Green MP Darleen Tana suspended amid migrant exploitation claims

A Green Party MP has been suspended amid allegations of migrant exploitation against her husband’s company

The Green Party has confirmed to RNZ Tana was suspended on Thursday afternoon, after questions from Stuff.

An investigation is being carried out by Barrister Rachel Burt.

Tana initially raised the allegations with the Green Party on 1 February.

“On February 9, the party was notified of a second complaint to the ERA,” the Greens said in a statement.

“These complaints included allegations against Ms Tana. Ms Tana has not been a director or shareholder of E Cycles NZ since 2019.”

Stuff reports two workers have lodged Employment Relations Authority claims against the e-bike business owned by Tana’s husband, Christian Hoff-Nielsen.

Green Party co-leader Marama Davidson told Morning Report Tana was removed from the small business portfolio when the party was first made aware of the allegations on 1 February.

Davidson defended not immediately standing down Tana saying they were not initially aware of her own alleged involvement or knowledge.

“The allegations are serious and we are taking this seriously.

“It was yesterday that it came to our attention that Ms Tana may have had some prior knowledge of the allegations, that is why we have appointed an independent investigation.”

Davidson said the public wasn’t advised when Tana was removed from her portfolio because of the need to keep mediation matters private.

Green party co-leader Marama Davidson

“The allegations are absolutely serious… We have long campaigned to ensure everyone that comes to Aotearoa to make their home is treated with compassion and kindness in the workplace.”

It’s the latest in a string of incidents involving Green MPs and Davidson admitted the party was “going through some times.”

Greens co-leader Chlöe Swarbrick told NewtalkZB Tana had agreed she should be stood down while “a full independent expert inquiry” was being carried out.

It would establish whether Tana had any awareness or knowledge of what had occurred.

“These are deeply serious allegations. Anyone who comes to this country deserves to be treated with respect and with dignity and the exploitation of migrants has absolutely no place here.”

Chloe Swarbrick

Swarbrick refused to say when asked several times if Tana had denied the allegations, saying it would put “fair process at risk”.

She insisted the party “took swift decisive action” once it became aware Tana might have had some prior knowledge of the allegations.

“Green MPs are expected to maintain high standards of public and private behaviour. To understand fully what Ms Tana knew, and when, we are appointing an independent lawyer to conduct an investigation into the matter. Ms Tana will stand aside from all caucus and parliamentary responsibilities until the matter is resolved,” the party said in its statement.

“We cannot comment on the specific allegations while the matter is waiting mediation and the independent investigation is ongoing.”

According to the news on Radio New Zealand

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