James Shaw says MPs who quit put Greens election campaign at risk
Green co-leader James Shaw will move to suspend the two MPs who resigned and remove them from the party.
Kennedy Graham and David Clendon quit in protest over Metiria Turei's refusal to step down. Their resignations were accepted and they will retire at the election. The Green Party has already removed them from its website.
On Tuesday morning, the party would act to remove the pair as members of the Green Party as swiftly as possible during a caucus meeting as well as removing them from the list immediately.
The pair, two of the longest-serving members of the Green Party, told RNZ while they respected Turei and her work, they could no longer support her leadership.
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But Shaw said the way in which the pair chose to go about their resignation was in violation of the Green Party values, and the party caucus felt betrayed by the way the pair had gone about quitting.
He added that he believed the pair's actions had brought the party into disrepute - which was against its rules for MPs - and he'd be acting on that.
"I'm sorry to lose them. I respect the decision that Kennedy and Dave have made to remove themselves from the Green Party list and not to stand at the next election," Shaw said.
"However, the way that they have chosen to go about it is strongly in violation of every Green Party norm, culture and process that we have.
"What they are doing is placing the campaign at risk."
Shaw said the caucus strongly backed Turei to continue.
"I have said all along that I supported Metiria's choice to tell her story. I completely support what Metiria has done."
Eugenie Sage will fill Clendon's position as chief whip.
Shaw acknowledged the situation was "messy" but said the party remained focused. He said the choice of Clendon and Graham to leave was not a sign the party was in meltdown.
"I think other political parties have been through a great deal worse than this ... and come out healthy on the other side."
While Shaw fronted the media in Wellington, Turei was at home in Dunedin.
Pressed by media about Turei's actions in comparison to Clendon and Graham, he said: "The things she's talked about is part of her life story, things that happened 25 years ago when she was in her 20s ... whatever state she was in then, she's now a member of the third biggest political party.
"I think that's quite different from the actions of a member of Parliament to bring the party into disrepute. And frankly I'm over the level of interrogation she's received."
Shaw praised Clendon and Graham for their contributions to the Green Party.
The party has had a tumultuous three weeks, initially riding high off the back of the revelation offered by Turei herself, that she lied to Work and Income about her living costs - failing to inform them she had extra flatmates while a single mother receiving the Domestic Purposes Benefit between 1993 and 1998.
Her admission saw the Greens gain a massive bump in the polls and Labour plummet to dangerous lows. But further details emerged that Turei had at one stage been registered as living at the address of the father of her child, while she was collecting the DPB. Turei denies she was living there - rather, she was just enrolled there so she could vote for a friend standing in that electorate.
At another point she was living with her mother, who was a flatmate. Turei was forced to rule herself out of Cabinet contention, if the Greens made it in to Government, but she refused to step down as co-leader.
- Audio courtesy of RNZ