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NZ Labour renegade labels Ardern a liar

Jacinda Ardern is refusing to blink in a steely stand-off with a mutineer Labour MP who accuses her of lying and covering up a culture of bullying in her government.

Hamilton West MP Gaurav Sharma is set to be expelled from Ms Ardern's caucus at the partyroom's next meeting on Tuesday for a serious of damaging and destructive allegations.

Dr Sharma was suspended last week for going public with serious claims for which he has produced scant evidence.

After laying low for 48 hours, he emerged with a bombshell interview with Newshub's 6pm news, then a wide round of breakfast television and radio appearances.

"This is about the credibility of a nation's prime minister, who every step of the way has been lying," he told Radio NZ.

Until a week ago, Dr Sharma was a largely unknown backbench MP who owed his political career to Ms Ardern's landslide 2020 election win.

The 38-year-old fell out with his party when he was barred from hiring staff due to multiple employee complaints.

Dr Sharma feels he has been denied natural justice, both through the staffing process and then when sanctioned by his caucus.

Party members met to discuss Dr Sharma without telling him, leading him to label his suspension as a decision of a "kangaroo court in a banana republic".

"I want a public inquiry which will hold people to account," he said.

"Why is it that the prime minister is more interested in removing me than even giving me a fair public chance?

"There's a lot more going on that the prime minister doesn't want investigated."

Both Ms Ardern and Dr Sharma's number one target, former whip Kieran McAnulty, deny bullying claims.

The renegade MP has now expanded attacks beyond his own staffing grievance, lashing out at other party processes.

He told radio station Newstalk ZB that senior staffers and ministers ran workshops for MPs to dodge New Zealand's freedom of information laws, the official information act (OIA).

"They've had these right from day one," he said.

"Last Monday we had a workshop ... there were multiple sessions, how to talk to media and things like that.

"A whole conversation was how not to do things so that they get OIA-ed.

"Don't send anything in text. Don't send anything in email. Pick up the phone or go and talk to somebody face to face because what we don't want is a paper trail."

OIA laws in New Zealand are expansive and allow anyone to request relevant communications and documents on policy issues.

However, they do not cover parliament or party business, which means they do not apply to Dr Sharma's staff issue.

A Labour source said Monday's event was a "KFC and beer night" that formed part of ongoing training for new MPs.

Rather than advising MPs on how to dodge OIA scrutiny, the source said it was about ensuring communications were triaged appropriately to get answers for MPs and their constituents.

Despite the chaos Dr Sharma has unleashed, Ms Ardern appears unmoved, refusing to comment publicly.

Her office issued a short statement to confirm her caucus would consider expulsion when parliament meets next Tuesday.

It remains to be seen whether Dr Sharma will produce further evidence to back up his bullying claims, or if any other MPs will back him.

Dr Sharma has shared screenshots of text messages which suggest he is not alone in holding his views, and told TVNZ "at least six" MPs are concerned by Labour bullying, but feared retribution if they spoke up.

"Members of her caucus are still messaging me and saying 'there is a bullying problem in parliament, in the Labour party, and thank you for raising it'." he said

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