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Wishing Chris Carter well

Written By: - Date published: 2:30 pm, September 8th, 2011 - 23 comments
Categories: labour, parliamentary spending - Tags:

It was with sadness that I heard Chris Carter’s valedictory speech last night. As he said he was a Labour man through and through. Carter spent decades working hard as an electorate MP, a Minister, and most of all a hardworking member of the Labour Party.

Why the sadness? Because of the way Carter was treated after those long years of loyal hard work. No one ever gets it right 100% of the time, and it wasn’t exactly the smartest thing to do to try and publicly undermine the leader with a handwritten anonymous note. And it wasn’t the smartest thing to do a lot of travelling when those perks were increasingly in the spotlight. But none of that excuses the way Carter was treated.

Phil Goff’s handling of Chris Carter was a fiasco. Goff may have thought he was acting big by expelling Carter from caucus… actually the opposite would’ve been true. After Carter’s many loyal years to Labour, true leadership would’ve been to suspend and eventually forgive. Maybe if Goff had been given that advice things would’ve turned out for the better.

But an even greater travesty was expelling Carter not just from caucus, but from the Labour Party itself. He was deemed by the National Council no longer fit to be a member. The council’s ruling is an indictment on the institutionalised careerists that now dominate many parts of the Labour Party (though praise to those in the council that went against the tide on this). The council should’ve done more than just tow the Parliamentary leader’s line and do his bidding. After all his hard work Carter was due more than that.

Hopefully at some point with a new leader and a more independent and assertive council, Chris Carter will be welcomed back and thanked for all his hard work.

– disenchanted

23 comments on “Wishing Chris Carter well ”

  1. ianmac 1


  2. insider 2

    Carter was a boil needing to be lanced but then made himself toxic requiring a much harsher treatment regime. People have openly challenged leaders before and not been expelled from the party, but that level of dishonest disloyalty could only have one outcome.

  3. Anne 3

    Phil Goff’s handling of Chris Carter was a fiasco. Goff may have thought he was acting big by expelling Carter from caucus…

    I am no apologist for Phil Goff but sorry, I don’t agree entirely with this premise. It’s easy to pass judgement with the benefit of hindsight, but at the time I am certain both Goff and the Labour Council believed they had no choice. Some people seem to have forgotten that after the stupid attempt to undermine his leader via the anonymous notes, Carter then exacerbated the situation by continuing to run his leader down at every available opportunity. My own view is: after it was revealed he was the writer of the notes, if he had kept his head down and his mouth shut then he would indeed have only been suspended with a view to a later rehabilitation.

    I think his outburst was a somewhat irrational response to his former ministerial credit card revelations, and the relentless and unfair hounding he was subjected to by the media. That, to me, was the sad part of the affair.

  4. M Hill 4

    Chris Carter lost the plot and deserved what he got, as someone who would probably gnaw off my own foot than vote National I just can’t stand the way the Left seems to continually spend time destroying itself rather than fighting the real enemy…. Chris was pretty good in his day, but really how the hell did he really think he was going to get away with the stupid note fiasco.
    Labour have come out with some good potentially popular policies lately, maybe it’s time to concentrate on that, who know what the hell NZ will look like after another 3 years of the current fools.

  5. wobble 5

    To those on the left who think the Carter saga was handled fairly, I’d say this:

    If Roger Douglas, Richard Prebble, and David Caygill were never expelled from Labour, how in any way can Chris Carter’s expulsion be justified?

    • insider 5.1

      Douglas and Prebble I suspect quit when they formed ACT so you can’t expel people who aren;t members. CAygill is actively used by Labour as a resource so why kick him out?

  6. tc 6

    Like any player after a long career under changing rules , he lost his place, then his fitness and form and instead of understanding this new reality chucked his shirt at the manager, after being subbed and stropped off down the tunnell leaving the wrong impression and plenty of material to be written about ‘team in turmoil’

  7. I agree that Chris should be thanked and remembered for his hard work.  And I would be more than happy if he and Peter became members again at an appropriate time.

    Chris was a great Electorate MP and a tremendous Minister.  I was supportive of his retaining his membership but sheesh he made it hard.  The day before the disciplinary meeting he was on TV bagging Goff.  A display of mea culpa would have worked much better.
    It hurt Labour in the polls.  I cannot begin to describe how frustrating it is to watch the polls start to rise through hard work and policy campaigns but then watch them stall or decline after some individual’s problems become front page news.
    For me the lesson is that no one is bigger than the movement and the movement must take priority.

    • Anne 7.1

      For me the lesson is that no one is bigger than the movement and the movement must take priority.

      And that is the whole sad saga in a nutshell. Thank-you mickeysavage.

  8. Blue 8

    You must be joking. What Carter did was political suicide. How could any party leader do anything less when a member of his own caucus was actively trying to destroy him?

    The rules of politics are pretty simple, and everyone understands them. You always give your public support to the leader, no matter what your opinion of them in private. There’s a simple reason for that – the voting public do not like parties that appear to be disunited and caught up in their own petty squabbles. It’s why National keep floating rumours about Phil Goff’s leadership being in trouble – it helps National and it hurts Labour.

    If you are unhappy, then you get the numbers and roll the leader. If you do not have the numbers, you have to put with them until you do.

