The Labour caucus voted to sack Gaurav Sharma at a meeting he described as tense but respectful.
After the meeting, Sharma said the topic was only his suspension and dismissal, not the events that led to it.
“When we were in the room, nobody wanted to talk about how we got there.
“I wouldn’t say I was treated fairly. There was respect, respect on both sides.”
He said no one wanted to talk about the investigation he wanted.
“When I tried to show the facts…the details, I was told I couldn’t talk about it.”
“In some ways, that’s to be expected.”
Sharma said he would consider whether to remain an independent MP.
“Either way, I’m not going to rush it.”
He said his Hamilton West voters also wanted a voice.
Although the PM says she has no reason to do so, he will continue to push for an inquiry
He said other MPs had said “all sorts of things” and insisted they had messaged him privately in support, “but they didn’t speak up in that environment”.
He said the information he released within days was not the original plan — he had expected his initial public comments to spark an investigation.
When asked how he felt about it, he said he still believed in the values he originally stood for. “This includes the right to a fair trial.”
He claimed at least one MP voted not to expel him and one abstained, but he doesn’t know who they were.
“It’s not easy to get into a situation like this. But at the end of the day, I have nothing to hide. I want to make my point.”
When asked about the atmosphere of the meeting, he said “it was tense”.
He said the prime minister chaired the meeting and asked if he wanted to speak first. He speaks first and then speaks after the other MPs have spoken.
Asked if he had apologized at any point, he said if he had broken people’s trust, he apologized for it, but it was a result of what he felt he had been through.
He said other MPs had respectfully expressed their views. Kieran McAnulty didn’t speak.
Labour Party Statement
The Labour caucus voted to remove Dr Gaurav Sharma from the caucus with immediate effect.
The caucus also voted to refer the matter to the Labour New Zealand committee for them to consider any further disciplinary action.
The decision means Dr Sharma will no longer have the support of parliamentary parties or access or participate in the caucus in any way. He will have the right to sit on, but not be a member of, any special committees.
Labour leader Jacinda Ardern said: “Gaurav Sharma has been sacked for repeated and deliberate breaches of caucus rules over the past 12 days.”
“When Gaurav went public about his personnel issues 12 days ago, our response was worrying. We tried to provide support and find a way to address his concerns. We offered him a way to mediate and return.
“Despite offering an opportunity to address his problems and rebuild trust, he has repeatedly shown that he no longer wishes to be a member of the caucus. His consistent and persistent breaches of caucus rules have resulted in a complete loss of trust among his fellow Labour MPs.
“It is worth remembering that the root cause of this fallout was that multiple Gaurav employees raised issues with his management.
“Labour and the Parliamentary Service have been seeking to address these concerns with Gaurav for over a year. Rather than accepting the issues raised or the need for action to address them, he has been questioning the process.
“Labour and Parliamentary Services will be negligent if we fail to act on the concerns raised by staff, but this example does highlight how difficult it is to improve the situation of staff if MPs are not fully engaged. We also believe this The process is very long.
“As a Labour team, we remain committed to ensuring Parliament is a positive place for our staff. However, we have highlighted to the Speaker areas where we believe the new process under Francis’ review could be improved and asked him to consider these Recent events can serve as a case study to help improve these processes.
“There’s definitely something to be learned from this episode, but none of that justifies Gaurav’s recent actions.
“From a Labour perspective, this decision now ends the matter. Our focus remains on the big issues New Zealanders are grappling with and our responsibility to serve them – not the interests of individual MPs,” Jacinda Ardern said .
MPs speak before the meeting
Earlier, Kieran McAnulty – whom Sharma claimed he bullied McAnulty when he was dealing with personnel issues in his office – told the media: “It’s been a tough 13 days.”
“It’s really bad to be accused of being untrue under any circumstances, but then it’s played out in public – it’s really, really, really tough.”
McAnulty said he did not believe there was reason to claim he was a bully and said it had been rejected by the Prime Minister and a number of other MPs who arrived ahead of the caucus.
“At the end of the day the core is the concerns raised by the staff, and we’ve introduced a process, a fair process, to deal with those.”
When asked if Sharma was a bully, McCanuty said he wouldn’t start throwing tags around. “I know what I’m being accused of is not true, and I stand by my record.”
When asked if he had been defamed, he said he was not a lawyer, “but I know what I’m being accused of is not true.” He said if there was an investigation, he would take part.
He said he took “detailed notes” when dealing with Sharma, and he froze Sharma’s staffing after employees complained repeatedly about him. These have been handed over to the Prime Minister’s Office, who says she has not seen anything she believes warrants an investigation.
Ahead of the meeting, Ardern said she was not concerned that Sharma’s case would spark wider backbench grievances or that MPs were “afraid” to speak up.
“To say they’re afraid means they’re afraid of me. I don’t think many people would say that.” She will discuss next steps after the meeting. “He has the right to speak. Then there is a full ballot to confirm the decision.”
Labour MPs who arrived in parliament showed little sympathy for Sharma, with many saying they did not trust him – including those in his 2020 intake.
Minister David Parker said Sharma’s conduct was disappointing and that the investigation Sharma was seeking was unfounded, and he did not believe the allegations that the whip had bullied MPs.
“Absolutely not. It’s attention seeking. I know Kieran McAnulty, he’s trustworthy, mature, and I trust him.”
List MP Helen White said that, as one of his 2020 intake MPs, she had been in regular contact with Sharma to check on his welfare and believed he would attend the meeting “with eyes wide open”.
“He made his choice and I think he’s going to do it with his eyes wide open. I think with the mediation offer and suspension, he’s been treated well and fairly.”
A former employment lawyer, she said the mediation offered to Sharma, which would have been a good way to rebuild trust, was not taken up. “So I’m really sad.”
“I’m very sad about this. I’m very proud of the process we’ve taken, it’s really reconciled.”
Asked if she was concerned he would release tapes of her conversations with him, White said she didn’t think it mattered. “But I think it’s not helpful in this situation for people to doubt themselves.”
When asked if she would vote to expel him, Camilla Belich said he had lost her trust.
“His behavior has cost me trust, so it’s very frustrating and disappointing.”
She said he was given a fair process and regretted that he did not accept the offer of mediation.
“I think that’s how most New Zealand workers solve the problem.”
Both White and Belich said they had not experienced the kind of bullying Sharma claimed and found the whip to be very supportive.
Northland MP Willow Jean Prime said “no” when asked if she still trusted Sharma.
“He had the opportunity this morning to come to the caucus and discuss it with us, and I hope he does.”
She said it would be up to the caucus to decide whether to deport him.
Labour chair Claire Szabo said she would not comment before the caucus.
If Sharma is sacked, Szabo and Labour’s New Zealand committee may also start the process of removing him from the wider party – a process that will take some time and will require an investigation before any action is taken.
Maungakiekie MP Priyanca Radhakrishnan said Sharma was suspended for breaching caucus rules and continued to breach them. “I’m going to see what happens in the caucus. We haven’t heard his position, right, because he’s not in the caucus.”
She said she didn’t think anyone was impressed by his actions and that she “doesn’t believe it at the moment, doesn’t believe it”.