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I too, am not resigning

Written By: - Date published: 6:29 am, August 5th, 2017 - 210 comments
Categories: benefits, class war, election 2017, greens, labour, Metiria Turei, welfare - Tags: , ,

This post by Matthew Whitehead is reposted from lemattjuste.wordpress.com

Metiria Turei announced today that she does not intend to resign as Green Party Co-Leader, but that she would deliberately rule herself out for ministerial positions due to media scrutiny. It’s good to hear the first part, and sad to hear the second part, although it seems a sensible measure given how much the media are focusing on playing the person not the ball on this particular issue. It would make no sense for Turei to go, (in fact, the Party is pretty enthused with the fact that she was willing to put herself out there like this, and would probably back her even if it had cost the Greens politically to do so) and it would undermine Ardern’s position by painting the entire left bloc as unstable. It’s got to be a very hard time for Turei right now, as journalists have clearly been paying stark attention to her past in a way that they haven’t to say, John Key and Bill English when they both did the same thing in being registered to vote in electorates they didn’t or claimed not to live in, or Todd Barclay, who actually did something straightforwardly unethical and tried to cover it up, rather than merely doing something illegal and admitting to it.

Ardern is setting herself up as being brutally honest and transparent by admitting she would have insisted on not giving a Ministerial Warrant for Turei even if she didn’t volunteer not to ask for one. I’m not sure that admitting that fact would have been my first instinct, (I think there’s a balance to be had between distancing yourself from something that technically is a fraud1, but also not actively letting the media hype this story up more by failing to support your coalition partner) but then again, I’m not in Labour and have different political instincts. I can certainly accept that Labour was never going to rally behind Metiria even with just the first admission let alone the latter one, but it would have been nice to see a bit more of a supportive tone, at least.

What this really seems to be about is that there’s one standard for women who were fighting their way out of poverty and another for rich people who know they won’t really get called to account for their own personal histories so long as everyone involved keeps quiet. While I normally think of voting-related crimes as very serious, I also am on the record as thinking electorates are anachronisms and need to go, so I don’t particularly care if someone registers in the wrong electorate, at least so long as we’re not all dogpiling into Ōhāriu, Epsom, and Te Tai Tokerau. I super-duper double-dragon don’t care when it’s to vote for a candidate that’s obviously not going to win, like every single McGillicudy Serious candidate in 1993, including Turei herself.

We will see if these extra revelations actually hurt. I think it’s unlikely to make a difference with voters, especially as Metiria has been more than willing to front up on this, (she had literally gotten away with it on both counts before her admission) and neither are things that will strike most Green voters as particularly wrong, especially given Metiria’s willingness to take personal responsibility on this matter, not only in promising to repay the money and co-operating with the investigation, but also in ruling out the possibility of personally working to reform the welfare system as Minister. While some will say a person of integrity would never have concealed the truth in the first place, I actually think it takes more integrity and honesty to do the right thing after you’ve done something that’s questionable in the first place.

I also think that some of the people worked up about these issues don’t understand that actually Metiria was on the losing side of an ongoing class war in New Zealand, and that there was no way for her to live her life successfully. She could either have suffered, or have cheated, and neither choice was really right in a moral sense. It was better that she got paid a livable amount and transitioned to a stable career than that she end up not getting what she and her child needed to survive out of the welfare system. They like that there are other complications going on with Metiria’s life at the time, because it allows them to distract themselves from the reality that benefits in New Zealand aren’t really livable.

It’s easy to be honest and transparent if there’s nothing to call you on. We’ll see if New Zealand agrees soon, (I wouldn’t be surprised if it continues to be polarising, or if there’s a mild price to pay to the revelation that she committed electoral fraud as well when she was a young woman) but we’re going to have to get used to the fact that in a high-information environment, a lot of little things that people of Gen X and younger generations did as youngsters are going to be out there, and we’re just going to have to relax and accept that you don’t have to be perfect to be a leader. In fact, it’s much better for leaders to be aware of just how frail the human condition can be.

1While also in no way morally wrong in the situation. The only way to argue that Metiria did something wrong is that there will be some people in the same situation who obeyed the law and starved/got kicked out of their home/etc, an injustice to which I am sympathetic, and I believe they too should have been paid enough to actually live on, like Treasury advised Ruth Richardson to, back in the day.

