Best Service Magazine | New Zealand

New Zealand Politics: A Season of Scandal

Golriz Ghahraman Resigns after Shoplifting Charges

Green MP charged with three counts of theft

Golriz Ghahraman Resigns after Shoplifting Charges
Artists impression of a Shoplifter in Scotties Boutique

In recent times, New Zealand’s political scene has been fraught with scandalous events involving some of the nation’s most notable figures. This article traces the chain of controversies, from Golriz Ghahraman’s resignation to Kiri Allan’s arrest and Tory Whanau’s public displays of intoxication. 

Golriz Ghahraman Steps Down 

The Alleged Shoplifting 

Prominent Green Party MP and human rights lawyer, Golriz Ghahraman, recently made headlines when she was accused of theft at an upscale Auckland store. This unexpected turn of events led to Ghahraman’s resignation from her portfolios. 

The Green Party’s Response 

When the allegations surfaced, the Green Party’s co-leaders, James Shaw and Marama Davidson, confirmed their awareness of the accusations against Ghahraman since late December. They were also informed of a second occurrence at the same high-end shop a week later. The party sought clarity from the store and Ghahraman, but with her on an extended pre-planned trip overseas, the store was content to wait for her return to settle the matter. 

Ghahraman’s Resignation 

Following multiple allegations of shoplifting, Ghahraman decided to step down. The Green Party MP had allegedly stolen thrice from two clothing boutiques, one in Auckland and another in Wellington. Ghahraman, who was a notable figure in the country’s government and the first refugee to be sworn in as an MP, attributed her actions to work-related stress. 

Kiri Allan: From Crash to Court 

The Fateful Night 

Former Justice Minister, Kiri Allan, also found herself amidst a scandal when she crashed into a parked car in Wellington, leading to her subsequent arrest and charges. Allan used social media to recount the specifics of the crash, which transpired in late July on Evans Bay Parade. She detailed how her mental health had been deteriorating in the lead-up to the incident. 

Allan’s Court Case 

Allan’s case, initially scheduled for a court hearing, was postponed multiple times. However, she pleaded not guilty to the charge of failing to accompany a police officer, stating that she was not granted access to a lawyer. She described how the law currently sits in a grey area, with several senior lawyers in New Zealand from both defence and prosecution perspectives unable to provide a unified view. 

Tory Whanau: A Public Display of Intoxication 

The Drinking Problem 

Wellington mayor Tory Whanau admitted to having a problem with alcohol following another incident of drunken behaviour in public. The admission came after questions about her actions at an inner-city bar two weekends ago. In a written statement, the mayor confessed that she had a problem with alcohol and expressed her “great embarrassment and shame” that her drunkenness seemed to have been recorded. 

Whanau’s Commitment to Change 

Following her public admission, Whanau committed to changing her drinking habits. She shared her plans to limit socialising to her home and avoid going out for a drink on Friday nights. Despite the challenges, Whanau affirmed her commitment to continue representing the hopes and aspirations of her local community. 

The Aftermath: A String of Resignations 

The incidents involving Ghahraman, Allan, and Whanau have undoubtedly rocked New Zealand’s political landscape. These events have led to a series of resignations, causing a significant reshuffling within the Green Party and the Labour Party. 

Chlöe Swarbrick Dismisses Involvement in Ghahraman’s Case 

In the wake of Ghahraman’s scandal, Green MP Chlöe Swarbrick was quick to dismiss rumours that she was present at Scotties, the boutique involved in Ghahraman’s case. Swarbrick clarified that no other Green Party MPs were involved in the alleged incident. 

Mental Health: A Common Thread? 

A common thread weaving through these incidents is the notion of mental health. Both Ghahraman and Allan cited mental health issues as contributing factors to their actions. Ghahraman pointed to extreme stress response and previously unrecognised trauma, while Allan highlighted her struggles with mental health leading up to her crash. 

The Public Reaction 

Public reaction to these events has been diverse, with some expressing sympathy for the politicians and their mental health struggles, while others criticise their actions and question their ability to serve in public office. 

The Road Ahead 

The recent scandals involving Ghahraman, Allan, and Whanau have undoubtedly sent shockwaves through New Zealand’s political landscape. These events serve as stark reminders of the immense pressure and scrutiny faced by those in public office. As the dust settles, it is clear that the road ahead will be challenging but crucial in reshaping the nation’s political future. 

One can only hope that these incidents will foster open discussions about mental health and the immense pressures faced by politicians, ultimately leading to a more understanding and supportive political environment. 

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