MP Darleen Tana: Greens will have ‘sensitive’ talks on invoking waka-jumping rule

Greens co-leader Chlöe Swarbrick is open to the idea of using the waka-jumping legislation to eject Darleen Tana from Parliament.

Tana has resigned from the Greens after the party’s independent review into allegations linking her to exploitation at her husband’s bicycle company.

But she hasn’t resigned from Parliament, and if she doesn’t, the Greens may have to use the waka-jumping rule – a law they hate – to force her out.

The Greens were yet to discuss whether they would invoke the legislation if Tana refused to resign, Swarbrick told Morning Report.

“I’m not interested into getting into the weeds of what a conversation within caucus might look like…”

However, the Greens were strongly opposed to the existence of the legislation, so it required “a sensitive and informed discussion at our caucus and within our party”.

Green MP Darleen Tana

Swarbrick agreed she was open to using the legislation as a last resort.

“Then absolutely we are open to having discussions about whatever it is necessary that comes next.”

The party is due to hold its annual general meeting in Christchurch later this month.

“Everything will be on the table in terms of discussions there. I think there’s a lot to learn from this entire process, especially when we are dealing with somebody who has not engaged in good faith with our party processes or been upfront with the co-leaders.”

Swarbrick has tried to contact the MP via phone calls and an email.

“Basically [I have] high hope Darleen gets the message loud and clear that the best way we can de-escalate this situation and minimise harm and potential collateral damage is for her to accept the recommendations unanimously from our caucus for her resignation as a member of Parliament.”

Swarbrick has denied Tana’s accusations that the report into her behaviour was substantially misrepresentative, saying it was “crystal clear”.

The party has asked Tana to release the report, but the party itself cannot, due to privacy law.

“In this instance if Darleen’s interest is to get into the weeds of debating what is within that report I guess, for the sake of public scrutiny, it makes sense for her to file her consent for the release of that report.”

“We have done absolutely everything that we can humanly can to uphold the natural justice and integrity of this process so we could get these robust evidential findings which we now have and have made a decision upon.”

If Tana had been upfront with co-leader Marama Davidson and Swarbrick the inquiry would not have been launched.

“We are strongly of the view that she has misled us. We are not only dealing with a situation where it is her behaviour in terms of not taking responsibility for what’s happened here but also that misleading.”

She said she couldn’t comment on any findings about migrant exploitation.

Swarbrick was asked about various controversies that have involved Green MPs over the last few months.

She said most New Zealanders would sympathise with the party that was dealing with “fallible” people and in the Tana case someone who had not told the party the truth.

Peters backs waka-jumping Tana

Acting Prime Minister Winston Peters on Tuesday told Morning Report Tana had unilaterally upset the “proportionality” of Parliament and needed to go.

NZ First has historically backed the waka-jumping law.

Peters said taxpayers had been footing Tana’s salary for more than 100 days while she was suspended from Parliament.

He was also critical of the Green Party for not releasing the full report into Tana, which had reached a $43,000 cost by May.

“The taxpayer has paid for it and they should be seeing it,” Peters said.

The report was paid for out of the Green Party leaders’ office budget. The party has cited privacy concerns and a need to notify people named in the report as a reason for why it has not yet been released.

According to the news on Radio New Zealand

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