Cunliffe dumps Robertson, installs Parker as deputy
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List MP David Parker is Labour’s new deputy leader.
Incoming leader David Cunliffe earlier today indicated he did not want the previous deputy and man he defeated for the leadership, Wellington Central MP Grant Robertson, to stay on as deputy.
Instead, he signalled Mr Parker, who has been the party’s finance spokesman since December 2011, was his preference.
Under Labour Party rules the caucus elects the deputy and it has not always gone along with its leader’s issues – in 1983 David Lange wanted Mike Moore as deputy but the caucus elected Geoffrey Palmer instead.
Late this morning Labour's caucus fell in with Mr Cunliffe's wishes and elected Mr Parker. He was the only candidate.
Mr Parker does not – unlike Mr Robertson – have a power base of his own in the party and nor is he a serious rival for the leadership – although he did contest it in 2011.
He is also a list rather than an electorate MP – something which further puts a crimp in any leadership ambitions.
Mr Cunliffe confirmed Mr Parker will retain the finance spokesmanship and announced the third leadership contender, Shane Jones, will take over as economic development spokesman.
This is significant because Mr Jones has been vocally in favour of mining and other mineral projects as a key opportunity for New Zealand – something which not only puts him at odds with Labour’s most likely coalition partner in any government, the Green Party, but also a sizable chunk of Labour’s own supporters.