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Cablegate: Rogue National Mp Is Shown the Door After Caucus Vote

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RR RUEHNZ
DE RUEHWL #0753 2690506
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 260506Z SEP 06
FM AMEMBASSY WELLINGTON
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 3307
INFO RUEHNZ/AMCONSUL AUCKLAND 0932
RHHMUNA/CDR USPACOM HONOLULU HI
RHHJJAA/JICPAC HONOLULU HI
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHINGTON DC
RHEHAAA/NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL WASHDC

UNCLAS WELLINGTON 000753

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE

STATE FOR D (FRITZ), EAP/FO, AND EAP/ANP
NSC FOR VICTOR CHA
SECDEF FOR OSD/ISD LIZ PHU
PACOM FOR J01E/J2/J233/J5/SJFHQ

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV NZ
SUBJECT: ROGUE NATIONAL MP IS SHOWN THE DOOR AFTER CAUCUS VOTE
1. (SBU) The leader of the National Party, Dr. Don Brash, has
shocked the political establishment by announcing that outspoken
National MP Brian Connell has been suspended from National's caucus

after a secret ballot. At a caucus meeting two weeks ago, Connell
challenged Brash over his alleged affair with a businesswoman - a
confrontation which was leaked to the media. Connell is suspected
being the source of the leak, which he denies. Although Brash said
that there is no evidence to prove that Connell was the leak, his
public comments after that caucus meeting confrontation was the
final straw after years of "destructive behavior" (Connell often
publicly criticized Brash and his policies).
2. (SBU) A former National Minister who represented Connell's
constituency has told post that National supporters there have had
enough of Connell and his badmouthing of the party. Suspension from
caucus is a serious step to be taken against an MP. Connell can no
longer be assigned any tasks by the party whips, and will be out in
the cold in Parliament. Brash said he believed he could rely on
Connell's vote in Parliament. Yet, given the number of differences
Connell has had with his leader, his vote cannot be guaranteed.
3. (SBU) Connell said he was shocked by the move and apparently
received no prior warning. He would not comment on his political
future. He did say that he was not considering quitting Parliament
and forcing a by-election in his South Island country electorate or
leaving the National Party (he remains a National MP and could
conceivably return to caucus) to become an independent. He does,
however, refuse to rule anything out. At a time when Labour is on
the ropes in the polls and in Parliament, it will welcome this
problem for National with opened arms. Expect Labour to dine out on
it as the media focus moves from it to National - for the time
being.

McCormick

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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