Darleen Tana: Political commentator Trish Sherson says Green Party's handling of allegations 'nonsense'

  • 15/03/2024

A former ACT Party staffer says the Greens have a "big problem" when it comes to allegations involving MP Darleen Tana and the party's process of handling them is "nonsense". 

Tana, who was the Greens' small business spokesperson, was stood down from all her portfolios on Thursday after allegations of migrant exploitation emerged against her husband's business. 

She was not a director or shareholder in the business and the Greens said she hadn't been since 2019. 

Nonetheless, the Greens said Tana would "stand aside from all caucus and Parliamentary responsibilities until the matter is resolved". 

Right-leaning political commentator Trish Sherson said it was not a good ordeal for the Greens. 

Party co-leader Marama Davidson confirmed Tana was only stood down from all portfolios on Thursday, despite knowing about the potential connection to migrant exploitation six weeks ago when she was stood down from the small business portfolio.

"The big problem for the Greens is the gap between standing an MP down from their portfolio on February 1, saying nothing publicly and now coming out six weeks later and saying, 'We've taken this terribly seriously,'" Sherson told AM.

"So, put the allegations to one side - that's a job for the ERA (Employment Relations Authority) - but, in terms of the political process, this is... nonsense." 

The Greens have been embroiled in several scandals in recent times. Earlier this year, MP Golriz Ghahraman resigned after shoplifting allegations against her emerged. 

Ghahraman went on to plead guilty to four shoplifting charges on Wednesday. 

In May, MP Elizabeth Kerekere quit the Greens after she was probed for bullying allegations. She went on to criticise Davidson and then-co-leader James Shaw.  

Sherson told AM the Greens' credibility was being called into question. 

"I can't remember... an example of where a party has stood down someone from their portfolio - that is serious - and not made a public statement about it," she said. 

"What about pieces of legislation coming before the House in this time that would've crossed across that portfolio and this MP would be expected to be in charge of it?" 

Tana's husband, the owner of E-Cycles NZ, is alleged to have taken on an employee on a visitors' visa - paying them cash until they landed their working visa.  The employee claimed to Stuff he was owed $25,000 in holiday page and wages. 

Darleen Tana.
Darleen Tana. Photo credit: Green Party

Davidson said Tana told the Greens on February 1 an ERA complaint had been laid against her husband's company, but the party became aware on Thursday she may have known about the allegations earlier.  

Tana has not yet responded to the claims and her husband denies the allegations, Stuff reported. 

In its statement on Wednesday, the Greens said MPs were "expected to maintain high standards of public and private behaviour". 

Davidson and co-leader Chlöe Swarbrick said the party would not comment on the specific allegations "while the matter is waiting mediation" and an independent probe was ongoing.