Outgoing Labour MP Louisa Wall has fired another broadside at the Labour Party in her valedictory speech to Parliament this afternoon, ending a 14-year parliamentary career.
While paying tribute to her family, and some of her colleagues, Wall also laid out her side of the story of what drove her to leave Parliament - a decision that, in Wall's telling, was not made of her own accord.
Wall said she was "forced out" of her Manurewa electorate before the last election, "by the unconstitutional actions of the Party President, Claire Szabó, and some members of the Council [Labour's governing body)".
"I was devastated," Wall said.
Wall said the process leading to her ouster was "corrupt".
"The President accepted a late nomination [for the current Labour MP in the seat, Arena Williams], did not share the fact of its late receipt with the Council until questions were asked and then retrospectively tried to justify and legitimise her actions," Wall said.
Williams was eventually selected as Labour's candidate in the seat and Wall went on the party list as part of a deal brokered with senior Labour figures. Williams attended the valedictory, but left immediately after the closing waiata was sung.
Szabó soon issued a statement, saying: "The processes of the Manurewa selection in 2020 were in accordance with the Labour Party constitution. However I do not wish to detract from Louisa's many achievements as an MP. The Party wishes her well for the future."
Wall described a "devastation" committed against the electorate.
Wall said the "devastation" was not just against herself, but "about the devastation wrought on my Manurewa Labour Electorate Committee when their voting rights were removed to ensure that a central party vote would prevail".
Wall said she was supported by "life members" of the party on her local committee, some who had served since Roger Douglas and later George Hawkins held the seat.
Wall said she wanted to apologise to her local party members for the actions of the Labour Party.
"The way they were treated in order to punish me is reprehensible. And it is as a result of that corrupt process that I am standing to deliver my valedictory statement today," Wall said.
Wall said that in 2020 she agreed to leave Parliament in the current term, "because irrespective of the merits of challenging certain actions, being in a team where there is no appetite for your contribution, is not healthy".
She was "placed on the list just below where I had been in 2017 and accepted that [she] was to resign as an MP during this term".
Wall thanked colleagues Michael Wood, Nanaia Mahuta, and former MP Tim Barnett for their "integrity in assisting in the process of reaching an agreement".
Wall said giving her valedictory was "fulfilling [her] part of the agreement" to leave.
"But I do want to be very clear that this was not entirely my choice".
The speech then turned to happier memories, including her 2013 Member's Bill which legalised marriage equality.
The journey to marriage equality was "a rapid-fire course in process and procedures" - and despite it being included in the Labour manifesto, it was not universally supported in caucus, Wall said. Even the "deputy leader" at the time was not entirely supportive. Though he was not named in the speech, Labour's deputy leader at the time was current Deputy Prime Minister Grant Robertson.
"It was during this journey that I experienced most acutely how personal politics can override kaupapa.
"For me, the debate around marriage equality was rooted in basic human rights principles.
"How could the state deny the rights of a group of people to enter into the state-recognised institution of marriage," Wall said.
Wall said "one regret" was that the party and Parliament had not been able to recognise Māori as tangata whenua in the Constitution Act.
Wall said she could not get support for this through caucus, and she was directed to withdraw a Member's Bill to this effect from the Member's Ballot before the 2020 election.
She had been able to raise issues of "housing, period poverty, FGM, surrogacy, alcohol policies, early childhood education, revenge porn, safe zones, and protections of journalists' sources".
Wall said her "commitment to human rights" will be uppermost in her mind as she moves into a new role as an Ambassador for Gender Equality in the Pacific.
She also thanked her family: "While there have been obstacles to face and overcome, I leave knowing that I did what I could within those constraints," she said.
"To use a sporting analogy, I left it all on the field."
Ardern 'didn't want me in Cabinet'
Wall announced her resignation a fortnight ago. She departed Parliament in order to take up a diplomatic role fighting for gender equality in the Pacific.
Her resignation was soon overshadowed by a round of interviews in which Wall lifted the lid on her dispute with Labour.
She described the Manurewa episode as "unforgivable".
"I can't not say it affected me and I can't say it wasn't traumatic," Wall said.
"But it didn't just affect me. It actually affected the lives of a whole lot of other people."
She later told TVNZ's Q+A Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern had said directly Wall would "never" be a Minister under her leadership.
Wall said she had been on the outer edges of the Labour Party because she backed David Cunliffe for leader in the past. Ardern, and her ally Grant Robertson had been staunch members of the ABC (Anyone But Cunliffe) faction.
"I'm not a minister because the Prime Minister told me I would never be in her Cabinet. And that was her decision, obviously, and I accepted that decision and then just got on with the job," Wall said.
"There were messages, probably not so subtle, that it wasn't just she didn't want me in her Cabinet – she was also very clear that she didn't want me in her caucus. Again, you're going to have to ask her about why she thought there was no place for someone like me in the Labour Party caucus."
Wall told the Herald that MPs sometimes had to pick a team.
"Sometimes you make a decision really early and then that's it," says Wall.
"I've always tried to just get on with my job and be part of the team but it's very hard to be part of somebody's team if they don't want you to be part of their team or if they exclude you."
But Wall told TVNZ's Breakfast the speech would be an opportunity to have "clarity" and to "put some things on record that I think need to be known".