In Labour’s topsy-turvey world, the bloke who sees reality is packed off on stress leave

Alf was drawn this morning to developments in the troubled political career of Chris Carter.

It seems a lawyer is acting for the dissident Labour MP.

And the Herald tells us Carter is to take two months off work for stress-related issues.

The leave means any decisions about Mr Carter’s future in the party may have to wait for weeks as Labour Party rules mean Mr Carter needs an opportunity to put his case before action is taken against him.

Carter, of course, was given the old heave-ho from Labour’s caucus last Thursday within hours of being identified as the writer of an anonymous letter to the media saying the party couldn’t win next year’s election with Phil Goff as leader.

If he had a fair quota of common sense, of course, he would have sent his opinions in a way that could not be traced back to him.

More critically, if he had any balls, he would have signed the letter and stood proudly behind his evaluation of his party’s prospects.

Labour’s lackeys subsequently have been keen to have us believe these were the ravings of a disturbed person, although they make astonishingly good sense to Alf.

Since then senior Labour MPs have questioned his state of mind and yesterday party president Andrew Little said Mr Carter was “unwell” and wanted two months off.

“The party is pleased that he is getting the help he needs,” Mr Little said.

The problem with promoting the view that Carter has become unhinged is that joining the Labour Party – in Alf’s opinion, a finely honed opinion based on years of close observation of his opposition – is the act of a disturbed person. On that basis, the whole of the Labour caucus should be putting up its hands for a week or two off to seek help for being unhinged.

Alf would observe, moreover, that Carter may well be less disturbed than the others because he is the only one who has stated the obvious, which is that Labour can’t win the next election under Phil Goff’s leadership, although Carter was not sharp enough to go further (as he should have done) and stated that Labour can not win the next election, full stop.

The Herald goes on to tell us about some procedural stuff:

The Labour Party whips can grant Mr Carter leave of up to 14 sitting days – Parliament sits three days a week and not every week. Once that period was up an application would need to be made to Speaker Lockwood Smith or Mr Carter’s pay could be docked by $10 a day.

As an MP Mr Carter earns about $145,000 a year.

While suspended from caucus Mr Carter is still a Labour MP.

The Herald is not the only media outfit fascinated by these goings-on in Labour ranks.

A Radio NZ report says Carter has been dealing with Labour’s party president through a lawyer.

It went on:

Andrew Little was not drawn on whether he believes Chris Carter should resign, saying the issue is in Mr Carter’s hands.

A decision on Carter’s party membership was to have been made on Saturday by the party’s ruling council.

While this is unlikely to happen now, all issues surrounding the MPs conduct will still be discussed.

Let’s wrap up by going back to the start and quoting the Herald’s headline on its Carter update today: “Unwell’ MP Carter engages lawyer.

This, of course, highlights the Labour way of doing things.

When any of the rest of us are unwell, we engage medical help.

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