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Hipkins to remain an MP for full three years in ‘whatever role necessary’

Tuesday 17 October 2023 | Written by RNZ | Published in New Zealand, Regional


Hipkins to remain an MP for full three years in ‘whatever role necessary’
Cook Islands Prime Minister Mark Brown with Chris Hipkins who became New Zealand’s next Prime Minister after Jacinda Ardern announced she will stand down. NZHC/23012052

Chris Hipkins says he will remain an MP for the full three-year term, but whether and how long he remains Labour's leader remains uncertain.

Hipkins told reporters at Parliament on Tuesday (NZ time) he intended to continue representing Remutaka.

"I'm not done with politics yet," he said.

"I've made the commitment to the people of my electorate each three years when I put my name forward that I'm committing to three years, and regardless of what role I play during that time, I owe that to my constituents who place their faith in me to be their local MP."

However, he said he would be having conversations with the team before making decisions about whether he remains leader.

"My real focus at the moment is two things, really, one: making sure that we ensure a smooth transition to the new government, I think we owe that to the New Zealand people to make sure that the transition is smooth and that we execute our responsibilities as the caretaker government responsibly over the next however long it takes for them to form a government.

"The second is to make sure that Labour transitions into being a very formidable gover- er, opposition as quickly as possible.

"I'm committed to playing whatever role is necessary to ensure both those things happen."

Whether he would remain as leader once the handover was completed was an open question, and one in part for the wider caucus.

Hipkins said he wanted to speak with them about the matter "before I make any decisions about my own future".

"Regardless of what comes out of the next few days, when you lose an election you need to take a bit of time to reflect and a big part of that is as a new opposition you need to take some time to listen, and I think that regardless of what role I play in that I will certainly play my part in ensuring that as an opposition we will take some time to reflect and to listen."

The whole caucus of departing MPs and the two newcomers met on Tuesday morning, while the much smaller group of MPs set to remain in opposition were set to meet in the afternoon.