Green MP Darleen Tana spends 115 days suspended – half her political career

By Thomas Coughlan of

Marika Khabazi

Today marks the 115th day since Green MP Darleen Tana was suspended from caucus amid allegations she is linked to migrant exploitation at her husband’s company.

The grim milestone means Tana has been suspended on full pay for more than half her entire career as an MP. In that time, MPs were given a sizeable, backdated pay rise taking, taking her base salary to $168,600.

This means she will have earned over $40,000 during the more than three months of her suspension.

Tana was suspended following allegations of migrant exploitation involving her husband Christian Hoff-Nielsen’s bicycle company. Hoff-Nielsen denied all the exploitation allegations at the time and told the Herald: “This is not a news story, there is no news.”

The Greens hired barrister Rachel Burt to look into the allegations. The status of that investigation, including whether it has concluded, is unclear.

The Greens say that in the interest of preserving natural justice, they are not giving updates on the status of the report until the party has reached a conclusion.

For some time, the Green Party has been saying that the investigation has been close to wrapping up.

On 9 April, Green co-leader Marama Davidson told The Hui the party was “coming towards the end of that independent investigation”.

In May, Green co-leader Chlöe Swarbrick suggested in an interview with Newstalk ZB the issue was close to being resolved.

She wouldn’t give a specific date on when Burt would report back but said the matter had “progressed quite substantially”.

Asked why the investigation hadn’t yet concluded, Swarbrick noted how its terms of reference had been expanded following fresh allegations becoming public through media reporting.

That month, the Herald reported that an investigation into the allegations cost $43,000, paid for out of the publicly-funded bulk allowance the Greens receive through Parliament, as do all other parties in Parliament.

Things went from bad to worse in May when Tana was referred to the police due to an alleged issue with a paid article in Verve Magazine. That issue relates to the alleged failure to include a promoter statement in an election advertisement published last May.

* This story was first published by the New Zealand Herald.

According to the news on Radio New Zealand

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