By Thomas Mead
Labour’s David Shearer has hit back at critics who claim his job is in jeopardy, saying he is doing a “good job” and there is no leadership challenge.
Rumours have been circulating in the blogosphere about his leadership being under threat, but Mr Shearer says they are just that: rumours.
The online debate, sparked by an opinion piece written by 3 News Political Editor Duncan Garner, targeted the Labour leader’s poor performance after a recent list of scandals in the National Government.
Garner called Mr Shearer a "stuttering, incoherent mess" and "the opposite of what an alternative Prime Minister should look like".
But this morning, Mr Shearer ruled out any in-fighting.
“There is no challenge so there is no issue,” he says. “It’s about bloggers talking with each other and I’m surprised others have been asking these questions.”
Under his watch, he claims Labour has climbed in the polls and eaten away at National’s five-year lead.
“I don’t think we have been sluggish. We’ve halved the gap between National and Labour in about 11 months and we are closer together than he have been in the last five years. That’s a good record and I’m pretty happy.”
Labour MPs are also ruling out a battle and are standing by Mr Shearer who took the leadership reigns in December last year.
“There’s absolutely no leadership challenge, the caucus is fully behind David Shearer,” says Chris Hipkins.
“We’re not a bunch of lemmings following the guy in the clown suit, people will test things and debate things but that’s what the Labour party does."
Clayton Cosgrove was unimpressed by the claims and told 3 News that blogs held little weight in the political landscape.
“I think that Kiwis are probably more concerned as to whether they’re going to become one of John Key’s statistics,” he says.
Fellow Labour MPs Jacinda Ardern and David Cunliffe also voiced their support for Mr Shearer.
This weekend, Labour is having its annual conference with its members in Auckland where Mr Shearer is expected to unveil a number of new policies.