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China paid for Chris Carter's Tibet trip

August 1, 2010

The Dominion Post (New Zealand)
July 30, 2010

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Labour's errant MP Chris Carter says the Chinese
government paid for his controversial trip to
China and Tibet which he didn't tell party leaders about.

His unauthorised absence annoyed party leader
Phil Goff and is one of the issues which led to
yesterday's meltdown and Mr Carter's expulsion from caucus.

"It was in the second week of a recess and the
Chinese government picked up the whole tab," he told NZPA today.

"There was no cost to the New Zealand taxpayer at all."

Mr Carter said he didn't tell party whips, or
seek permission, because no taxpayer funding was involved.

"It was offered to me about four months ago
because they were having a conference on poverty
alleviation...I was in China for six days and I
only spent one day in Tibet," he said.

Mr Carter said he thought that if he had spoken
to anyone about the trip, there would have been
"another media beat up" about it.

The Te Atatu MP was thrown out of caucus on a
unanimous vote yesterday after an abortive
attempt to undermine Mr Goff, and on August 7 the
party council will almost certainly expel him.

This afternoon Mr Goff said he hoped Mr Carter
was getting personal support and denied he was a
raising mental health issues to discredit him.

"I am not a physiatrist, I cannot address that
issue," Mr Goff told media in Mt Roskill this afternoon.

"Chris' behaviour has not been rational over
this, it has been anything but rational and it is unacceptable.

"On a personal level we would like to see support
given to him, but clearly his behaviour is such
he not fit to be a member of parliament."

He hoped Mr Carter and his partner were getting support.

"If he is having difficulties then on a human
side we would want to be supportive, on a
political side there is no room for somebody who behaved the way he behaved."

He denied the mental health questions were an attempt to discredit Mr Carter.

"I don't know if there is a mental health aspect
to it, but what I do know is that the behaviour
is very hard to comprehend or rationalise....

"I cannot tell you what state of mind I just know
the behaviour is unusual behaviour and it defies a rational explanation.

"I think Chris' problem is that he developed a
sense of entitlement, over his travel over his right to do anything he liked."

Mr Carter has said he will remain an independent
MP until the next election as Te Atatu's
representative. He said he would not stand in the next election.

An unsigned letter Mr Carter sent to media
representatives yesterday, seeking to undermine
Mr Goff and foment a coup against him, backfired spectacularly.

Mr Goff said Mr Carter did not follow the rules
when he took the trip because he didn't tell the party whips he was going away.

"That's two weeks we would have relied on him being here," Mr Goff said.

Mr Goff found out Mr Carter had left the country only after the fact.

Senior Labour MP Trevor Mallard said Mr Carter
went without permission from the Labour Party or
Mr Goff and had exhibited some "pretty unusual"
and "pretty irrational" behaviour lately.

The latest quarterly release yesterday of MPs'
travel details was probably a trigger for his
behaviour, Mr Mallard said, and he was worried about Mr Carter's behaviour.

Party president Andrew Little also suggested
people were concerned about Mr Carter, who had
been under a great deal of stress.

Mr Mallard said the rest of the Labour caucus was behind Mr Goff.

Mr Goff told NewstalkZB stress over Mr Carter's
expenditure was behind his outbreak, after he
mishandled apologising to the public in June for
using his ministerial credit card for items such as massages.

Ordered to apologise by Mr Goff, he led reporters
on a chase through the corridors of Parliament
and called a press conference the next day to say
he was sorry about the way he had spent taxpayer money.

"I gave him a second chance, but nobody gets a
third chance. He has not been up to doing the job
that I've required of him, I don't have
confidence in his judgment," Mr Goff said today.
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