8 Jul 2024

Former Green MP Darleen Tana speaks out on allegations and plea to resign

5:41 pm on 8 July 2024
Green MP Darleen Tana

Darleen Tana Photo: Green Party NZ

Embattled MP Darleen Tana does not accept a report into allegations relating to her husband's business and says it "substantially misrepresents her involvement".

Tana has spoken out, via a statement, in regards to the public plea from the Green Party for her to resign from Parliament following the allegations of migrant exploitation at her husband's business.

She resigned from the party after an investigation into the allegations - but the Green Party called a caucus meeting on Saturday, unanimously demanding she resign from Parliament.

  • Who is Darleen Tana, and why is she quitting the Greens?
  • In the statement, Tana said she did receive a copy of the report by investigator and barrister Rachel Burt, and attended the caucus meeting where it was discussed.

    "I do not feel that natural justice has been followed during this process, and at Saturday's hui it seemed clear that a pre-determined view had been formed prior to hearing from me.

    "I can confirm, as indicated during today's conference with the Green Party leadership, that I have subsequently resigned as a member of the Green Party.

    "I want to make it clear that I do not accept the findings of the report and believe that it substantially misrepresents the level of my involvement in my husband's business.

    "This was an investigation into what I knew and should have disclosed to my party leadership. I am therefore deeply concerned by the party's summary of the findings.

    "The report does not say that migrant exploitation has occurred, let alone that I am responsible for it in any capacity.

    "I have only had a short time to consider this report, and am taking some time to consider it before making any further comment."

    Green Party 'disappointed'

    Chlöe Swarbrick speaks about Darleen Tana

    Green Party co-leader Chlöe Swarbrick Photo: RNZ / Samuel Rillstone

    Before the release of Tana's statement, Green Party co-leader Chlöe Swarbrick reiterated to Checkpoint that Tana's behaviour had fallen "far short" of what was expected of Green Party members and MPs in general.

    "I have not heard back from her on the substance of the request from us for her resignation.

    "What Darleen has done, her behaviour, and her unwillingness to acknowledge that behaviour, or to be accountable to it, falls far short of the expectations that we have of a Green MP effectively, she did not meet the standards that we hold not only for Green MPs but for members of Parliament entirely.

    "As I said earlier today, I feel utterly betrayed. I feel incredibly disappointed, yet we continue to be as crystal clear as we possibly can that, you know, Darleen, if you're listening, please do the right thing here."

    In addition to the report's findings, Swarbrick believed Tana had lied to them.

    "It is also our very strong view that she has misled myself and Marama ... if we can be straight up about it, it is our strong view that she lied to us.

    "I take absolutely no joy and no pleasure in what it is that we have had to do today.

    "I find it incredibly difficult, on a really personal level, to reconcile my view and understanding of somebody who I thought I knew and loved to that effect with somebody who has engaged in this behaviour, but also not being forthright and upfront about it."

    Tana had received a draft version of the report about two weeks ago and had the chance to provide "substantive and detailed" feedback, she said.

    Tana could continue as an MP for the remainder of the term - unless the party uses the contentious 'party hopping' legislation.

    The party is unlikely to do so, however, having consistently been ideologically opposed to the legislation.

    What has led to this?

    Tana has been suspended on full pay since March, after a series of allegations of migrant exploitation against her husband Christian Hoff-Nielsen's bicycle company, and claims she was also involved.

    The claims include texts showing Tana told a migrant worker he could continue working in her husband's bike shop despite that being a breach of his visa conditions.

    Other migrant workers complained of unpaid wages, with Tana still being involved in related decisions despite her resignation as a director and shareholder in 2019.

    Burt's investigation was launched immediately after the accusations came to light, but has taken nearly four months to reach a conclusion.

    Sunday marked 115 days since she was suspended, and means she has now spent more time suspended on full pay than acting in her role as an MP.

    The party is yet to release the full report into Tana's actions, saying they were still in the process of contacting those named in it for privacy reasons.

    "For sake of expediency, we've already contacted all parties named in the executive summary in relation to their privacy interests, with the intention of releasing that as soon as is practically possible," Swarbrick said.

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