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Looming Expenses Revelation May Be Behind Latest Outburst

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Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media
Looming Expenses Revelation May Be Behind Latest Outburst

An unsanctioned trip to Tibet may be behind Chris Carter's downfall, but the outgoing Labour MP remained defiant today.

Mr Carter has been thrown out of caucus on a unanimous vote after an abortive attempt to undermine leader Phil Goff, and on August 7 the party council will almost certainly expel him.

In June, he clashed with Mr Goff over his expenditure as a minister. But Mr Goff said today Mr Carter took a two-week trip to Tibet during the last parliamentary recess. He did not follow the rules around international travel -- he failed to tell the party whip he would be away, or to get support from caucus.

"That's two weeks we would have relied on him being here," Mr Goff said. Mr Goff found out Mr Carter had left the country only after the fact.

This morning, Mr Carter refused to tell Radio New Zealand today whether he had been to Tibet and who had paid for the trip. 

"I'm not going to discuss international issues, you're just throwing this in as a red herring. That's neither here nor there," he said.

Senior Labour MP Trevor Mallard said Mr Carter went without permission from the Labour Party or Mr Goff and had exhibited some "pretty unusual" and "pretty irrational" behaviour lately.

The latest quarterly amounts for MPs' travel released yesterday were probably a trigger for his behaviour, Mr Mallard said.

Expenses for Mr Carter's Tibet trip were likely to show up in the next round of expenses in three months' time.

Mr Mallard said personally he was worried about Mr Carter.

"He's always been a bit eccentric, I think we all know that."

Party president Andrew Little suggested people were concerned about Mr Carter, who had been under a great deal of stress.

Mr Mallard said the rest of the Labour caucus was behind Mr Goff.

"There's no one else in our caucus, other than Phil Goff, who could lead us to victory next year."

Mr Goff told NewstalkZB stress over Mr Carter's expenditure was behind his outbreak, after he mishandled apologising to the public.

"I gave him a second chance, but nobody gets a third chance. He has not been up to doing the job that I've required of him, I don't have confidence in his judgement."

Mr Goff said the Labour Party was united and would be stronger with the renewal it would have with Mr Carter's replacement.

While Mr Carter was unlikely to be a member of the Labour Party, he would support and vote with it.

He told Radio New Zealand he had not lost the plot.

"It might be the end of my political career but I want Labour to win the next election and we're not going to win with Phil Goff."

He refused to name another Labour MP who could replace Mr Goff as party leader.

He has said he will remain an independent MP until the next election as MP for Te Atatu. He said he would not stand in the next election. An unsigned letter Mr Carter sent to media representatives yesterday, seeking to undermine Mr Goff and foment a coup against him, ended his career.



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