6 Dec 2010

Labour's Te Atatu branch attacks party leadership

3:43 pm on 6 December 2010

A leaked letter from the Te Atatu branch of the Labour Party has attacked the party leadership's handling of the expulsion of MP Chris Carter as petty vengeance.

The leak to the National Party-aligned Kiwiblog came just hours before Labour leader Phil Goff delivered his final major speech of the year.

The letter, dated 20 November, expresses disgust with the way Mr Goff handled Chris Carter in the lead up to his expulsion from the Labour Party.

It says Mr Carter's comments about Mr Goff's uninspiring leadership reflected the Te Atatu electorate committee's views and accuses Mr Goff of betraying the legacy of his predecessor Helen Clark.

It goes on to say Mr Carter retains widespread local support in Te Atatu, and it is no certainty that any other Labour candidate will win there.

The letter is signed by the committee's secretary and vice chairperson.

Chris Carter says he had nothing to do with the letter.

Mr Carter says the letter was sent to all Labour MPs and members of the party's ruling council, and he assumes someone at Parliament leaked it.

Mr Goff says the letter is irrelevant, as is Mr Carter. He says it only represents the views of Mr Carter and his close friends.

Mr Goff says the letter may have been released on Monday to try to disrupt his speech on the economy.

Labour Party president Andrew Little says the letter is a matter for the party, and he does not agree with its content.

He says the timing of its release was calculated to hurt Mr Goff, and overshadow his speech.