'Crybaby' scandal: Chlöe Swarbrick tight-lipped on whether there were other incidents with Dr Elizabeth Kerekere

  • 08/05/2023

Green MP Chlöe Swarbrick won't say if there have been other incidents with Dr Elizabeth Kerekere, who resigned from the party on Friday night amid an investigation into the "crybaby" scandal.

Swarbrick, who Dr Kerekere allegedly called a "crybaby" in the wrong Whatsapp group chat, is hoping to "draw a line under" the ordeal and move on to focusing on the "massive issues facing us as a country".

The Green Party co-leaders on Friday night announced Dr Kerekere had written to the party caucus and had resigned as a Green MP. She intends to remain in Parliament as an independent MP until the election, when she will retire.

An investigation was in April launched into Dr Kerekere's behaviour following her accidental message allegedly about Swarbrick. 

The co-leaders wanted to know if the message was "part of a pattern of behaviour towards staff and caucus colleagues". After the inquiry began, a number of anonymous sources have alleged in the media bullying behaviour on the part of Dr Kerekere.

On Friday night, Dr Kerekere spoke to Green members and made a number of comments - such as claiming the "crybaby" text was about herself - the co-leaders have since said lack credibility. She resigned that night.

The co-leaders said on Saturday they were aware of concerns about Dr Kerekere's behaviour prior to the "crybaby" message, but nothing that could be acted upon.

Appearing on AM on Monday morning, Swarbrick said she didn't have much more to add as "what's happened has happened". 

"I hope that we can draw a line under it and move forward because as I think we all know we have massive issues facing us as a country, not the least keeping within 1.5C of warming, but also ensuring that everybody has what they need in order to live a good life."

Asked if there had been other incidents with Dr Kerekere in the past, Swarbrick said: "I don't think it's super appropriate to open that up and to inspect all of that."

She said she doesn't believe the public "particularly enjoy political parties talking about themselves".

Swarbrick said the comments about a "pattern of behaviour" are ones that "sit with the co-leaders".

"The process or the investigation was underway and the updates were provided by the co-leaders on Saturday morning. I am really, really focused on my job here, as I have been throughout this entire process

"There are far, far more important things that we as a country can and should be focused on."

Asked if it would be better going to work now that Dr Kerekere won't be in the Greens, Swarbrick said: "I am focused on my work, same as I always have been".

ACT leader David Seymour, appearing alongside Swarbrick, said he was proud of his party, which hasn't seen any major scandals this term.

"We've totally redone the way that our team is organized with our management structure, with our layout in our office and everything. We've made an open plan. We've put everyone on the same team," he said.

"We don't have all of these individual relationships between MPs and staff down long corridors like the rest of Parliament."

He said that's led to the party focussing on issues important to Kiwis. 

Seymour said he'd investigate straight away if heard of any bullying in his party.

"When people come on and work for us at ACT, I pull them aside and say, look, you know, first and foremost, this has got to be a place that people want to work, that they can come and give their best and you can't do that if you're not happy in the workplace. So any issue, you've got my number, you give me a call because I'd rather know about it and I will fix it."

In a statement on Friday night, the Green Party co-leaders said the party's important mahi would continue and it wished Dr Kerekere well for her future.