Who is Dr Elizabeth Kerekere, the Green MP who called Swarbrick a 'crybaby'

Green MP Dr Elizabeth Kerekere has forced her party to launch an internal investigation after she sent a text message to a group chat calling Chlöe Swarbrick a "crybaby".

Dr Kerekere's message was sent to a group chat involving Green Party staff and MPs, which sent shock waves to some of those at the receiving end. 

Swarbrick spoke in the house on Wednesday night about her Sale and Supply of Alcohol (Harm Minimisation) Amendment Bill when Dr Kerekere's text message was sent. Swarbrick's Bill failed to pass its first reading. 

Green MPs Golriz Ghahraman and Julie Anne Genter's reaction to the message was caught on Parliament TV while Swarbrick was speaking. 

Who is Dr Elizabeth Kerekere, the Green MP who called Swarbrick a 'crybaby'
Photo credit: Parliament TV

Ghahraman's jaw dropped and then her hand grabbed her mouth as she appeared to react to the text from Dr Kerekere, which read: "Sucks that her bill goes through during list ranking! Please Universe, pick my bill tomorrow."

"Omg what a crybaby," Dr Kerekere added, in screenshots leaked to RNZ

Dr Kerekere later acknowledged the text in the same group chat.

"Kia ora everyone. I wrote an inappropriate message on here which was not meant for this thread and I apologise to everyone here."

Dr Kerekere denied calling Swarbrick a "crybaby" when asked by RNZ. The Green MP has not responded to Newshub. 

But who is Dr Elizabeth Kerekere? 

The Gisborne-born MP was elected to Parliament on the Green Party list in October 2020 and is the party's Deputy Musterer, otherwise known as a Whip.

Dr Kerekere, known for her love for the colour purple, is a spokesperson for a raft of portfolios for the Green Party, including Art, Culture and Heritage, Health, and Rainbow Communities. 

The Green MP is also known for her resignation as the party's spokesperson for COVID-19 Response after she breached COVID-19 rules.

The Green MP caught a flight from Tairāwhiti to Wellington days after a member of her household tested positive for COVID-19.

At the time, a household contact was required to self-isolate for seven days. Dr Kerekere said she tested negative for three days in a row, but because she wasn't classified as an essential worker, she did not have the right to return to work as a household contact of a COVID-19 case. 

Most recently, the Green MP considered throwing her hat into the Green Party leadership ring in 2022 after more than 25 percent of Greens delegates voted to reopen nominations for James Shaw's co-leader position. 

When asked during the leadership election, Dr Kerekere said she was "still considering my options".

But after one day of consideration, Dr Kerekere withdrew, despite messages "asking me to stand".

"I have taken the time to reflect and discuss with my whānau, party members and Caucus colleagues once we were all in a clearer head space before making any decisions regarding the outcome of recent events," she said in July.   

"Having done so, I will not be running for co-leader of the Green Party of Aotearoa New Zealand in this election."

On Thursday, after the text messages were leaked, Dr Kerekere was advised to return home and not attend Parliament.