20 May 2024

Chloe Swarbrick on Green MPs Darleen Tana and Julie Anne Genter

9:48 am on 20 May 2024
Darleen Tana and Julie Anne Genter

Darleen Tana and Julie Anne Genter. Photo: RNZ

Over the weekend, the Greens took aim at the coalition government for its policies on proposed tax cuts and revised smoke-free laws.

Greens co-leader Chloe Swarbrick told Morning Report voters were being turned off politics by "anti-democratic, anti-environment, anti-Te Tiriti things that this government is doing at pace" and that meant more power held by "lobbyists and corporate superpowers".

Asked on Monday if her party was also contributing to the reasons why people might disengage from politics, Swarbrick said the Greens had taken "immediate steps to own up to that and to be accountable to it".

It has been nine weeks since MP Darleen Tana was suspended over allegations of migrant exploitation relating to her husband's e-bike company.

Tana was stood down by the Greens on 14 March. She has been off work and away from Parliament for half its sitting days this year, whilecontinuing to collect her full pay.

Swarbrick said the investigation report was out of her hands but was hoping it would be wrapped up soon.

"These are very serious allegations," she said.

"I think the natural justice process requires that people are not suspended without pay on the basis of those allegations alone. Again, that innocent until proven guilty principle is critical in a country like ours."

More recently, Rongotai MP Julie Anne Genter has come before Parliament's Privileges Committee for "threatening" behaviour in the debating chamber.

Green Party MP Chloe Swarbrick

Greens co-leader Chloe Swarbrick. Photo: RNZ / Angus Dreaver

Swarbrick said Genter's situation was different from National MP Tim van de Molen's - in that she immediately apologised.

Last year, van de Molen was found in contempt of Parliament, after threatening behaviour towards Labour's Shanan Halbert. National leader Christopher Luxon stood him down from all portfolios and recommended he be censured.

Genter still holds the transport portfolio.

Swarbrick said Genter's behaviour was completely unacceptable but that she had immediately apologised.

"In the chamber, prior to making the news at night or earlier in the morning, within minutes of that have been unfolded, Julie Anne was in the chamber immediately acknowledging and apologising for that behaviour," Swarbrick said.

"People make mistakes and need to own up to them, need to apologise and need to work through that. So what we're focused on is doing all of those things and getting on with the work."

Swarbrick said the Greens needed to regroup and focus on issues that mattered to voters.

Get the RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs