The Labour Party's two-horse leadership race could soon get a third contender, as returning MP Stuart Nash is considering a bid for the top job.

Mr Nash, the Napier MP who has previously ruled out standing, would join already-confirmed candidates David Cunliffe and Grant Robertson.

He has political pedigree as the great-grandson of former Prime Minister Sir Walter Nash. He is also relatively inexperienced, having served one term as an MP in 2008 after coming in on the list, but failing to return in 2011 when he contested the Napier seat.

Fellow MPs had a muted reaction to suggestions Mr Nash could run so soon after re-entering Parliament. One MP said Mr Nash would not have a "snowball's chance" of getting any notable caucus or union votes.


Another said Mr Nash was "a bit of a peacock" whose confidence so soon after returning to Parliament appeared to be based on his Napier win.

Those close to Mr Nash said he was weighing up whether entering the contest would damage his reputation or do it some good.

Labour has a preferential voting system so if Mr Nash does rustle up enough support to stop another contestant getting more than 50 per cent, his supporters' second votes will come into play.

Former Labour leader David Shearer has also been mulling another bid for the leadership. Last night Mr Shearer was not commenting.

He is likely to wait to see who else enters and gauge whether he can get enough support to avoid coming an embarrassing third.

Mr Shearer and Mr Nash are friends with similar views on where Labour needs to head. Their decisions could depend on what the other does.

Te Tai Tokerau MP Kelvin Davis said he did not know what either man intended to do.

Mr Davis would not say if he would vote for them, saying he would decide after weighing up all the final candidates.


Despite his own triumph in winning the Te Tai Tokerau electorate from Hone Harawira, he said he will not stand himself partly because of his "two-year weekend" out of Parliament until last year.

Another potential leadership contender, Andrew Little, is waiting until after final election results are released today before he starts to make a decision and David Parker has also not ruled out reconsidering his position if pushed to do so.