17 Aug 2022

Labour MP Gaurav Sharma remains under threat of expulsion

5:35 am on 17 August 2022

The threat of expulsion from the Labour Party caucus still hangs over rogue backbencher Gaurav Sharma.

WELLINGTON, NEW ZEALAND - NOVEMBER 02: Dr Gaurav Sharma arrives at a Labour caucus meeting on November 02, 2020 in Wellington, New Zealand. Labour's Jacinda Ardern claimed a second term as prime minister after claiming a majority in the 2020 New Zealand General Election on Saturday 17 October, claiming 64 seats.  (Photo by Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images)

Hamilton West MP Gaurav Sharma (File photo). Photo: Getty / Hagen Hopkins

Labour MPs unanimously agreed yesterday to suspend the Hamilton West MP from caucus, after he launched several attacks on his own party.

Sharma has repeatedly accused Labour's current and former whips of bullying him. The Labour Party has repeatedly rejected his allegations.

Party leader Jacinda Ardern said Sharma had lost the trust of the Labour caucus.

"Caucus has determined suspension is the most appropriate response to the repeated breaches of trust from Gaurav over recent days. This means Gaurav will continue as the MP for Hamilton West and be expected to be present Parliament, however he will no longer participate in any caucus events or activities unless caucus' permission is granted."

The suspension would be reviewed by the Labour caucus in December, Ardern said, and Sharma could return then if he had restored the trust of his colleagues.

But the caucus could discuss the situation sooner and agree to expel Sharma from caucus if he breached Labour's rules again, Ardern said.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern at the post-caucus meeting conference on 16 August, 2022.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern at the post-caucus meeting conference on 16 August, 2022. Photo: RNZ / Angus Dreaver

When asked if this was Sharma's final warning, Ardern replied "yes".

Sharma did not participate in the online caucus meeting yesterday, despite MPs asking him to attend.

The party whips had spoken directly with Sharma to try and find a time for the meeting that would suit him, Ardern said.

"Originally a range of options were sent and they didn't receive a response. They then proposed a time and they were told at that time that no, at that time Gaurav had a specific event. They then advised that we would set a meeting time at a time that suited Gaurav today, he advised that nearer to 3[pm] would suit so whips suggested 2.30, we then at that point didn't receive any further engagement."

Sharma did not respond to RNZ's request for comment.

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