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'Fresh face, fresh start' for Labour

David Shearer is the new leader of the Labour Party, backed up by deputy Grant Robertson.

David Shearer says he represents a fresh face and fresh start for the Labour Party as its new leader.

David ShearerLabour MPs chose Shearer, a former humanitarian worker and MP for Mt Albert, in a secret ballot this morning. He will be backed up by deputy Grant Robertson.

Shearer was the popular choice to beat long-timer David Cunliffe, who was number three on the party list.

Both contenders went into the meeting ahead of the secret ballot telling reporters they hoped they had the numbers.

The winner needed at least 18 votes, and last night Shearer's camp believed he had at least 20.

Shearer said his priority would be to get out around the country to find out what Kiwis wanted from Labour.

"I will be working hard to reform and rebuild the party so that we deliver their hopes and aspirations," he said.

“I am a fresh face for Labour and I represent a fresh start for New Zealand."

He called on John Key to open up the ministerial committee on poverty to all political parties.

"I want to be on it and to have the chance to offer my expertise to help us deal with the problem," he said.

“I have seen the world at its worst and I want the best for New Zealand.

The race between the two Davids saw a third, David Parker, pull out of the running in order to back Shearer.

Shearer became an MP in the last term of Parliament when he replaced former prime minister Helen Clark when her resignation triggered a by-election.

Robertson is also just beginning his second term.

The caucus also elected whips – Chris Hipkins and Darien Fenton.

Today is current leader Phil Goff's last day. His deputy, Annette King, is also standing down.