Porirua Mayor Nick Leggett believes there is a "purge" going on within Labour to rid itself of members considered "right wing."

He takes issue with Labour leader Andrew Little's description of him yesterday as "right wing" and says he is a "moderate."

"I supported and continue to support a capital gains tax as a policy. Andrew Little doesn't. Who is more right wing?" he said.

"I believe I'm of the centre-left, however within Labour I have always been a moderate," Leggett told the Herald.


He said he was "pro-enterprise" but as mayor of Porirua, he had also been a strong advocate for social issues in the city.

"It's a sad day for a party that once regarded itself as a broad church. It shows that a purge of the few party members left (and MPs) regarded as "right wing" is well under way."

Leggett is standing as an independent in the mayoral contest in Wellington against the Labour Party endorsed candidate, Justin Lester, the current deputy mayor of Wellington.

Leggett resigned from the Labour Party just before announcing his nomination. In that way he avoided being expelled because it against the rules for members to stand against endorsed candidates.

Little made his attack on Leggett yesterday while explaining why he had asked Napier MP Stuart Nash not to speak at an event at which Leggett and Labour critic and ex-member Phil Quin were speaking.

Little: "It was an event involving a number of right-wingers who have routinely sought to undermine the Labour Party."

Little also said Leggett's campaign was being run by an Act identity and that his campaign was being funded by "right-wingers."

Leggett said his campaign manager was Michael Gregg and he was not a member of any political party.

"My campaign committee has people on both the left and the right - as you would expect in any broad-based local government campaign."

Nash decided to take Little's advice and pulled out of the event - which was held in Auckland - but Mt Albert MP David Shearer, who along with Nash, is considered to be one of the caucus moderates, did attend.

Both are refusing to comment on the issue.