More Green Party members speak out against Elizabeth Kerekere, saying she targeted Māori, Pasifika

By Craig McCulloch for RNZ

Green MP Elizabeth Kerekere's bullying included shutting out and belittling other Māori MPs, staff and volunteers, new accusers from within the party say.

RNZ last week reported the accounts of five sources close to the Greens who accused Kerekere of ongoing "mean girl behaviour" and a particular hostility towards caucus colleague Chlöe Swarbrick.

Since then, another two people have shared their experiences with RNZ under the condition of anonymity.

Kerekere - whose conduct is being investigated by the party - did not respond to RNZ's direct request for comment. A Green Party spokesperson said MPs would not be commenting while the internal review was underway.

A Māori member of the Greens and active role-holder said they were compelled to speak out after seeing some of Kerekere's defenders suggest the MP was being targeted due to her race.

"The bullying that I have witnessed from Elizabeth Kerekere has mainly been targeted at young Māori," the member said.

The member gave the example of a volunteer meeting where Kerekere loudly complained about some young Māori who were not in attendance and heaped scorn on them.

"She belittled them, was dismissive, and blamed them for not having enough time to give to her."

Kerekere considered herself the party's authority on all Māori and Pasifika matters, and she frequently "lashed out" at those who challenged her, the member said.

"When a Māori MP or staff member disagrees with her, she argues that her stance is the [only] Māori stance and belittles her opponent's understanding of tikanga and te ao Māori."

The member said Kerekere would shun or weaponise party processes against Māori or Pasifika candidates who did not display outright loyalty to her.

After the initial allegations were reported by RNZ last week, Kerekere received some support on Twitter from Green members who argued the MP was being scapegoated as a wahine Māori.

One of the five people who initially spoke out has since contacted RNZ to request that future coverage identify them as Māori to dissuade the narrative that Kerekere's critics were all Pākehā.

"That suggestion is a huge slap in the face… I've witnessed her corrosive behaviour to other people of colour, and that includes myself."

Another party member with experience working for the Greens told RNZ that Kerekere was abrasive to multiple MPs in caucus, including her Māori colleagues.

Kerekere's misconduct included "rudely shutting down MPs during group discussions" and "factionalising staff to create distrust and animosity", the source said.

"Staff who did not comply with Elizabeth's request for resource or disagreed with her strategic direction would also face bullying."

Approached for comment, a Green Party spokesperson deferred to the "internal process" being conducted by musterer [whip] Jan Logie and chief of staff Robin Campbell.

"As anyone would expect from the Green Party, this process is being run in a way that will be fair to everyone involved. At this stage, we will not be commenting further."

The Greens launched its inquiry in early April after messages were leaked to RNZ showing Kerekere lamenting Swarbrick's good fortune and appearing to call her a "crybaby".

Kerekere later denied the jibe referred to Swarbrick but gave no other explanation.

On Friday, members will begin voting on the final make-up of the Green Party list which helps determine which MPs make it into Parliament after the election.

A draft list, drawn up by delegates, has already been distributed, with Swarbrick ranked third and Kerekere fourth. The final list is expected to be published at the end of May.