Labour Leader Under Fire for Holiday Amidst Hard Election Battle

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By Kalyan Kumar | July 23, 2014 4:54 PM EST

New Zealand's Opposition Labour Party is too keen to be back in power in the elections scheduled for Sept 20. However, the rank and file of the party seems to be a tad unhappy at the casual way the top leaders are handling the hard battle.  According to a 3 News Report, a controversy is brewing over a media scoop which quoted an anonymous insider from Labour party, blasting the party's PM candidate David Cunliffe for going on a holiday when the party workers were battling the heat of election in the campaign field. 

A report in the Sunday Star Times quoted a senior party insider, on the condition of anonymity, that party cadres were furious that Cunliffe took time off last week for a holiday when other Labour MPs were toiling hard across the country.

PM's Hint

It was Prime Minister John Key who accused Labour MPs Stuart Nash and a candidate Kelvin Davis for feeding that news to media, while answering questions in Parliament.

In response to a question, the PM said he knew in which all regions unemployment might rise. They will be in Northland and Napier because that is the place where some Labour candidates were complaining to the Sunday Star-Times about their leader Cunliffe.

Both Kelvin and Nash quickly denied the charge and rejected the hint that they were the anonymous source. Nash said it could have been any one from the party.

However, Labour MPs Andrew Little, Chris Hipkins and Phil Goff said the part caucus was fully united in facing the Sept 20 election.

Cunliffe Regrets Holiday

Cunliffe, Labour Party's top leader, for his part, said had he known that the party was under stress, he could have reconsidered the break. But Cunliffe defended his decision to take three days break in Queenstown. He said he had already talked to party MPs and asked them to focus on Labour's core election agenda.

According to Cunliffe, the party caucus has been advised to maintain a fierce focus on Labour's Party's policies on education, children and housing. The Labour leader regretted a controversy that came out of one of his off the cuff remarks on the issue of domestic abuse. David had remarked that he regretted being a man. Probably some people, particularly males, misheard the comment and thought it as a sweeping comment implicating all men to sexual violence. It was not that way and was not intended like that, Cunliffe added.

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