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Carter Going Into Labour Meeting Fighting

Contributor:
Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media
Chris Carter
Chris Carter

Wellington, Oct 10 NZPA - Chris Carter is going into tomorrow's Labour council meeting fighting to remain a member.

He has accepted his political future with the party is over and he will not stand again in his Te Atatu seat but he does not want to be expelled from the party.

"I'm 100 percent Labour and I've given 20 years' service to the party and I hope they don't," he said on TVNZ's Question and Answer programme.

Mr Carter was thrown out of Labour's caucus after sending an anonymous letter to the media on July 29, which said a coup was planned against leader Phil Goff because he couldn't win the next election.

At the time Mr Carter was smarting from criticism of excessive spending on travel while he was a minister.

He was quickly outed as the letter's author and now has to face the party's national council tomorrow, when it will decide whether to suspend or expel him from the wider party.

Mr Carter says his problem is with Mr Goff, that he is loyal to the party and others have committed similar infringements without severe punishment.

"I'm going to talk about precedent," he said.

Cases he cited included Mr Goff and Annette King attempting to roll Helen Clark in 1996; Richard Prebble calling David Lange mentally imbalanced; and John Tamihere saying "terrible things" about Miss Clark.

While the parliamentary wing of the party has washed its hands of Mr Carter the national body is a different beast.

It will weigh up his years of service, loyalty of his local electorate, and achievements alongside the seriousness of what he did. Also pulling out of the Te Atatu race no longer makes expulsion vital.

Anything less than a suspension would undermine Mr Goff but the party will also be concerned about legal ramifications if they are seen to be unjust.

Party president Andrew Little has consistently focused on the process that needs to be followed and the meeting was put on hold for several weeks until Mr Carter was up for it -- his mental health has been questioned but Mr Carter says he was just suffering from stress and exhaustion.

However Mr Carter's continued vociferous criticism of Mr Goff in interviews since Friday will not go down well.

During weekend interviews he said Mr Goff had only six supporters in his caucus, and speaking to NZPA on Friday he said Mr Goff was unlikely to win the election.

He said Mr Goff failed to show leadership over the cash for leave issue, GST and that his handling of TVNZ presenter Paul Henry's racist gaffe was also weak.

Mr Carter intends to write a book about the last Labour government and spoke to Miss Clark about it on Friday.

Nine candidates have thrown their hat in the ring to represent the party in Te Atatu. Included are two sitting MPs, Phil Twyford, who previously missed out on the Mt Albert and Waitakere nominations, and Dr Rajen Prasad.

Other nominees include small business owner Nick Bakulich, law student Jim Bradshaw, barrister Dr Michael Kidd, university lecturer Hamish McCracken, community advocate Ann Pala, lawyer Greg Presland, and communications consultant Kate Sutton.

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