Chris Carter expelled from Labour

CHRIS CARTER: Blames the media for ruining his planned holiday in Sri Lanka.
JOHN SELKIRK
CHRIS CARTER: Blames the media for ruining his planned holiday in Sri Lanka.

Dumped Labour MP Chris Carter threatened to name former colleagues who wanted to roll leader Phil Goff earlier this year as he fought to salvage his political reputation.

In an hour long submission to the Labour Party ruling council last night, Carter is understood to have claimed a meeting occurred in his office in July this year attended by three MPs who wanted to discuss the best time to roll Goff.

Fairfax Media understands that he offered to name the MPs to demonstrate his loyalty.

HOTLY TIPPED: Andrew Little has won a high ranking on Labour's party list.
JONATHAN CAMERON/Taranaki Daily News
HOTLY TIPPED: Andrew Little has won a high ranking on Labour's party list.

He also claimed to have had discussions with 17 Labour MPs over their concerns about the Labour leadership as the continued to languish in the polls.

Carter was expelled from Labour last night after a seven hour hearing during which Labour Party president Andrew Little said he threatened to dish the dirt on his colleagues if the party kicked him out.

GOFF: NOTHING TO HIDE

Earlier Goff said he has nothing to hide after Carter threatened to expose the secrets of his former colleagues in an attempt to save his tattered political reputation.

"What he does is up to him. I have no skeletons in my closet. I'm not particularly worried about it," Mr Goff said.

Mr Goff said Chris Carter was a sideshow and the party had moved on.

Mr Little revealed this morning the vote to expel Mr Carter was not unanimous but overwhelmingly in favour.

Mr Goff said he had no idea whether Mr Carter would now force a by-election in his Te Atatu seat, which he now holds as an independent, and it was nothing to do with him anyway.

"I have no responsibility for Mr Carter; he's out of the caucus, he's out of the Labour Party. He'll make his own decisions. He has to be accountable for his own actions...I'm right past Chris Carter now. I feel sorry that his political career has ended this way. I hope he can get on and rebuild his life but he's not my responsibility, he's not relevant to the Labour Party."

Mr Carter today labelled the party "petty, spiteful and vindictive" and considered he had been treated appallingly.

But Mr Goff said that criticism did not stand up to scrutiny and Mr Carter had never shown any contrition for his actions, which included delivering an anonymous letter to journalists criticising the leadership and subsequently going public with complaints that Mr Goff was incapable of winning the election.

Mr Goff said Labour was "perfectly capable of leading a coalition" and was within just a few points of its 1999 election winning result.

Mr Carter was now just "a sideshow" and as Labour leader he had more important things to talk about.

"I am concentrating on the issues that count for New Zealanders; it's about prices going ahead of wages, about unemployment."

People outside "the beltway" weren't talking about Chris Carter; "They're trying to make ends meet."

Prime Minister John Key said the situation with Mr Carter showed Labour was focused on internal issues and were not a happy team.

He said he would kick out an MP who challenged his leadership.

"I think everything that's happening around the Labour caucus at the moment is a sideshow actually."

LEARNED OF EXPULSION 'OVER RADIO'

Mr Carter said he heard news of his expulsion this morning on the radio and had not been told by the party.

"It is a typical, appalling way the party has acted in the last three months," he said, adding it was unprofessional.

Mr Carter agreed his anonymous letter had been silly.

"It was born out of anger, it didn't happen for no reason, I felt as if I had been used by Phil Goff as a scapegoat over this whole travel business.

"I was loyal to him a lot longer than he was loyal to me."

Mr Carter told Radio New Zealand that nothing he had put in his anonymous letter was incorrect.

"The way I did it was ridiculous and stupid; am I proud of it, would I do it again? Of course I wouldn't."

He said just before he wrote the anonymous letter he had been told by a journalist that Mr Goff had released his travel expenditure figures without telling him.

"I was stressed and angry, but it doesn't warrant expulsion."

He said only one other MP, John A Lee, had been expelled from Labour, while Mr Goff himself had staged an attempted coup against party leader Helen Clark.

John Tamihere said "appalling things" about the party and remained in.

Richard Prebble had said David Lange was mentally unstable.

"I have been kicked out for saying the leader is a nice guy but he hasn't got the x-factor to win; it's horses for courses and I just think it is a ridiculous overreaction to make the leader look strong."

He said he felt he was before the Inquisition last night.

"The sentence had already been passed and the evidence was to be found.

"They weren't listening at all; they just failed to grasp the point."

He said he had apologised for the letter which had been a reaction to stress.

Mr Carter said he supported Labour.

"I've worked my guts out."

He said he would serve out his term in Te Atatu and then "get on having a life".

He said he would consider an appeal.

"I have to decided whether is worth the effort and energy to pursue it.... I have to ask myself whether it's a party I want to belong to at the moment led by people who are petty, spiteful and vindictive."

- with MICHAEL FIELD and NZPA