3 Jul 2015

Martin says Mark is best NZ First deputy

5:48 pm on 3 July 2015

The former deputy leader of New Zealand First has endorsed her replacement as the best person for the job.

Earlier today, the party confirmed MP Ron Mark would take over from Tracey Martin as deputy leader.

Ms Martin said her replacement had more political experience than she did.

Tracey Martin

Tracey Martin is no longer Zealand First's deputy leader. Photo: NZ FIRST

She described Mr Mark's appointment as a natural progression for the party.

"Ron Mark has far more experience than I have inside the political arena," she said.

"All I've ever done is work to get New Zealand First to go from strength to strength to strength, so Ron Mark is the deputy leader to take New Zealand First to the next level as we head toward 2017."

Mr Mark also dismissed speculation there were tensions in the party over his election.

New Zealand First MP Ron Mark

Ron Mark dismissed speculation there were tensions over the deputy leadership. Photo: RNZ / Demelza Leslie

Although it wasn't announced until today, the party voted to elect Mr Mark deputy leader on Tuesday.

New Zealand First MPs had refused to confirm rumours this week that Mr Mark had rolled Ms Martin in a caucus coup.

On Wednesday, New Zealand First leader Winston Peters confirmed Ms Martin was still the deputy leader, but was less direct when asked if she would retain that position.

"I'm not going to foreclose on what the caucus has decided by way of those issues, the caucus will decide that and will give you the time of that announcement."

He said there was always going to be a vote after the general election last year to determine the positions of leader, deputy and party whip, but that was delayed by the Northland by-election, in which Mr Peters stood as a candidate.

The party has 12 MPs in Parliament some of whom left for Tonga today for the King's coronation.