Kerekere will still vote Green, says 'reputation being tarnished'

Fri, May 26

MP Elizabeth Kerekere says she still can't believe she's quit the Greens but said her reputation was being damaged within the party.

Kerekere resigned amid an investigation into a text in which she appeared to call her fellow MP Chlöe Swarbrick a "crybaby" in a group chat. She was also facing bullying allegations.

Speaking publicly for the first time, she candidly addressed the issues in an interview with Breakfast this morning - the day after a 1News Kantar Public poll showed the Green Party has suffered a significant 4% drop.

Kerekere said: "It's a disappointing result but we know that, with polls, you can't just take one poll by itself."

She still finds it "hard to believe" she's resigned from the Green Party, but revealed she will continue to support the party and its values.

The MP, who now sits as an independent, maintains that she wasn't calling Swarbrick a "crybaby", but that the message was meant to go to her wife, not a group chat with other Green MPs in it.

"I take responsibility that I was whining and moaning about somebody else getting their member's bill drawn and mine hasn't," she said.

"Everything else that happened after that was not my responsibility.

"It was the end of a long day, I was tired, I admit I was grumpy, and I wrote the first message thinking I was talking to my wife, and then I read it and go 'ugh, suck it up Elizabeth, life is hard, this is not an easy job, get on with it.

"And I wrote myself, 'oh my god, what a crybaby'... it was self-deprecating, it was a throwaway comment."

She ultimately feels the outcome could have been resolved internally.

"As agreed, I did not speak to media, I took no action, everything that rolled out was other peoples' work, and if that's impacted on the polls then that's really unfortunate, I think it was an internal matter and it could've all been dealt with internally."

She will sit as an independent MP until the general election on October 14, when she has said she will retire.

Yesterday, co-leader James Shaw denied the discord had affected the party's poll results badly.

'No natural justice'

Kerekere said it's "hard to believe" that she has actually quit the party.

"Week after week, I watched my reputation being tarnished, I watched accusations being made with having no recourse to defend myself, there was no natural justice," she said, adding she "waited, and waited, and waited" for the chance to have her say.

She read out a number of texts she'd received since last night's poll.

"One said, 'Green supporters held the party to a really high standard and the co-leaders have shown they're not up to that standard'.

"So I think we hope that this is an outlier, we hope that the Greens will bounce back.

Party vote results for May 25 poll

"I'm completely committed to the Greens getting back into Parliament," she added. "And I will be party voting Green."

"I believe in the heart of our party, it's my party, I haven't completely let go of it.

"I'll keep working as an independent for those Green values and for that Green charter that I have lived by for many, many years."

In a statement today, a Green Party spokesperson said: "Dr. Kerekere made several statements this morning that we maintain are untrue. The Green Party co-leaders have already responded to these points and others made by Dr Elizabeth Kerekere on Breakfast this morning. There was nothing new in what she said this morning, so we will not be commenting further.”


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