AUCKLAND: In a surprising turn of events, Golriz Ghahraman, a prominent member of the Green Party in New Zealand, has tendered her resignation amidst ongoing investigations into allegations of shoplifting. The 42-year-old, who made history in 2017 as the first refugee to serve in the country’s government, is facing accusations of stealing from two clothing stores, one in Auckland and another in Wellington.
Shoplifting Allegations And Investigations
The resignation comes in the wake of multiple incidents, with Ghahraman alleged to have shoplifted on three separate occasions. The police are actively investigating the matter, fueled by CCTV footage that emerged showing her purportedly taking a designer handbag from an Auckland boutique.
Ghahraman, a former UN human rights lawyer, attributed her actions to work-related stress, stating that the pressure had led her to behave out of character. Expressing remorse, she acknowledged letting down many people and offered a heartfelt apology.
Mental Health Concerns And Trauma
In a statement, she revealed seeking medical evaluation, acknowledging that her recent behaviour is consistent with extreme stress response and previously unrecognized trauma. Despite not being charged with any crime, she admitted falling short of the high standards expected from elected representatives.
Political And Personal Struggles
Ghahraman’s resignation sheds light on the challenges she faced throughout her political career, including continuous threats of sexual violence, physical violence, and death threats. Green Party co-leader James Shaw emphasized the toll these threats took on her mental well-being.
The Iranian-born MP, who sought asylum in New Zealand as a child, has been a target of online and in-person abuse related to her heritage, gender, and public stances. She has previously spoken about facing security threats, necessitating the use of security escorts and alarms.
Support And Recognition
While acknowledging that it was right for Ghahraman to resign, Green Party co-leader Marama Davidson expressed concern for her well-being. Recognizing the challenges faced by women, especially women of colour, in the public eye, Davidson affirmed continued support for Ghahraman during this difficult time.