Labour bullying allegations: Jacinda Ardern, Dr Gaurav Sharma yet to speak about rogue MP booted from caucus

Nearly 24 hours after Labour MPs unanimously decided to boot Dr Gaurav Sharma from their caucus, he is still yet to speak to Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern or provide any formal response to his suspension.

When asked on Wednesday afternoon if she had yet spoken to the rogue MP, Ardern replied: "No, I have not."

She said attempts had been made by people within Labour to ensure Dr Sharma is okay, but didn't say whether those had been successful. 

"Without disclosing details that will be private to members of the team, we certainly have made every effort to make sure that there is support there and, of course, to ensure that we are available. But again, that needs to be done in keeping with what at this time the space that the member needs."

The MP is yet to provide any formal statement to media or on his social media accounts about his suspension.

After the special caucus meeting on Tuesday to decide Dr Sharma's fate, Ardern said she had had limited contact with the Hamilton West MP and hadn't been able to speak to him prior to her press conference to inform him about MPs' decision. 

Ardern said that despite Dr Sharma being involved in choosing the timing of the caucus meeting, he didn't turn up. He told media on Tuesday that he had prior commitments and felt another meeting of MPs on Monday night - which he wasn't invited to - had led to the outcome being pre-determined. Ardern disputes that.

On Wednesday, she reiterated that the Monday night meeting was "informal" and "not a caucus meeting". 

"It was simply a place for caucus members, who had unfortunately seen that in more formal settings their comments were either being shared or misrepresented, so there was a need for there to be a place where people could freely ask questions and talk about what might possibly happen in the future."

That's a reference to claims Dr Sharma has made about meetings he has had with Whips and other parliamentarians as well as his decision to share messages on social media purporting to be from other MPs.

Ardern rejected the suggestion that MPs who brought up questions about MP-to-MP bullying during the Monday meeting were shut down.

"No. But of course, I am also mindful that on issues like that, that's not necessarily the forum where such issues would be raised. 

"But what I have continually done with our caucus team is remind them that at any time they are free to approach me, our deputy leader of the Labour Party or any senior colleague that they would wish to raise any issues with."

Ardern said she has received messages endorsing the "firm, but fair work of our Whips".

Labour has consistently denied bullying allegations Dr Sharma has made against other MPs. They say his issues have arisen from interventions the party and Parliamentary Services put in place following complaints against him from staffers in his office. Ardern said Dr Sharma rejected these interventions. 

"There were performance management issues, issues being raised by staff on more than one occasion in Gaurav Sharma's office," said Ardern.

"What is being disputed is what the best way possible to have dealt with those. We stand by making sure that our MPs create a working environment that supports staff and that's why those interventions were made. 

"What this situation needs is not a declaration, but mediation. That is in any employment situation, the kind of tool that would be used and that is what we are suggesting and offering."

The Labour caucus will review Dr Sharma's suspension in December - or possibly before then if more issues come up - and it's not ruling out allowing him back into the group if his behaviour improves.

Asked if she wants him to stand for Labour in Hamilton West at next year's election, Ardern said Dr Sharma has an opportunity to return into the fold, but rebuilding trust was a job for him. 

Newshub has contacted Dr Sharma numerous times asking for a response to his suspension.