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Phil Goff And Annette King Likely To Succeed Clark And Cullen

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Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media
Phil Goff
Phil Goff

By Peter Wilson of NZPA

Wellington, Nov 9 NZPA - Senior Labour cabinet minister Phil Goff is likely to take over the leadership of the party with Annette King as his deputy.

Prime Minister Helen Clark and her deputy, Finance Minister Michael Cullen, both said after yesterday's election defeat that they will stand down.

The caucus of 43 MPs will decide who replaces them and Mr Goff is the frontrunner for leader.

He has been the heir apparent for years and came to Parliament in 1981 -- the same year as Miss Clark.

Mr Goff was a minister in the Labour government that ran from 1984 to 1990, and from 1999 to the present.

He was foreign minister until that position was given to Winston Peters after the 2005 election, and took on trade and corrections.

Ms King confirmed to NZPA today she would not seek the leadership and said it was too early to speculate on who might want the deputy leadership.

However, she is understood to be ready to challenge for the position.

Ms King also has wide experience as a minister.

She entered Parliament in 1984 and held the employment and immigration portfolios in the previous Labour government.

Ms King became minister of health when Labour was returned to power in 1999 and held that position until just after the 2005 election when she became minister of justice, transport and police.

Mr Goff might not be challenged for the leadership if the Labour caucus feels a display of confidence in him is the way to go.

If he is to be challenged, current health minister David Cunliffe might present himself.

Others being mentioned are Shane Jones, a relative newcomer, and Maryan Street, a minister and former president of the Labour Party.

Ms Jones, Ms Street, Ruth Dyson, Trevor Mallard and Lianne Dalziel are all possibilities for the deputy leadership as well.

Labour could decide that having a woman as deputy leader could help it when it fights the next election against National's top two, John Key and Bill English.

NZPA PAR pw kn

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