Green MPs quit over Metiria Turei revelations

David Clendon and Kennedy Graham have announced they will quit the Green Party in protest after co-leader Metiria Turei's admission of benefit fraud and the subsequent fallout.

The two MPs - two of the longest standing members of the party - have removed themselves from the party's list.

Ms Turei said on Friday that she wouldn't resign, but ruled herself out of becoming a minister if the Greens were part of a Government after the election.

Greens co-leader James Shaw says the party is "disappointed" the MPs are stepping down but the party respects their right to do so.

"I want to thank both David and Kennedy for their service to the Green Party. We wish David and Kennedy all the best.

The Green Party is fortunate to have high-calibre and energetic candidates on the party list, who are campaigning hard for the party.

With this decision, candidates including Hayley Holt, Teall Crossen, Teanau Tuiono, Leilani Tamu, Matt Lawrey and Elizabeth Kerekere all move up two places on the Green Party list."

David Clendon, left, and Kennedy Graham, right.
David Clendon, left, and Kennedy Graham, right. Photo credit: Facebook

A former UN official, foreign diplomat and University of Victoria lecturer, Dr Kennedy Graham was involved in the negotiation of the South Pacific Nuclear-Free Zone in the 1980s. He joined the Greens in 2005 and is the chair of New Zealand's cross-party group of MPs committed to climate action.

David Clendon became an MP in 2009, coming in off the list following Sue Bradford's resignation. His Green Party profile says he is one of seven raised in a working-class family in Otara, and he has "always understood the needs of the most vulnerable".

He contested the leadership of the party following the death of Rod Donald. He has been the party's Corrections spokesman.

Mr Graham was at number 8 on the party's list, and Mr Clendon was at number 16. They have already been removed from the party's website.

In the most recent Newshub-Reid Research poll an overwhelming majority of voters said Ms Turei was wrong to commit benefit fraud in the 1990s, which she admitted to last month while launching the party's welfare policy.

A Newshub investigation revealed last week Ms Turei had also been enrolled to vote in an electorate she did not live in, and that her mother was one of her flatmates at the time.

Mr Graham and Mr Clendon have been contacted for comment.