West Coast Labour Party in tattersAssociate Minister of Forestry
Labour's blatant disregard for West Coasters' livelihoods is shattering crucial party support, including that of its own MP, Damien O'Connor," Associate Forestry Minister David Carter said today.
"Rumours are rife in Parliament that West Coast MP Damien O'Connor stormed out of the Labour party caucus meeting yesterday after a heated debate," Mr Carter said.
"This dissent was reinforced today with the announcement that West Coast election chairman Ross Overton is resigning in disgust over his party's indifference over the future of the Coast," Mr Carter said.
"Helen Clark's total ignorance of issues that matter on the Coast, such as jobs, sustainable forestry and party leader's ability to front up and listen to West Coast concerns is driving a wedge into the heart of party support on the Coast.
"Ms Clark is showing she's prepared to treat the West Coast as a sacrificial lamb in the blind pursuit of the extreme green vote," Mr Carter said.
"Forestry is critical for the West Coast's survival. Jobs are the lifeblood of the Coast. Labour's forestry and labour relations policies show it is prepared to suck the Coast dry of jobs and therefore a future.
"Helen Clark's refusal to meet with Coasters, even while on holiday last week, was shocking. Ms Clark was happy enough to be photographed tackling a West Coast glacier, but she didn't have a crampon big enough to tackle the icy reception she fears on the West Coast," Mr Carter said.