In expelling Chris Carter from the party, Labour's all-powerful national council did the only thing it could do.

The decision looks to be even more justified after Andrew Little, the party's president, revealed that during last night's hearing on whether the Te Atatu MP should remain a party member, Carter had gone as far as warning he would disclose "a lot of information on a lot of individuals" in the Labour caucus if it suited him to do so.

If such a threat was made - and Little would not make such a statement unless it was true - then it only confirms the party's highest body has done the right thing.

Some in the party feel that despite Carter's recent lapses, some compassion ought to have been shown to him given his contribution to the party over the years.

They would have thought a temporary suspension of his membership would have been the more appropriate response. That would have offered Carter a route back (even if a long one) to the institution he has loved and cherished and for which he had worked so strenuously and continually.

Such a solution would have also had the big plus of keeping him in the tent (at least sort of). Despite Phil Goff's assertion that Carter no longer has any relevance for Labour, the MP is now a very loose cannon free to let rip at his own choosing.

There might have been a larger groundswell in favour of leniency had Carter shown some contrition for his behaviour.

However, media interviews with Carter in recent days showed that commodity to be largely - though not completely - absent.

Instead, Carter continued to bag Phil Goff to the extent of claiming at least four other senior MPs were capable of making a better fist of the leadership than the incumbent.

The message that members of national council would have taken from Carter's musings is that regardless of the MP's stated intention to kiss and make up, he simply could no longer be trusted.

In reaching its decision, the council was not driven solely by the need to buttress Goff's leadership in the face of Carter's undermining of it.

The council would have looked silly had it relented and given Carter a lighter punishment only for the MP to continue to say Labour cannot win next year's election with Goff at the helm.

Perversely, Labour's ruling body would have felt further vindicated by Carter's extravagant and vituperative language on hearing of his expulsion this morning.

Carter labelled the decision variously as spiteful, petty, vindictive, unprofessional and appalling. This is the talk of someone who still has a very large axe to grind. For that reason, Carter's expulsion, though regrettable, was inevitable.