MP no show after Labour feathers ruffled by mayoral race
There is more bad blood over the Wellington mayoralty after a Labour MP was told to pull out of a speaking engagement alongside mayoral candidate Nick Leggett.
Napier MP Stuart Nash had been billed as a guest speaker along with Leggett and blogger Phil Quin, who was seen as a flag bearer for the right wing of the Labour party till he resigned from the party in protest at its campaign targeting house buyers with Asian-sounding names.
But guests at the event were told that Nash was no longer speaking after Labour leader Andrew Little intervened because Leggett was a former party member running against Labour's hand picked candidate, Justin Lester.
The event was to mark the opening of a new Auckland pub and billed as a talkfest about the US election.
The Wellington mayoralty is wide open after the incumbent Celia Wade Brown announced she would not be standing again, leaving behind a legacy of a toxic and divided council.
* Did poll results prompt Celia Wade-Brown to step down as Wellington mayor?
* Celia Wade-Brown pulls out of mayoral race
* Wade-Brown's consensus-building style failed to deliver
* Guerrilla gardener's mayoralty bid
* John Milford: mayoralty race a bookie's nightmare
* Where do candidates stand on a Wellington-Porirua merger?
Leggett, currently Porirua mayor, is standing as an independent after resigning his Labour Party membership because of party rules that he could not run against a Labour endorsed candidate.
Little confirmed he spoke to Nash after seeing a flyer advertising the triple billing and told him it wasn't a good look to share a stage with Leggett and Quin.
"Nick has decided to stand for the mayoralty against a Labour endorsed candidate and Phil Quin on social media is quite vitriolic about Labour and a lot of Labour MPs. I spoke to Stu and said 'look how do you think it would look if you're on the platform with people who are acting against what many other Labour Party members and activist supporters are doing in other parts of the country? It's not going to look flash'."
Little said Nash had agreed and was happy to pull out after their talk.
Nash did not return messages.
But Leggett said he considered Little's intervention "a bit sad".
"It confirms the problem with Labour, and a kind of heretic hunting culture that's crept into the party. Anybody with a different view or position is excluded or pushed out. As a Labour MP Stuart Nash would be going to forums in Napier and around the country where there are National party politicians, where there are people who have different views from him and the party and that's the nature of politics that's what we do. To single this one out just makes me sad really."
Quin said Little's characterisation of him was "not especially generous. Though not entirely without merit".
But anyone checking his Twitter feed would see he mainly tweeted "about anything but New Zealand politics".