Swarbrick defends Green Party as a safe place for wāhine Māori MPs

WATCH: Chlöe Swarbrick defends the Green Party as a safe place for wāhine Māori MPs.

At a press conference today announcing the Green Party caucus’ unanimous decision to call for Darleen Tana’s resignation, co-leader Chlöe Swarbrick was forced to defend the party’s track record with its wāhine Māori MPs.

It was revealed Tana resigned from the party on Saturday after she gave a presentation to the caucus alongside her lawyer, following a months-long investigation into claims she was linked to migrant exploitation at her husband’s company.

Following her resignation from the party, the caucus unanimously voted for the co-leaders’ recommendation that she be asked to resign from Parliament altogether.

Darleen Tana. Image / Te Ao Māori News (Composite)

Tana is the second wāhine Māori MP to leave the party in two years, after Elizabeth Kerekere left over allegations of bullying, including calling Swarbrick a ‘cry baby’ in a Green Party group chat.

Following that, at least seven other past and present Green Party staff came forward with allegations of bullying and combative behaviour from Kerekere.

Waatea News’ Claudette Hauiti asked Swarbrick to explain how safe wāhine Māori MPs in the party really were.

“I just firstly acknowledge that I, of course, am a Pākehā co-leader, and I am standing here without our wahine Māori co-leader, the Hon. Marama Davidson.”

Swarbrick said Davidson was actively involved in the process that led to this point, despite taking leave for treatment and recovery after a breast cancer diagnosis last month.

Green Party co-leader Chlöe Swarbrick at a press conference this afternoon, flanked by fellow Green MPs Teanau Tuiono and Ricardo Menéndez March.

When asked if the party was racist or unsafe for wāhine Māori, Teanau Tuiono, who chairs Te Mātāwaka, the party’s Māori and Pasifika caucus, said he “wouldn’t go there”.

“So this is not about who Darleen is, this is about what she’s done.

“When you’re down at the marae, you look after the ringawera.”

“If you’re down at your workplace, you look after the workers, and we’ve got a longstanding tradition of standing up against migrant exploitation, and standing up for worker’s rights, and that’s what’s important here.”

The Green Party is yet to release any detail from the months-long report commissioned from barrister Rachel Burt.

“To be clear, our preference would have been the immediate release of the full report but we must continue to follow good practice around privacy rights and law.”

Te Ao Māori News contacted Darleen Tana for her response. She issued a statement to media in reply. See here.