    Carter did not have the numbers. Not enough people wanted to join his little kamikaze mission, because they had more sense than he does.

    So he behaved like a petty, spiteful little child and decided to undermine Phil’s leadership publically. Throwing his toys out of the cot because he couldn’t get what he wanted.

    All it did was hurt the party that he claimed to love.

    Chris Carter throughout the whole affair demonstrated nothing more than that when it came down to a choice between doing what was best for the party or doing what was best for himself, he chose himself every single time. And gave himself a martyr complex as big as Gerry Brownlee’s backside to try to justify his pathetic behaviour.

    Good riddance.

    • “So he behaved like a petty, spiteful little child”

      I wonder if this nasty child can spell yet?

      • wobble 8.1.1

        Blue – Actually no. Being a member of a party is not about supporting a leader without question. It’s about supporting principles. The exact problem with political parties these days is the unquestioning cheerleaders. That’s why no one worth his/her salt wants to join one!

  9. alex 9

    To be honest, I think the Carter fiasco probably sums up the Labour Party at present. They might be pushing good policy at times, but the personalities involved are just toxic towards each other. We now have rumours of rival coups being plotted to roll Goff, and while they are probably just being spread by Whaleoil and Kiwiblog, they probably have a grain of truth. Labour politicians are coming across as extremely self serving and craven at the moment, the brand is tarnished, and voters are flocking to parties which don’t give off the vibe of being a pack of individualistic back stabbers. At the moment, that is National and the Greens. National because Key’s cult is so strong that only a fool would challenge him, and the Greens because they have a very united and collective oriented caucus.

    • Anne 9.1

      Labour politicians are coming across as extremely self serving and craven at the moment, the brand is tarnished,

      Mate, you’re falling for a load of media hogwash and spin! Can’t you see it suits them to have a NAct govt? They supply drink and fodder – in more ways than one – and the media see it as where their bread and butter is currently best served. What is a far better coalition govt. (ie. Labour and Greens) for the majority of New Zealanders is at the bottom of the MSM’s list of priorities.

      • alex 9.1.1

        Oh don’t worry, I completely understand its all a matter of spin and media perception, still, by putting yourself forward as a party trying to contest an election, you are also signing up to the media game. Labour is losing that game. National is winning. The Greens could be doing better if they weren’t so boringly competent.

      • gingercrush 9.1.2

        I think you’ll find Labour electorate MPs are increasingly campaigning individually which is a mistake.

      • Blue 9.1.3

        “Better”, Anne, is a matter of opinion, and an opinion that the majority of New Zealanders do not share with your hysterical view of the opposition. The paranoia you display claiming that ‘the media are complicit’ in some sort of conspiracy is laughable. Indeed…hysterical. The only blame that can be laid for Labour being in such a mess, is at Labours own door. They can’t manage their members and factions, how the hell can that show the public they can lead the country. I also think that if the only coalition partner Labour can come up with is the tatty Greens, this would be the one reason not to vote Labour. It lets the Greens near the machinery of Government, with fuck-all idea of where the ‘on’ button is or how it works

  10. Bored 10

    Good luck Chris, its Jetstar and delayed flights for you from now on, Im sorry. Practice socialism traveling cattle class with the rest of us, alternatively your mate and mine Joky Hen is building us a bike path (so I am told)….

  11. randal 11

    Go chris carter. you only a man and you did your best. dont worry about the petty vindictive creeps who want to pull you down just because you are there and they are not. whatever you did you put some spice into an arena stocked with anal idiots with very very tight underpants and you came out the other side. travel fair dude.

  12. jerry 12

    Carter was in the end, a loser who wasn’t popular. Of course knowing this page you’re probably hopeful for Goff 2014!

  13. vto 13

    I would like to know what caused Chris Carter to decline the resource consent to construct a marina in Whangamata Harbour when he likely knew he would be successfully appealed on that decision. (good decision btw).

    • KJT 13.1

      Seeing the deterioration of, whats left, of the public space in the Whangamata Estuary from dredging for the marina channel Chris Carter was correct in refusing the consent.

      Since the, gin palace, boaties started deepening the channel from the ramp and marina, the beach,between the ramp and the wharf, has shallowed so much as to be unusable at low tide. There are now ridges at the edge of the channel preventing little boats and canoes from using the area.
      An area where people used to swim, windsurf and kayak has been ruined, and the public park given over to marina car parking.

      I think Goff was right to sack Carter, many politicians seem to succumb to the sense of entitlement while in office, but we should remember Carter achieved some good things in Parliament.

      In stark contrast to the present mob, who should be jailed for treason.

      I would also like to see an apology, acknowledgement, and some sense of responsibility, from Labour, for the damage they did to New Zealand from 1984 onwards..

      • mickysavage 13.1.1

        I let my membership lapse in 1987 and did not renew it until 1999.
        The Labour party itself has acknowledged that things went wrong and the internal civil war that occurred is testimony to this.
        To contradict myself somewhat they were dark days.  The economy was stuffed by Muldoon and when Labour came into power things were that bad that the foreign exchange markets were closed.  This made floating the dollar almost inevitable and after this occurred then much that followed was inevitable.
        So I have some sympathy for some of the MPs involved back then but the policies were wrong.

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