey Young