Green MP Chlöe Swarbrick dismisses social media claim about footage of Golriz Ghahraman allegedly shoplifting

Green Party MP Chlöe Swarbrick has shot down an online conspiracy theory that suggests it was her in the background of CCTV footage of former Green MP Golriz Ghahraman allegedly shoplifting.

There had been social media speculation that one of the women in the background of the CCTV footage is Swarbrick.

But when asked about this on AM by co-host Lloyd Burr on Monday morning, Swarbrick emphatically denied it was her. 

"No, it's not me Lloyd and I guess thanks for being the first person in mainstream media who has put that to me directly on live television," she said.

Burr asked Swarbrick if she thought that question was "unfair". 

"No, I'm saying that what I've seen in the past few weeks and months and my last six and half odd years in the Parliamentary sphere is that time and again we have seen real mis-and-disinformation whipped up online and that has meant that particularly women and women of colour in our Parliament have been the centre of those online maelstroms and I guess it's just a really gutting situation, really sad situation on all fronts," she told AM.

Ghahraman is alleged to have shoplifted from Auckland's Scotties Boutique in Ponsonby on December 23, which police have confirmed they are investigating. Two more accusations have since emerged - including a second alleged incident at Scotties and a third at Wellington store Cre8iveworx.

Police have confirmed three shoplifting charges have been laid against the former Green Party MP.

Green MP Chlöe Swarbrick.
Green MP Chlöe Swarbrick. Photo credit: AM

Swarbrick was asked on AM if she knew about the shoplifting incidents that had allegedly occurred, which the Green MP denied.

"I think again the co-leaders here have outlined absolutely everything that was known at respective points in time, and you'll know this is an active case currently before the courts and before the police, so that is what we are dealing with" she said.

"I think a line needs to be drawn under that, she has resigned, she has taken full responsibility for her behaviour and obviously made it abundantly clear the mental distress she was under as well."

Swarbrick said the situation involving Ghahraman and the abuse she has received was "awful".

She told AM Ghahraman had talked to her about the abuse she had received.

"I think every young woman in Parliament, every woman in Parliament, most parliamentarians are pretty upfront with each other about the abuse that we receive," Swarbrick said.

"Every so often when this conversation comes up, largely at the back of something awful happening like has recently occurred with events, we see the public discourse becomes about the importance of prioritising mental health and having good conversations about those.

"Then you also see on the other hand this conversation 'if you can't handle the heat get out of the kitchen.' Why aren't we turning down the heat? Why aren't we talking about how we build a working environment that is conducive to getting the best out of people?"

In a statement earlier this month, Ghahraman announced she was quitting Parliament, and said: "My mental health is being badly affected by the stresses relating to my work. This has led me to act in ways that are completely out of character."

She is due to appear on all three charges in the Auckland District Court on February 1.

*This article has been updated to make clearer the claims Chlöe Swarbrick is in the footage are baseless.