210 comments on “I too, am not resigning ”

  1. Carolyn_nth 1

    Well said Matthew. NZ left needs Metiria and many others to campaign against NZ’s now inadequate and punitive welfare system.

  2. Ed 2

    Now let’s ask Gower and Garner if they ever broke the law.

      • Ed 2.1.1

        There are so many in the commentariat who should remember this

        “Then they reminded Jesus that adultery was punishable by stoning under Mosaic law and challenged him to judge the woman so that they might then accuse him of disobeying the law.

        Jesus thought for a moment and then replied, “He that is without sin among you, let him cast the first stone at her.”

        • Esoteric Pineapples

          What is so remarkable about that story is that after Jesus said that no one cast a stone. In today’s world people wouldn’t understand or respect the point Jesus was making and just go ahead and stone her anyway.

        • Gareth Wilson


          “Not you, Mum.”

      • Psycho Milt 2.1.2

        Or GR who allegedly delivered the message to the GP yesterday.

        Guess he’s lucky he’s young enough to have hit the age of consent around the same time as homosexual acts were decriminalised, or he’d most likely have a bunch of historical “crimes” to report himself.

    • The thing is Ed, Gower and Garner have never had to be in that position of personal honesty and responsibility before, so they don’t value it, therefore how would we even know if they’re being honest? I absolutely think it’s fair that we cover “big name journalists” just as much as any other public figure, but that particular piece of public service is so nerdy and meta that it likely wouldn’t have much of an audience, so by definition it requires public sector journalism. (yet another reason to vote Green I guess, so we can expand that sector a little?)

      At least with Metiria Turei it’s blatantly obvious that nobody would talk that way if they weren’t being completely honest.

      (coincidentally, I have been calling her Turei or using her full name when I’m referring to her as a politician, and doing the same for Ms. Ardern, because I saw an excellent tweet about how we tend to name female politicians and other public figures with their first names, and male ones with their last, and thought it was an excellent point about how it reinforced a lack of respect or gravitas given to women as leaders, and thought it made a lot of sense. I hope female readers will forgive me if I’ve lapsed from time to time, but it’s a habit I’ve just started trying to get into!)

      • red-blooded 2.2.1

        Re the first name thing, I also tend to use full names or surname only (I won’t claim to be entirely consistent and have probably lapsed at times). Having said that, I don’t think it’s just a gender issue – it’s partly simply whether a name is distinctive. Winston Peters very frequently gets first name treatment, both in the media and on social media. That doesn’t tend to happen for Andrews, Johns or Bills, Ditto I don’t notice too many people simply saying “Paula” or “Judith”.

  3. garibaldi 3

    The Right(that includes the media ) will not give up on this one. It is the only weapon they have at the moment. I hope Metiria is strong enough to hang on in there.

    • Ed 3.1

      Yes the witchhunt continues at the Herald.
      An anonymous editorial (Roughan?) bays for her blood.
      Wonder if Roughan has ever paid for a cash job?


    • Esoteric Pineapples 3.2

      Yes, that’s what I am expecting to happen. It’s an opportunity to drive a wedge between the Greens and Labour. That’s why sometimes it is better to stand and fight for something you believe in. They will want her to resign and even if she did they would still use her to attack the left.

    • Knowing Metiria if there’s anything else to find it will be even more trivial than their voter-roll sniffing.

    • Peter 3.4

      Sadly, many left of centre voters will see her billboard image as tarnished. Anecdotally, people are all ready deciding the Greens will no longer get their vote. Her leadership position is untenable given her Parties ambitions.

      • KJT 3.4.1

        Up 4% in the polls since. And lots of support in the Green blogs. You are talking bullshit.

        • Pete George

          No polls since Thursday when more information came out and things turned against Turei and the Greens.

          So it’s too soon to tell what effect this week has had on Green support. Most likely it will go down, especially if Labour’s goes up as looks distinctly possible.

          Roy Morgan is out mid-month covering 1-14 August but even that won’t give a full picture.

          There may not be a decent indication until the election.

          There’s certainly some staunch support of Turei, but there is also disagreement. Newshub showed an even split between

          Was it wrong for Metiria Turei to lie to get a bigger benefit?
          – Yes 73.9%
          – No 18.3%
          – Don’t know 7.8%

          Half of Green supporters thought it was wrong – by party:
          – National 85%
          – NZ First 77%
          – Labour 67%
          – Green 51%


          And that’s before the Thursday revelations and Friday withdrawal from ministerial position and Ardern’s and Davis’ distancing.

