Labour's nominations for the Te Atatu seat have been reopened in the wake of disciplinary action against sitting MP Chris Carter.

The New Zealand Council of the Labour Party, meeting in Wellington this morning, has decided Mr Carter has a case to answer under the party's disciplinary rules.

Mr Carter was not at the meeting but two of his lawyers, Claudia Elliot and Simon Mitchell, were in attendance.

The council has given Mr Carter's lawyers a statement of allegations against him under the party's rules and will await his response.

In the meantime, Labour leader Phil Goff will write to Parliament's Speaker Lockwood Smith on Monday, formally severing parliamentary ties with Mr Carter.

Mr Goff says that Mr Carter will then become an independent MP and that he was "irrelevant to our caucus".

Mr Carter is facing disciplinary action after circulating anonymous notes about Mr Goff designed to provoke a leadership coup and publicly saying Mr Goff could not win the election.

He has been expelled from caucus and is on two months' sick leave.

The effect of becoming an independent means that he will no longer be included in funding formulas for Labour and will attract his own parliamentary funding as a sole MP.

Before today Mr Carter was the sole nomination for Te Atatu and nominations had closed, but he had not yet been confirmed as required under the constitution.

His nomination will remain a live one until such time as he withdraws it or he is expelled from the party or resigns.

Nominations close on October 8, four days after Mr Carter is due back to work.

It is not known when the selection will take place but it is possible the new selection could be finalised before the disciplinary action is resolved.

Asked if the delay to disciplinary proceedings would be a statement on his leadership, Mr Goff said "well that's bullshit, frankly".

"That's just nonsense. the Labour Party must follow its own rules. That's due process.

"If we were not to do so we would be the subject of legal action. We don't intend that to be the case."

Mr Goff said Te Atatu was a Labour seat "and we believe it will stay that way whether there is an election or a byelection".

Mr Goff said he will be talking to former Labour Prime Minister Helen Clark tomorrow at a party thrown by Jonathan Hunt to celebrate his mother's 100th birthday.

According to Mr Little, Mr Carter's lawyers told the New Zealand Council he had had a long history in the party and that he remained committed to it.

"But we have to deal with the reality of what has happened, what his conduct has been, and deal with it under our constitution."

Labour Party President Andrew Little said nominations had been reopened on the basis that "with the impending disciplinary procedures there is a question over Chris' membership and also his public statements to the effect that he doesn't expect to be the candidate in next year's general election and therefore we have to prepare ourselves for that possibility."

The following are the rules in the Labour Party Constitution on disciplinary procedures:
DISCIPLINARY PROCEDURES
298. Forms of discipline available within the Constitution shall be censure, prohibition from seeking or holding any office, prohibition from seeking or holding candidacy, suspension of membership and expulsion from the Party.

Any of these disciplinary measures may be imposed, as appropriate, for specified periods of time, according to the New Zealand Council's resolution. Any communication whether verbal or in writing or otherwise made by any member or committee or organisation of the Party to another member or committee or organisation of the Party pursuant to or arising out of action taken under Rules 299 or 300 of this Constitution shall be privileged.

299. The New Zealand Council shall be the only body to determine disciplinary action against any Party member by its own motion or upon application by any constituent body of the Party.

300. Upon the application of any Branch or any Labour Electorate Committee or any other constituent body of the Party or by its own motion, the New Zealand Council may, for reasons determined sufficient by it, expel any person from membership of the Party or apply other forms of discipline. Such person shall be notified of the reasons and be given opportunity to state his or her case before the New Zealand Council.

301. In all cases, principles of natural justice shall apply. There shall be a right of appeal to a body constituted for the occasion by the New Zealand Council, consisting of three members of the Party. There shall be one further, subsequent and final right of appeal to the New Zealand Council. The ruling of the New Zealand Council shall be binding on all parties.

302. Disciplinary action shall be applied for and ruled upon on the grounds of:

i. contravention of the Principles, Rules and policies of the Party as contained in the current Constitution and policy documents of the Party;

ii. and/or for bringing the Party into disrepute;

iii. and/or for standing as a candidate in opposition to, or publicly campaigning against, an official Labour Parliamentary candidate or candidates or a Local Body candidate or candidates selected pursuant to the allocation of campaign rights under Rules 97-105. Any such person standing as a Parliamentary candidate shall, from the closing of candidate nominations, have their membership of the Party automatically suspended or be not permitted to join the Party for a period of two years unless the NZ Council specifically makes a different decision in that case. Any such person standing as a local body candidate shall have the suspension or the ban on joining the Party as set out applied by resolution of New Zealand Council.