A New Zealand Green Party MP was forced to resign her parliamentary position after being allegedly caught on camera shoplifting a luxury handbag.
Golriz Ghahraman, who previously held the minor party’s justice portfolio, was filmed glancing around before sliding the handbag into her carry bag at Scotties Boutique in Auckland’s fashion shopping district of Ponsonby on December 23.
The handbag allegedly stolen is a grey Issey Miyake, with the brand’s range starting at around $274 and climbing to nearly $1,600.
In resigning from Parliament, Ms Ghahraman said her behaviour was ‘out-of-character’ and prompted by the stresses of work that triggered ‘previously unrecognised trauma’.
New Zealand police said they were also investigating a second alleged incident involving Ms Ghahraman at Scotties as well as receiving another report of her alleged shoplifting from Wellington store Cre8iveworx from October 26.
Ms Ghahraman was the first refugee elected to New Zealand’s parliament after arriving as a child with her family from Iran
Following a meeting with Green Party leaders James Shaw and Marama Davidson, Ms Ghahraman quit her seat saying the pressures of office had taken a toll on her.
‘It is clear to me that my mental health is being badly affected by the stresses relating to my work,’ she said.
‘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.’
Ms Ghahraman went on to say she ‘fell short’ of the ‘highest standards of behaviour’ people expect of elected representatives.
‘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,’ she said.
‘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.
‘I have let down a lot of people and I am very 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.’
New Zealand Green Party MP Golriz Ghahraman has been forced to resign from parliament after being caught allegedly shoplifting
Video shows Ms Ghahraman allegedly stealing a designer label handbag while inside an Auckland boutique
Cre8iveworx owner Melanie Smith said in an email that she had laid a police complaint against Ms Ghahraman.
Mr Shaw and MS Davidson told New Zealand media on Tuesday that they supported Ms Ghahraman’s decision to resign but she had faced stresses beyond the norm for MPs.
‘Obviously Parliament is a stressful place for anybody, but Ghahraman has been subject to continuous threats of sexual violence, physical violence, and death threats,’ he said, revealing police had investigated some of the incidents.
Ms Ghahraman was the first refugee to be sworn in as a New Zealand MP, having arrived as a child asylum seeker with her family from Iran.
She was selected as a Green Party list candidate in January 2017.