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1st refugee elected to NZ parliament accused of shoplifting

Green Party MP Golriz Ghahraman. Photo: RNZ / Samuel Rillstone

The Green Party co-leaders have broken their silence over shoplifting allegations made against their MP, Golriz Ghahraman, including confirming a second allegation was made.

They have also laid out a timeline of what they knew and when.

In the two days since an allegation was first made public, James Shaw and Marama Davidson have refused to comment on the matter.

However, in a statement, they said it was because the boutique at the centre of the allegations did not want them to become public.

Police continue to investigate, after receiving a report of an incident at Ponsonby clothing retailer Scotties Boutique, two days before Christmas.

Shaw and Davidson say they became aware of an allegation involving Ghahraman and the boutique on 27 December.

"To help us understand the details of what may have happened, a representative of the Green Party sought clarification from the store, as well as from Ms Ghahraman," the leaders said.

"However, with Ms Ghahraman on a long-planned personal trip overseas, Scotties confirmed that they were comfortable waiting for her to return to New Zealand to resolve the issue."

On 5 January, the co-leaders were informed of allegations related to a second incident at Scotties.

"Scotties had told us they did not want the allegations to become public so we did not make a statement at the time. However, Ms Ghahraman did agree to stand down from her portfolios until the matter was resolved," the co-leaders said.

RNZ understands Ghahraman is due to return from her overseas trip in the next few days, and the co-leaders will address the matter with her as soon as she returns.

Shaw and Davidson said they would not comment further until they had gathered all the facts, and spoken with Ghahraman. In the meantime, she remains an MP.

Scotties Boutique has continually refused to comment when approached by RNZ.

Police also had nothing to say about the second alleged incident.

"Police are continuing to investigate the matter reported on 23 December 2023. We don't have anything further to add at this time," a spokesperson said.

Ghahraman has stood aside from all of her portfolio responsibilities, which include justice, foreign affairs, and defence.

A human rights lawyer, Ghahraman entered Parliament in 2017. She is currently seventh on the Green Party list.

The co-leaders also said they had been made aware that some people may have been exploiting the situation for their own political gain, but did not name names.

"To that effect, let us be clear that no other Green Party MPs were involved in the alleged incident, we have had no contact with the police, and it would not be appropriate for us to comment on their investigation in any way."

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