By Eruera Rerekura – | @erurerekura

Turei stays on as co-leader despite Green Party divisions

It’s gone from bad to worse for the Greens.

Two of their senior MPs have quit in protest at Metiria Turei refusing to resign as a co-leader despite admitting to historical benefit fraud and electoral enrolment offences.

One of the disillusioned MPs, David Clendon, is a member of the party’s Māori caucus.

After having a crisis meeting on Tuesday morning the two rebel MPs including Kennedy Graham spoke to the media about their decision.

“We had a good caucus meeting, we had a very open conversation. The outcome of that meeting is that Kennedy and I voluntarily withdrew from the caucus,” Mr Clendon said.

“There's due process going on inside the caucus and inside the party and we're part of that due process and we're at a position where we're satisfied for the moment as to where we are,” Mr Graham said.

And Mr Clendon was straight with the media about why he made his decision with Ms Turei at the centre of it.

“Essentially we just explained that under the current leadership we couldn't feel ourselves committing to participating and while Metiria remained as co-leader.”

While the senior pair of MPs were prepared to turn their backs on Ms Turei, the rest of the Green party caucus were united in their support for her.

The party’s candidate for Tāmaki Makaurau, Marama Davidson, was quick to put her flag up for Ms Turei.

“We've still got a leader - I'm standing right beside the leader we've got right now she's pretty determined not to go and I'm really glad she hasn't stepped down.”

That was echoed by outgoing Green MP Catherine Delahunty who is about to make her valedictory speech.

“We need to fox the welfare system that's what this is all about. I'm proud of us, I'm proud of Metiria.”

Metiria Turei knowing she had the backing of her colleagues spoke confidently to reporters about continuing her work.

“I know that I have the support of my party and I know I have the support of my caucus and so I'll continue until the election day.”

But her co-leader James Shaw still seemed  annoyed by Mr Clendon’s and Mr Graham’s initial announcement on RNZ’s Checkpoint programme on Monday night.

“I meant what I said last night, I did think that the way they had gone about their decision to pull out was incredibly disruptive and didn't kind of live up to our normal value and processes.”

However, that wasn’t the way Mr Clendon saw it.

“And we would disagree that we've brought the party into disrepute, so that is a point of difference whether James will hold that same view today I don't know?”

With just six weeks to the election, other politicians 1News and Te Karere spoke to described the Green party situation as a “mess” and “chaos” giving outsiders a view that the party is deeply divided.