Labour Deputy Annette King announces retirement as Jacinda Ardern's star rises

By Leo Horgan

Labour MPs will elect a new Deputy Leader at next Tuesday’s caucus following Annette King’s decision to step down and retire, says Labour Leader Andrew Little.

“Annette has been a wonderful deputy since I became Leader. She’s tirelessly supported me and I’ve really appreciated her wise advice, humour and huge experience," says Little.

“She’s also been an excellent Health Spokesperson. While I wanted her to stay in that role, I accept her reasons for wanting to retire. She has been an outstanding servant of the Labour Party and worked hard for a better and fairer New Zealand. She has made a huge contribution in government, opposition and in Rongotai.

Landslide winner of the recent Mt Albert by-election and Labour's rising star Jacinda Ardern is highly favoured to replace King.  Little indicated his support for Ardern in his statement.

“Caucus next Tuesday will vote for a new Deputy Leader. I will be nominating Jacinda Ardern for that position. She has performed extremely well as a list MP and her resounding win in the Mt Albert by-election is further proof that she has what it takes to be my deputy,” says Little.

Labour Party Deputy Leader Annette King's statement:

“After some reflection, I have decided to step down from the Deputy Leader’s position in the Labour Party.

I have been considering my position for some time and after discussing the matter with colleagues I feel now is the right time to pass the baton.

I have also decided to retire at the end of this Parliamentary term.

It’s been the privilege of my life to have served the party for more than 30 years and to have worked for the people of Rongotai for 24 years.

This is totally my decision. I have always acted in the best interests of the party and at the forefront of my mind is ensuring Labour is in the best possible position to change the Government in September.

Jacinda Ardern has my full support to be Labour’s new Deputy Leader. I have watched her political career blossom since she became an MP in 2008 and mentored her when she needed help. After her emphatic victory in Mt Albert, she’s well and truly ready to step up.

All my energies will still be focused on changing this Government. It’s the only way to fix the housing crisis, provide the health care families need and the education parents deserve for their children,”