Dark forces at work in Act Party, says Garrett

By Derek Cheng

Act Party MP David Garrett. Photo / Mark Mitchell
Act Party MP David Garrett. Photo / Mark Mitchell

Act leader Rodney Hide and MP-in-waiting Hilary Calvert will front up to the media today to show party unity, following the resignation of David Garrett from Parliament and a reopening of rifts in the caucus.

Speaker Lockwood Smith yesterday accepted Mr Garrett's resignation, effective immediately.

Ms Calvert, 55, a Dunedin lawyer, is next on the Act list and is expected to enter Parliament on its next sitting day, October 12.

Mr Garrett said it was "untenable" for him to stay as an independent MP. He spoke of "dark forces" working within Act.

He quit the party last week after admitting he used the identity of a dead child to obtain a passport. He was discharged without conviction, but it was revealed he had kept secret an assault conviction from when he lived in Tonga in 2002, which he was appealing.

"I deeply regret the damage my actions have caused the Act Party, and I wish my former colleagues all the very best for the future," Mr Garrett said.

But in an interview with the Truth Weekender, Mr Garrett said the leaks to media that had led to his downfall were aimed at smearing Mr Hide, and he had been the collateral damage.

"I just think it would be stretching things to say all of this was a coincidence - first the Tonga difficulties emerge, then followed closely by this [passport scandal] in the week that Rodney was away in Hong Kong," Mr Garrett told the Truth.

In the article, he said former deputy leader Heather Roy had clear designs on the leadership and his downfall was a result of an attempt to undermine Mr Hide's leadership.

"It's been described as collateral damage. I supported Rodney ... I suppose they decided that if I went down in flames, I'd got what I deserved."

Mrs Roy was dumped as deputy leader last month in a caucus vote, in which Mr Garrett supported Mr Hide.

In the days following that, her former adviser Simon Ewing-Jarvie leaked documents that portrayed Mr Hide as an intimidating bully.

Mr Garrett said there were "dark forces" operating within Act and that was why he had quit.

Yesterday, Mrs Roy was again forced to say she had no designs on being party leader.

"I'm not standing for the leadership, I've never stood for the leadership or challenged Rodney."

She denied being behind the leaks.

"It wasn't me, it wasn't anyone associated with me."

She laughed off the comments about dark forces, saying, "I think everybody might have been reading too much Star Wars."

- NZ Herald

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