MP Chlöe Swarbrick has refused to say whether there are Green Party members who believe fellow MP Elizabeth Kerekere is a bully.
Kerekere is being investigated by her party after slagging off Swarbrick, calling her a crybaby in a text accidentally sent to Green MPs.
While Swarbrick was debating her alcohol Bill in the House earlier in the month, Kerekere hit the group chat, bemoaning the fact Swarbrick was getting attention during the party’s list selection process.
However, it doesn’t stop there, after the text debacle five current and former Green staffers accused Kerekere of ongoing poor behaviour – including badmouthing and undermining her caucus colleagues and staff. The five complainants spoke anonymously to RNZ saying the text is an example of the Tai Rāwhiti-based MP’s behaviour since her arrival at Parliament in 2020.
One source told RNZ Kerekere has shown “bullying” and “general mean girl behaviour” throughout this term.
“Elizabeth has a tendency to call people ‘racist’ if they disagree with her,” the source said. “People walk on eggshells around her.”
But Swarbrick wouldn’t comment on the allegations when asked about them by AM co-host Ryan Bridge on Monday.
“You will know there is an investigation presently underway and that is being taken by our chief of staff and our musterer Jan Logie so it’s not my place to prejudice that,” she told Bridge.
When pushed on whether she had a message for the alleged victims, Swarbrick said: “I would like to say that Ryan, I am sorry but I am not going to give you a headline and you’re not going to get a soundbite out of this. It’s going to be a very boring answer which is that this investigation is presently underway and as far as I am concerned I am just focused on my work, the planet is burning and we’ve got based on Oxfam’s report the 136th tax system for inequalities sake so there’s stuff to do here and let’s focus on that.”
The Green Party has launched an investigation into Kerekere’s behaviour with a spokesperson telling RNZ the new allegations would be taken “extremely seriously” and the review would include a “thorough analysis of all relevant information”.
Watch the full interview above.