Jacinda Ardern reportedly told Louisa Wall she would 'never' be minister under her leadership

Outgoing Labour MP Louisa Wall claims Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern told her she'd "never" be a minister under her leadership and it was "very clear" she wasn't wanted in her caucus.

Wall announced nearly two weeks ago that she had resigned from Parliament and cited "events during the 2020 election" as the reason.

Ahead of the election in 2020, Wall gave up trying to defend her Manurewa electorate seat, after a legal battle over who was allowed to stand for the party's nomination. 

Wall held the seat since 2011 but ended up running on the Labour Party list. Her withdrawal came after threatening legal action against her party for allowing a late nomination by Arena Williams to contest the seat, which she won.  

"My resignation has come about following events during the 2020 election. Leaving Parliament is always tinged with some sadness but I do so still passionate about serving New Zealanders," Wall said in a statement on March 29.

"While I'm resigning from Parliament at this time, I'll continue to be involved in the issues I am passionate about; particularly indigenous rights, human rights, equality and the rights of women and the LGBTQI+ community."

Wall has been an MP for 13 years but has never held a ministerial portfolio, raising questions about whether she was too controversial. 

The Labour MP made headlines in mid-2021, first suggesting her own Government should be doing more to stop China's alleged human rights abuses, and then accepting a National Party speaking slot on mental health after Labour didn't give her one. 

Ardern at the time said at the time there was no room in Cabinet

But appearing on TVNZ's Q+A on Sunday, Wall revealed an apparent divide between her and party leadership.

"The Prime Minister told me I'd never be in her Cabinet," she said.

Wall added she often felt unwelcome in the party overall.

"I think there were messages, probably not so subtle, that it wasn't just she didn't want me in her Cabinet. She was obviously very clear that she didn't want me in her caucus," Wall said.

Louisa Wall.
Louisa Wall. Photo credit: Getty Images

Wall has been part of progressive legislative wins, including marriage equality and allowing for the creation of safe zones around abortion clinics. Despite this, she had always been on the outside of the Ardern-led Labour Party and believed this might stem from her backing David Cunliffe as party leader a decade ago instead of Grant Robertson.

"That probably meant for them I was never part of their specific team, even though I was part of and am part of the Labour team. That really for me can be the only explanation, that there are teams within teams and I wasn't on the team that they ultimately decided would be the ones that sat around the Cabinet table," Wall said.

When asked for a response, a spokesperson for the Prime Minister's Office told Newshub that Ardern gave a comment when Wall first announced her resignation and didn't have anything further to add.

After Wall said she was resigning, Ardern was asked whether the outgoing MP got a "fair deal" from the Labour Party.

"Oh absolutely. She's been a member of our Labour whanau for 14 years and has the support of our team and will continue to have the support of our team," Ardern said.

"There will be members of Parliament across their careers who would have hoped to have taken on different roles in their time. What Louisa has demonstrated is that has not meant that she hasn't been able to achieve a significant amount. She has."

Wall will deliver her valedictory speech in Parliament on Thursday before taking up a role as Ambassador for Gender Equality in the Pacific.