Labour MPs remain gagged from discussing the punishment meted out to their colleague David Cunliffe, but Mr Cunliffe's electorate committee lodged a formal complaint about the treatment of Mr Cunliffe by his own colleagues last night.
Labour leader David Shearer has demoted Mr Cunliffe and stripped his portfolios off him, citing disloyalty for attempting to undermine Mr Shearer's leadership at Labour's annual conference last weekend.
MPs were told at the caucus meeting that only Mr Shearer would speak on the issue and it is understood MPs were sent another memo yesterday to remind them not to talk about the matter publicly.
However, the demotion prompted anger from some Cunliffe supporters on Facebook and the Standard blog as well as calls for MPs who had publicly criticised Mr Cunliffe to also be punished.
One of Mr Cunliffe's New Lynn electorate committee members, Greg Presland, said the committee had concerns about the demotion and the criticisms by other MPs, such as the chief whip Chris Hipkins.
At a special meeting called yesterday, the New Lynn Electorate Committee of the Labour Party voted unanimously to express its full confidence in Mr Cunliffe.
Mr Presland said Mr Shearer had the power to demote Mr Cunliffe so there was little that could be done.
"But there are concerns about the way David has been treated. A lot of the criticism we felt was unjustified."
Quite how whatever the top body of the Labour Party calls itself will find time to rule on both the New Lynn complaint and John Tamihere's application for readmission to the party is anyone's guess.
But it illustrates just how divided and factional the Labour Party has become. Instead of uniting and attacking the Government (the core purpose of an opposition party), Labour is too busy fighting itself.
And just to rub it in, Listener columnist Jane Cliftoin has come up with possibly the quote of the week. In her piece entitled “Who, me?” On Cunliffe and Coups 101 Clifton wrote:
It’s the “Who, me?” and all the eyelash-batting that always gets me about coup fomenters.
Like a dozen plotters before him, David Cunliffe has today paid the price for believing, against all historical precedent, that he could mime his disloyalty, and not get into trouble because he didn’t actually utter the naughty words out loud.
For all that his supporters, inside and outside the caucus, are insisting that he did nothing wrong, he really and truly did the coupster’s equivalent of waving his knickers at disembarking sailors. He followed several of the bog-standard, by-the-numbers steps taught in Coups 101, to the point that he might have studied at the knee of Maurice Williamson, Brian Connell or Richard Prebble.
1. You make speeches with tacit but heavily coded inferences that if they made you the leader, you would introduce kick-butt policies that the incumbent is too gutless/politically unsound/incompetent to contemplate – carefully omitting specifics.
2. You tickle up edginess among the many anxious party supporters who are panicking at what they perceive is a lack of progress in the party’s profile and poll fortunes.
3. You agree to a live TV interview on the morning of the party’s annual conference debate about the rules for electing the leader at which you conspicuously avoid expressing support for the leader.
4. You do nothing to dispel the inference that dissatisfaction with the leadership, and an appetite for your ascendancy, is a big factor in the conference making sweeping constitutional changes about the leader’s election which appear to put a banana skin under the current leader’s foot.
5. You spend the conference wearing a smile that could power the California grid.
Ah yes; THAT smile...