National | Labour Party

Gaurav Sharma expelled from Labour; considering his options

Estranged Labour MP Gaurav Sharma attended what was his final caucus meeting this morning. After an hour he appeared before media to confirm his expulsion.

The motion to expel him saw the Labour caucus vote 60 in support, one against and one abstention.

The decision means Sharma will no longer receive support from the parliamentary party or have access to or participate in caucus in any way. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said he would have the right to attend any select committee but would not be a member of one.

“Gaurav Sharma has been expelled for his repeated and calculated breaches of caucus rules over the past 12 days,” she said.

“When Gaurav went public about his staffing issues 12 days ago our response was one of concern. We attempted to offer support and find a way to resolve his concerns. We offered mediation and a pathway back for him," she said.

Some 'angry'

This morning cabinet minister Willie Jackson appeared to be at his wit's end over the matter. Asked if he had lost confidence in Dr Sharma he replied: "absolutely".

“Ahua hoha, riri etahi mema o to mātou rōpū.”

“Annoyed. Some of the members in our group are a bit angry as well,” he said.

Some of Sharma's allegations were levelled at former senior whip (now cabinet minister) Kieran McAnulty. Sharma claims he was bullied by him.

Sharma renewed calls for a formal investigation.

“Why isn't there an independent investigation against me to see if I have bullied staff as people have claimed? And why isn't there an independent investigation against Kieran McNaulty because he should get a chance to clear his name.”

PM's decision

McAnulty maintains he has always been open to an investigation but says whether one happens will be “purely down to the prime minister”.

Ardern doubled down in a statement following the caucus meeting saying there are things to be learned from the “episode”.

“From Labour’s perspective, this decision now concludes this matter. Our focus remains on the significant issues New Zealanders are grappling with and our responsibility to serve them – not the interests of an individual MP,” Jacinda Ardern said.

Sharma is still considering whether he will remain an independent MP.