Labour leader David Shearer appears to have won support for his move to put an end to the party's 'man ban' in candidate selections.
Other Labour MPs agree that the proposal, which was to have been discussed at the party's annual conference in November, had become a distraction.
The remit proposing women-only shortlists for candidate selections in some electorates caused much disquiet. But just days after it became public, Mr Shearer has moved quickly to take it off the conference agenda and said on Tuesday it had been dropped.
"The distraction is turning our attention away from the issues that most New Zealanders are concerned about. They don't want to know about what's happening within the Labour Party; what they want to know is what we're doing on the issues that affect them."
Mr Shearer said these included affordable housing, electricity prices and jobs.
However, he said he still supports the target of increasing the number of women MPs within the Labour caucus to 45% after the next election in 2014 and to at least 50% in 2017.
Party president Moira Coatsworth said on Tuesday she agreed with David Shearer that the women-only shortlist has become a distraction and it would go.
A number of Labour MPs refused to comment. But those who did said they supported Mr Shearer's stance, including New Lynn MP David Cunliffe.
"I support the idea of a target, but I never have - and nor has my electorate committee - supported the women-only shortlist," he said.