I wasn’t demoted: Hipkins

Chris Hipkins

Former Labour party Whip Chris Hipkins has insisted he was not demoted by new leader David Cunliffe.

Earlier this week, Cunliffe announced a new lineup for the party’s management team, with Hipkins replaced.

Sue Moroney and Iain Lees-Galloway were appointed party whips, replacing Hipkins and Darien Fenton.

On Breakfast this morning, Hipkins denied he had been demoted, saying he offered his position up.

“I think it’s really important when you have a change in leadership, that the leader has an opportunity to put in place a team around them that they are really comfortable with working with,” he said.

“So I’ve got no problem with that at all.”

Hipkins said he had indicated he would like to keep his education portfolio and that Cunliffe had indicated he would be happy for that to happen.

Hipkins was openly critical of Cunliffe late last year, after an attempt to topple former leader David Shearer was unsuccessful.

At the time, he said Cunliffe’s ambitions had undermined Labour’s collective team effort and made it “very difficult for him to continue in a senior role within [our] team”.

“At a time when we should be focused on getting out there holding the National Government to account and selling our policies and our message, David Cunliffe has been working in the shadows to undermine the current leader and prepare for a leadership challenge,” he said at the time.

“That’s unacceptable.”

– © Fairfax NZ News

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