19 Oct 2022

Labour Party confirms investigation into Sharma's conduct recommended expulsion

12:11 pm on 19 October 2022
Gaurav Sharma

Gaurav Sharma. Photo: RNZ / Samuel Rillstone

Labour has confirmed it investigated Gaurav Sharma's conduct and recommended he be expelled from the party.

Sharma resigned from Parliament yesterday, forcing a by-election in the Hamilton West electorate.

In a lengthy social media post, Sharma said his resignation was a pre-emptive move, as he had heard the Labour Party was planning to boot him from Parliament using the waka jumping legislation.

The Labour Leader Jacinda Ardern and the party's President Claire Szabó both rejected the claim.

Ardern urged Sharma to reconsider his decision to avoid the "unnecessary and wasteful" cost of a by-election.

Szabó said Sharma appeared to have conflated "being potentially expelled from the Labour Party with being waka-jumped from the Parliament. There is no link between the two."

The Labour caucus unanimously agreed in August to refer Sharma to the New Zealand Council, Labour's governing body, to consider further action when it voted to expell him from the caucus.

The New Zealand Council then met to decide whether or not to investigate the matter, but the Labour Party's rules prevented it from confirming whether or not it had chosen to investigate.

In his social media post, Sharma said Labour had appointed a panel to decide if he had brought the party into disrepute.

Sharma said the panel had last week recommended he be expelled as a member of the party.

Szabó said Labour was "disappointed" Sharma had publicly released details about the investigation, in breach of the party's rules.

She confirmed an investigation had taken place and that Sharma had fully participated in it, providing oral and written accounts of his perspective.

"The investigation recommends that Gaurav should be expelled from the party for bringing the party into disrepute."

When Labour contacted Sharma on Saturday, Sharma requested extra time to document his views on the investigation as he had just experienced a family bereavement, Szabó said.

"We agreed to his request on compassionate grounds, and as at today the window for Gaurav to provide additional information is still open," she said.

The New Zealand Council is yet to make any final decisions about Sharma's future as a member of the Labour Party, Szabó added.

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