A lawyer is now acting for dissident Labour MP Chris Carter who is to take two months off work for stress-related issues.

The leave means any decisions about Mr Carter's future in the party may have to wait for weeks as Labour Party rules mean Mr Carter needs an opportunity to put his case before action is taken against him.

Mr Carter was thrown out of Labour's caucus last Thursday within hours of being identified as the author of an anonymous letter to the media saying the party couldn't win next year's election with Phil Goff as leader.

Since then senior Labour MPs have questioned his state of mind and yesterday party president Andrew Little said Mr Carter was "unwell" and wanted two months off.

"The party is pleased that he is getting the help he needs," Mr Little said.

The Labour Party whips can grant Mr Carter leave of up to 14 sitting days - Parliament sits three days a week and not every week. Once that period was up an application would need to be made to Speaker Lockwood Smith or Mr Carter's pay could be docked by $10 a day. As an MP Mr Carter earns about $145,000 a year.

While suspended from caucus Mr Carter is still a Labour MP.

Mr Little told Radio New Zealand this morning he had been dealing with Auckland lawyer Claudia Elliott.

"He needed to sort out taking some time out, he's approached through his representatives the Speaker's office. He was assisted in doing that by Phil Goff's office and the Labour's whips office to ensure that he actually got some leave and got some time out to deal with the situation that he's in."

Mr Little said Mr Carter had "sought some medical assistance, he has been diagnosed as suffering severe consequences of stress and that necessitates some time off".

The party's national council is to meet on Saturday and would discuss Mr Carter's actions.

Any decision, such as stripping him of party membership, could not now be quickly made.

"Our rules state that Chris Carter needs the opportunity to be heard before any disciplinary action is taken," Mr Little said yesterday.

"He will not be able to do that on Saturday because he is unwell."

Mr Goff has said he expected Mr Carter to be expelled, which would turn him into an independent MP, and wanted it over as quickly as possible to end media speculation and any drawn-out debate over the leadership issue.

Mr Carter appears to have been acting alone, because no other caucus member has come out in support of his belief that Mr Goff must be replaced to give Labour a chance of winning.

The Government, meanwhile, is twisting the knife.

"I don't think he's unwell...I think he's saying what he thinks is appealing to the majority of the caucus," Prime Minister John Key said yesterday.

"It might be a ham-fisted way of going about it, but I think there is widespread concern in that caucus."

- NZPA