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Shearer, Robertson refuse to rule out Labour leadership bid

David Cunliffe says he will not be stepping down as leader of the Labour Party, but he may have a competition on his hands.

David Shearer says Labour needs to reflect on its “appalling” result before moving forward. Source: Q+A

The Labour Party slumped to its worst result in decades, garnering only 24.7% of the vote compared to National's 48.1% in last night's General Election.

Despite the loss, Mr Cunliffe says he will go to his caucus to seek a mandate to continue as leader. He believes the leadership will be decided on by Christmas.

Mr Cunliffe told TV ONE's Q and A programme that he takes his share of responsibility for the disappointing result, but says he does not believe that rotating leaders is the key to changing and upgrading the Labour Party, saying that if he did he "would simply stand down now".

"I don't believe it is a policy problem and I don't believe it is a membership problem. But we need to really dig deep," he told Q and A.

David Shearer, who stood down as Labour leader in August last year, told the programme that he is "really, really disappointed that the party hasn't done better", saying that it was an "appalling" result.

Labour polled in the 30s under Mr Shearer, but he said the loss could not be put squarely on Mr Cunliffe's shoulders.

He refused to say whether he supported Mr Cunliffe or whether he would be throwing his hat back in the ring for the leadership role.

"That's what I'm not going to talk about today for the simple reason that I don't think it's the right time to be talking about that."

He says that the party has to come together and have a very honest discussion about where they are heading first.

"Let's not sort of jump on the first thing that happens and that's change the leadership and expect that suddenly there's going to be this miraculous change. I really don't think that's going to happen and I don't think it's going to be good for the party."

Grant Robertson previously put his hand up for leader and this morning said he could not deny his interest in the role.

"I've always said that one day that is a job I would like but we need to take some time to look at the result now," he said on Radio New Zealand.