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Retiring New Zealand MP bags her own party

Retiring New Zealand Labour MP and human rights champion Louisa Wall has lashed her own party as “corrupt” for engineering her exit from parliament.

Ms Wall made the explosive claim in her valedictory speech on Thursday, following a series of interviews which have shined a spotlight on Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s hardline governing style.

Ms Wall, a former rugby and netball international, said she was “devastated” to be forced out of her electorate seat in 2020 by the “unconstitutional actions” of party president Clare Szabo, an ally of Ms Ardern.

“It is as a result of that corrupt process that I’m standing to deliver my valedictory statement today,” she said.

“In 2020, I agreed to leave because … being on a team where there was no appetite for your contribution is not healthy.

“This was not entirely my choice.”

Ms Wall returned to parliament following the 2020 election as a non-electorate MP because of the wave of support for Labour.

The party engineered her exit, appointing her to a newly created role of Pacific Gender Equality Ambassador.

The 50-year-old leaves parliament with the legacy of legalising same-sex marriage through her private member’s bill in 2013.

She also drove laws to make revenge porn illegal and create no-protest zones outside abortion clinics.

Ms Wall’s legislative talent made her an obvious choice for cabinet, but she was not picked to serve under Ms Ardern.

She attributed that to her support for former leader David Cunliffe ahead of Ms Ardern’s longtime ally Grant Robertson, now the deputy prime minister.

“The prime minister told me I would never be in her cabinet. It wasn’t just that she didn’t want me in her cabinet, she was obviously very clear she didn’t want me in her caucus,” Ms Wall told TVNZ, denying she was sulking.

“The coach didn’t pick me for a particular role (but) I was prepared to get on with the job,” she told Radio NZ.

“Being a cabinet minister wasn’t a be-all and end-all. It isn’t the limit of what parliamentarians can achieve and champion here in parliament.”

Ms Ardern didn’t deny blacklisting Ms Wall, but said she was treated fairly.

“I don’t want to detract from the 14 years of service that Louisa has given … a number of really significant bills. I’m proud to have supported all of them. They will leave a legacy,” she told TVNZ.

Ms Ardern was not present for Ms Wall’s valedictory.

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