Golriz Ghahraman
The 43-year-old Golriz Ghahraman pleaded guilty on Wednesday at Auckland District Court to four counts of shoplifting. Image Credit: X

Wellington: Former New Zealand lawmaker Golriz Ghahraman pleaded guilty to shoplifting on Wednesday, a scandal that has derailed the centre-left politician's once-promising career.

Ghahraman, the first refugee elected to New Zealand's parliament, stepped down from her political duties on January 16, citing the need to address her mental health.

Soon after, police charged the rising star of the Green Party with shoplifting from boutique clothing stores.

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The 43-year-old, who previously served as her party's justice spokeswoman, pleaded guilty on Wednesday at Auckland District Court to four counts of shoplifting, an official told AFP.

A former human rights lawyer, Ghahraman said at the time of her resignation that work-related stress had led her 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. I have let down a lot of people," she said at the time.

Iran-born Ghahraman moved to New Zealand as a child with her family when they were granted political asylum.

After studying law, she became a United Nations human rights lawyer working on international criminal tribunals before entering parliament in 2017.

Prior to the allegations becoming public, Ghahraman had been criticised for her prominent involvement in a string of pro-Palestine protests.

Former Green Party co-leader James Shaw has said Ghahraman suffered "continuous threats" since the day she entered parliament and that pressure had intensified before her offences.