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MPs nervous about pasts - Hide

MPs in Parliament are wondering what skeletons in their own closets may come out after ACT's David Garrett quit yesterday over revelations he once stole a dead child's identity.ACT Party leader Rodney Hide told Radio New Zealand Mr Garrett's replacement H

NZPA and NBR staff
Fri, 24 Sep 2010

MPs in Parliament are wondering what skeletons in their own closets may come out after ACT's David Garrett quit yesterday over revelations he once stole a dead child's identity.

ACT Party leader Rodney Hide told Radio New Zealand Mr Garrett's replacement Hilary Calvert, who will be sworn in when Parliament sits again on October 12, did not think she had anything to hide.

"She says for the life of her she can't think of any," he told Radio New Zealand.

However he said sitting MPs were worried.

"I've spoken to MPs from across the House and they are sitting there scratching, wondering what they do need to reveal about their past.

"I think a lot of people have things in their past that they can be embarrassed and ashamed by."

He said candidates would face a tougher time from now on.

Mr Garrett, disgraced by his own admission that he used a dead infant's identity to get a false passport in 1984, resigned from ACT last week and ended his political career by sending a letter to Speaker Lockwood Smith yesterday.

"As a result of my foolish actions 26 years ago I now have other battles to face," ACT's former law and order spokesman said.

Mr Hide said while Mr Garrett had resigned and allowed ACT to move on with five MPs (he could have remained as an independent) Labour's Chris Carter had stayed to be a niggle in the side of his former party.

Mr Carter came back to Parliament yesterday from two months' stress leave, taken after he was expelled from Labour's caucus for trying to discredit party leader Phil Goff.

Mr Carter sent an anonymous letter to the news media claiming there was going to be a leadership coup because Labour couldn't win the next election under Mr Goff.

It didn't take Mr Goff long to figure out who wrote the letter and he will not forgive and forget.

"It was deceitful, it was treacherous, it was dishonest and it was utterly unacceptable to every member of the Labour caucus," Mr Goff told NZPA.

Mr Carter had avoided a showdown with Labour's council by being away sick, but now he is back Mr Goff and party president Andrew Little expect him to front up at a meeting which will decide whether he should be expelled from the party.

Mr Carter spent most of yesterday holed up in his office but issued a statement saying he still considered himself to be a Labour MP. He apparently intends to stay on at Parliament until next year's election.

Dr Smith has told Parliament Mr Carter is an independent MP. He has given Mr Carter an office on a different floor to the rest of the Labour caucus.

Prime Minister John Key found the situation amusing, suggesting Mr Carter might end up in ACT's vacant slot.

NZPA and NBR staff
Fri, 24 Sep 2010
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MPs nervous about pasts - Hide
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