Scoop report and photos by Hamish Cardwell
Labour are on a ‘warfooting” and have kicked off the beginning of the 2014 election campaign, said Labour leader David Cunliffe on his first day in the role in Wellington today.
Speaking at a press conference, Mr Cunliffe said he had the backing of all of his caucus colleagues, and that the leadership election had given him a strong mandate.
A new deputy leader and whips would be announced after caucus meets tomorrow morning, and these “may or may not be” the same people as they were today.
“There is a new train leaving the station and I want everyone on it. There will be one set of rules for all. It will be a meritocracy, we will do the very best we can for the whole party and New Zealand.”
He said he did not expect anyone to resign.
Mr Cunliffe said he know John Key when they were both backbenchers in Auckland, and that he like him as a person, but he was not phased by Mr Key.
“I believe I have his number, and I believe he knows I do.”
He intended for Labour to be in government in 12 months time and would be putting people in shadow ministerial portfolios where they would excel.
He would have meetings with the other opposition leaders in the coming days.
Labour would be putting “enormous resources” put into a a strong economic team, Mr Cunliffe said.
“We will be taking the fight to the Key government, we are in this election to win.”
Mr Cunliffe also answered questions about the Trans Pacific Partnership, the Americas Cup, Maori electoral seats and the newly formed coalition on Chorus broadband copper charges.