Wednesday, September 13, 2017
The former Leader of the Labour Party, Andrew Little, has opened up his heart to The Indian Weekender on the tense moments leading to the decision of resigning from the Party leadership position.
In a first ever interview to any media, by his own admissions, Mr Little shared how those gut-wrenching moments unfolded.
“I have got a lot more spare time.
“It's a lot less intense than what it was,” Mr Little casually started while observing about his life after the leadership change.
“Look I was faced with a situation where I have to take a decision not just in the best interest of the Labour Party but in the best interest of the New Zealanders that the Party was speaking on behalf of for the last three years.
“I made the decision to step aside with great confidence that Jacinda who have got amazing political talent would be able to step up.
“And look what a phenomenal job she has done of getting the message out and obviously getting the Labour high on polls that we have long been searching for.
“I take a lot of satisfaction from the fact that how well Jacinda is doing,” Mr Little commented.
However, it was the next question that had probably caught Mr Little little bit of the cuff – the question about those last tense moments in the lead up to making this decision, including who was the last person to whom he had spoken with, who had seconded his call for resignation and proposing Jacinda’s name for the leadership role.
“This is not the interview I have given to anyone before.
"So you might be the first," Mr Little started.
“We got the information about low polls. This was the one that came out on Sunday. We got the information on Friday. That was kind of disparaging and it showed that we were going in the wrong direction for this part of the electoral cycle.
“I started talking to colleagues about that.
“Then on Monday TV3 produced their poll that also confirmed the same.
“At that time I had to think very carefully as we were only two months away from the election and my first and foremost priority was to ensure that the Party was successful.
“I had an event to do in North Shore on Monday night. I went there and spoke with few colleagues and staffs, and on Tuesday morning I made the decision that Jacinda would have better chance to boost the Party’s rating and to get us over the line.
“On Tuesday morning I made the announcement, and as they say rest is history,” Mr Little said.
However, the other question about the last person around him who seconded his choice of resignation and proposing Jacinda’s name for leadership and sealed the transition went unanswered.
Probably, the question was too much for Mr Little to recall accurately about those fast moving moments and may be even of less significance as now post-Jacinda Labour’s fortune has turned around dramatically.
“I think caucus was quite happy to have Jacinda.
“There may have been a bit of haggling over who would second Jacinda.
"I insisted that I wanted to nominate her and support her.
“Look she has been my deputy. She has been on my front bench for two and half years I have been the leader of the Party, and I knew how good she was,” Mr Little said.
“There might have been a little bit of tussle there that who would nominate her but I got the privilege to nominate her, and I am very pleased to have done that,” Mr Little concluded.