• Former Wairarapa candidate Celia Wade-Brown to replace Golriz Ghahraman as Green List MP

Former Wairarapa candidate Celia Wade-Brown to replace Golriz Ghahraman as Green List MP

Former Wellington Mayor and Wairarapa electorate candidate Celia Wade-Brown will replace Golriz Ghahraman as a Green List MP, after she resigned amid allegations of shoplifting.

The resignation today comes after allegations of shoplifting against Ghahraman involving Auckland clothing retailer Scotties Boutique and Wellington clothing store Cre8iveworx.

It has been reported that police are investigating an incident on December 23.

As the next Green Party candidate on the list, Wade-Brown will now become an MP in Parliament. She stood as a candidate in the Wairarapa electorate in last year’s election, but was unsuccessful, coming fourth in a race won by National Party candidate Mike Butterick. Butterick beat incumbent Labour MP and Cabinet Minister Kieran McAnulty to claim the seat. ACT candidate Simon Casey came third. The Wairarapa electorate includes Tararua and part of Central Hawke’s Bay.

Greens Co-leaders Marama Davidson and James Shaw said today that Ghahraman had been the “leading voice in Parliament for human rights, truly independent foreign policy, and electoral reform for six years”

“Her political achievements are significant.”

However they said that Green MPs are expected to maintain high standards of public behaviour.

““It is clear to us that Ms Ghahraman is in a state of extreme distress. She has taken responsibility and apologised. We support the decision she has made to resign.”

“We are deeply sorry to see Ms Ghahraman leave under these circumstances and we wish her all the best for the future.”

The Green Party co-leaders welcomed Wade-Brown to the Green Party caucus.

Shaw said: “Celia is a very experienced politician. She’s won seven elections during the course of her career and of course two of those as mayor of Wellington.”

“She brings a long history of public service and a very practical understanding of the challenges that are faced in our urban environments, particularly around transport and housing and so on.”

“She’ll be a great MP and we’re looking to having her on board.”

David said: “I’ve particularly noted her ongoing priorities around Tiriti justice, equality, making sure that everyone has what they need to live dignified lives. These are all kaupapa that are core to our heart, and so we welcome her and obviously regret the sad circumstances relating to her entry, but she’s going to rock the place.”

Celia Wade-Brown will become the second former Wellington mayor in Parliament, joining Andy Foster who is a List MP with NZ First.

In a statement announcing her resignation, Ghahraman said it had been a great honour to serve as a Member of Parliament.

“I am proud of my advocacy work on human rights and foreign affairs, and particularly proud of campaigns that resulted in practical improvements to the electoral laws governing donations and overseas voting.” 

She said, however, that it was clear to her that her mental health was badly affected by the stresses relating to her work.

“This has led me to act in ways that are completely out of character. I am not trying to excuse my actions, but I do want to explain them.”

"People should, rightly, expect the highest standards of behaviour from their elected representatives. I fell short. I’m sorry. It’s not a behaviour I can explain because it’s not rational in any way, and after medical evaluation, I understand I’m not well. The mental health professional I see says my recent behaviour is consistent with recent events giving rise to extreme stress response, and relating to previously unrecognised trauma.“

“With that in mind, I don't want to hide behind my mental health problems, and I take full responsibility for my actions which I deeply regret.”

She says she has let down a lot of people and she is sorry.

“The best thing for my mental health is to resign as a Member of Parliament and to focus on my recovery and to find other ways to work for positive change in the world.”

“I will therefore be resigning from Parliament immediately.”

“I want to thank the many communities and people who have supported me over the years. I will continue to work with and to advocate for those communities however I can, as best I can.”

Ghahraman also thanked Scotties Boutique for the kindness and empathy they had shown her.

“I now ask for people to give me the space and privacy I need to get better. I won’t be commenting further at this time.”