Allegations of Migrant Exploitation Linked to Former Green MP

Michael Yoon
Principal Immigration Lawyer

Former Green Party MP Darleen Tana faces new allegations concerning migrant worker exploitation. Claims emerged after Tana's suspension over similar accusations at her spouse's business. Contact Immigration Lawyer NZ for any questions.

Right, here's a cracker of a situation in this immigration news NZ for you, involving now a former Green MP Darleen Tana. You see, Tana's gone and landed herself in hot water by allegedly advising a migrant worker that he could legally work at her husband's bike shop on a seasonal work visa. That visa, as plain as day, is for horticulture and viticulture work only. So what was she thinking, you ask? Well, that’s exactly what everyone’s asking.

Now, this worker, claims Tana even told him to keep working during the lockdown, calling it "essential work". Essential? Really? Fixing bikes while the rest of us were stuck baking banana bread?

This worker isn't alone. Earlier this year, another employee, Santiago Latour Palma, also lodged claims with the Employment Relations Authority (ERA), alleging exploitation and unpaid wages to the tune of $25,000. Quite a sum, isn’t it? The Green Party suspended Tana in March amid these allegations, which prompted an investigation by a lawyer.

And it gets better. Messages shared with Stuff reveal Tana was deeply involved in the business, despite resigning as a director and shareholder in 2019. These messages show her handling work schedules and wages. And the staff who had Covid-19 were told to send their Ministry of Health confirmation emails to her.

Immigration New Zealand indirectly confirmed the visa breach, saying E-Cycles NZ wasn’t approved to employ seasonal workers for non-agricultural work. This puts Tana and her husband in a dodgy position, legally speaking.

So, what do we make of this? An MP supposed to uphold the law, allegedly flouting immigration rules and possibly exploiting workers. If the Greens didn't sort this out sharpish, it was going to be a thorn in their side for some time. And now, feeling the heat, she has resigned from the Green Party, but the saga continues, as the Greens look to force her out of parliament altogether.

It’s a messy, convoluted saga that begs the question: just what was Darleen Tana thinking? Or perhaps she wasn’t thinking at all. And there you have it. This situation is as tangled as a box of old bike parts, and it's not going to be an easy fix. Keep your eyes peeled, because this story is far from over.

And that's the immigration news in Aotearoa today. Do subscribe and follow for more immigration content. Ka Kite Ano.

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Last modified on 9 July 2024 by
Michael Yoon
Principal Immigration Lawyer
Michael has been working as a lawyer in New Zealand since 2006. Over the years, he has successfully helped thousands of clients to get their desired outcome. Clients find Michael knowledgeable, approachable and professional — a trusted expert.

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