22 Sep 2010

Former Labour MP Chris Carter returns to Parliament

8:09 pm on 22 September 2010

Former Labour MP Chris Carter has returned to Parliament and is indicating he may still seek the party's nomination for the Te Atatu electorate.

Mr Carter has been on sick leave since he was dumped from the Labour Caucus at the end of July, following his attack on Phil Goff's leadership.

His leave expired on Wednesday and the Speaker's office has confirmed he is back at Parliament.

Under Parliament's rules, the MP was automatically entitled to 14 sitting days of leave. Any further leave would have required the Speaker's approval, or his pay could be docked by $10 per sitting day.

However, Mr Carter has not taken his seat in the debating chamber and has avoided the media.

While he is declining requests for interviews, in an exchange of text messages he says he is still the only Labour nominee for Te Atatu and is under a lot of pressure from local party members to fight to stay.

But Radio New Zealand's political staff say that would only hasten the party's disciplinary action against him, which could see Mr Carter expelled from Labour altogether.

Radio New Zealand understands Mr Carter does not intend to return to the House until 5 October, following a two-week recess.