from his Facebook page
A Labour Party panel last week recommended to the party’s governing body (the New Zealand Council) that I be expelled from the Party as a member. I have also been advised that the Prime Minister and the Party plan to invoke the Waka Jumping rule 6 months before the next General Election to remove me from Parliament which will ensure there is no need for a by-election. I have sincere concerns that this underhanded move will mean people of Hamilton West will have no voice in Parliament for 6 months preceding the next General Election.
As such I have decided to resign from Parliament pre-empting Labour’s next step. This will trigger a by-election, giving the people of Hamilton an opportunity to not lose their democratic rights of having a voice in Parliament by underhanded tactics of the government and the Labour Party.
As all of you know 2 months ago I raised some serious concerns re the behaviour of Parliamentary Service and Labour Whips in not only bullying me but many other MPs. Instead of investigating my claims, the Labour Caucus threw me under the bus and tried to spin a story that I was the one bullying my staff (which I continue to say is not true) to discredit me.
The Labour Party told me to stop talking to the media, advised me to say that I had a mental health breakdown which would give me a passage to return back to their camp. Despite having written to Prime Minister’s Chief of Staff in December 2021 with my concerns, providing screenshots of many MPs who had also been bullied, the Labour Party and the Prime Minister completely side-lined the issue.
As I continued to ask for an independent investigation against both the bullying against me, and the fabricated claims by Labour that I bullied my staff, the Prime Minister organised a secret predetermined meeting on 15th August to suspend me from the Labour Caucus. In a 55 minute tape a senior Labour MP repeatedly mentioned the pre determination of this meeting and said that Jacinda Ardern does not want an investigation as it will uncover other things that she doesn’t want in the spotlight.
A few days after this meeting I was expelled from the Labour Caucus as the party realised I was not going to back down from asking for an independent and fair investigation. I was advised by Workplace Relations Minister Michael Wood that not only will Labour destroy my political career they will discredit me and ruin my medical career too. Since then Minister Michael Wood and other Ministers have been calling event organisers advising them to cancel invitations extended to me.
Following my expulsion from the Labour Caucus, the New Zealand Labour Party appointed a three person panel to decide whether I had brought the party into disrepute. Right from the beginning I raised concerns about this panel as 2 out of 3 of its members (the General Secretary and the Vice President) were party of my expulsion meeting from Caucus, meaning they were already tainted in their views. It’s like having a jury at a trial which has already been part of another trial you were in. Labour Party’s own ‘Procedure for Investigating Cases of Alleged Misconduct’ guideline specifically states in section 7.1 that “The Committee members must be selected to avoid both actual bias and the appearance of bias, either for or against the respondent.” There are 24 people on Labour Party’s governing body (the New Zealand Council) but for its three member panel they still chose two people who had already been part of my Caucus expulsion meeting.
In addition to this the terms of reference deliberately limited the panel from looking into any of the allegations I had made. Instead the panel in its report concluded that by releasing screenshots (of anonymous MPs) I had brought the party into disrepute. Instead of appreciating that the content of the screenshots show multiple other MPs felt bullied, the sole focus of the panel was to blame me for unveiling these issues. They also concluded that it was ok for the PM to make statements against me but not ok for me to defend myself. In addition to this they tried to use the spin that I have allegedly bullied my staff as another point against me, despite no investigation being done by the Parliamentary Service or the Labour Caucus re this – I have repeatedly asked for an independent investigation into this.
The panel of three people wrote to the Labour Party’s governing body last week recommending that I be removed as a member of the party. I had met up with this panel a few weeks ago. I also met with the rest of the NZ Council on Saturday 15th October (last Saturday).
Just how MPs of the Labour Caucus have been talking to me in private often leaking information, the members of Labour’s governing council have also been in touch with me re the course of action Labour is going to take. I was advised that because I have become a thorn in Labour’s backside by continually raising issues in the House, Labour plans to take a step by step approach to sideline me. After suspending me and then expelling me from Caucus, and soon removing from the Party as a member, the next step will be the invoking of Waka Jumping rule to remove me from Parliament.
But given the current state of affairs, Labour and the PM were going to wait until the next year to invoke this rule 6 months before the General Election so that a by-election does not have to take place in Hamilton West. This is another way of silencing me but also stifling democracy by taking away the voice of people of Hamilton West.
Based on this information and after spending time in the electorate talking to my constituents since I wrote my Op-Ed in August, I have decided to resign. This will unfortunately trigger a by-election but it means that instead of being without an MP for 6 months as Labour wants, the people of Hamilton will be able to elect an MP to continue to represent them.
The reason I have had to resign is to prevent Labour from taking away the voice of Hamilton West by invoking Waka Jumping 6 months before the General Election. Labour will now try to spin my decision by talking about the cost of the by-election.
But before they do that here are a few things to ask the Labour Party:
1. Labour’s own MP Paul Eagle has been getting paid from taxpayers purse while running as a Mayoral candidate. He also used the MP funding to send a letter to 20,000 houses in Rongotai asking for what local issues mattered the most to people – this was within days of announcing his bid for Mayoralty. Not only this, if Paul had won, a by-election would have been triggered in the Rongotai electorate for MP.
2. Over the years many Labour MPs have triggered by-elections for one reason or another – in fact Labour MP David Shearer resigning and triggering a by-election is how Jacinda Ardern won the Mt Albert electorate seat in 2017.
3. Since stepping down as the Speaker Trevor Mallard has been sitting in the House with no Select Committee duties, no Bills to speak on, no constituent work. In the last 2 months he has been paid well over $25,000 to just enjoy his retirement. Soon he will be on the gravy train to be the Ambassador of NZ to Ireland. And don’t forget he is on the old Parliament contract which means he gets free business class flights for life.
4. Also a quick remind of government’s failed recent spending
– $51m spent on axed Auckland harbour cycling bridge project
– $500k in office rent paid after Auckland cycle crossing canned
– $66 million on Dominion Rd Light Rail report – $44million out of this is on external consultants
– $350 million on TVNZ/RNZ merger
– $200 million on Te Pukenga botched polytech reform
I will be running as a candidate in the by-election because I do want to send a message to the government that you can’t silence the voice of the common man – you have tried to shut me up at every avenue but I will continue to fight and stand up – for myself, for my constituents and for people of this country.
Concurrently with the by-election, my intention is to launch a new centrist party with focus on outcomes and action rather than on ideologies. In my dealings with the Labour Whips and the Party at large the one thing that has constantly stayed with me are the words of Labour Whip Duncan Webb who repeatedly said that “the party comes before the country.” I beg to differ on this, as these echo chambers are why we are struggling with progress in many sectors. In order for New Zealand to forge ahead it is important that we place our country before the party.
These are not easy decisions but given the numerous areas where government has failed us it is important that we hold our government (of any colour) accountable. I will publish more details about the new party in due course.
Watch this space.