          • adam

            Where is the other question Pete – Oh you forgot to report it… How dishonest of you.

            You’re the worst kind of liar, the one who says everyone else lies – except them.

            Again completely misrepresenting the truth, and pushing an attack line. It’s laughable how transparent you are, and of late – not so subtly racist.

            Oh well so much for democracy when we have the right wing in this country hell bent on supporting the beige revolution.

            • Pete George

              You’re a stupid arse.

              If you think another question is relevant why don’t you quote it instead of launching into nonsensical abuse?

              • adam

                Come on Pete keep up, all you do is pander to the next Tory attack line.

                So where is the other question they asked pete, have you posted that?

                Come on pete be honest – too soon?

              • One Anonymous Bloke


                I can suggest a reason why people launch directly into abuse whenever you start repeating the lines you follow so diligently.

                *hours later*

                Sorry I fell asleep. Where was I?

          • Matthew Whitehead

            As I’ve mentioned elsewhere, that question is basically push-polling, and therefore next to worthless. “Wrong,” “lie,” and suggesting a monetary reward all trigger framing around cheating and bias the respondent to agree that her behaviour was wrong. Likewise, reframing it with certain exculpatory facts- like she was doing so for her child- are basically push-polling in reverse instead, so we can’t include extra context.

            There’s also the fact that you can say a behaviour is “wrong,” but still overall
            approve of it- ie. you did something that was contained an objectively wrong action, but that on net it’s something you would morally approve of. This is how many Green voters likely feel about Metiria’s admission. Even when asking for a moral judgement, using the words “wrong” or “right” in a polling question is really amateur, and I can’t see anyone doing it unless specifically instructed to.

            A neutral question would be something like this:
            “Given the facts available in the media, do you approve or disapprove of Metiria Turei’s actions while on a benefit?” The first part prompts people to remember the wider context of the situation but doesn’t point to either positive or negative actions, just primes them to remember media coverage. (the coverage has been spun very negatively, but it should balance out given the next fact) While the word “approve” biases people to let her off the hook slightly, (people are always more likely to say “yes” than “no” in polling) it’s still the most neutral you’ll likely get, especially once you add “disapprove” next to it.

            • Pete George

              I agree that polls like that are far from perfect, but this is the only attempt at actually measuring opinion on what has happened and has been revealed.

              It has more credence that “And lots of support in the Green blogs. You are talking bullshit.”

              That Ardern, Davis and Labour have demonstratively distanced themselves from it suggests that it is not anywhere near as well supported as some seem to think.

              There’s certainly some merit in raising the issue of the poor treatment of beneficiaries, but Turei took a major risk, she has acknowledged this, and has been bowled over by backlash. That’s the nature of politics, something she should have been well aware of.

              If you want to win elections, or if you want to change the government, you have to do what’s necessary under the current system. I think the Turei is now too much a liability.

              I think Ardern, Davis, Shaw and Genter would be a much more formidable combination. Elections aren’t won on the far left.

              • …this is the only attempt at actually measuring opinion on what has happened and has been revealed.

                Well, this poll doesn’t do that, so in fact there haven’t been any. The question “Was it wrong for Metiria Turei to lie to get a bigger benefit?” is framed to gather replies hostile to Turei. If they’d asked the question “Was it wrong for Metiria Turei to not mention flatmates so she could feed her child?”, that would be framed to gather replies positive to Turei. Framing of the question is everything in political surveys.

                Instead of regurgitating whatever bullshit propaganda you happen to have read last, try actually thinking about it for a change.

              • I think Ardern, Davis, Shaw and Genter would be a much more formidable combination.

                OK, if the left starts taking advice from its political opponents, I’m sure we’ll be in touch.

                • One Anonymous Bloke

                  That being so. why on Earth would we approach one of our political opponent’s parrots?

                • exactly – check the phone pete to make sure it’s on…

                • If the left continues ignoring potential voters they’re likely to stay in opposition.

                  For the first time in 9 years the Labour leadership seems to get this. That must be good for our democracy.

                  There are some apparently still stuck in a Green bubble though. You can try to burn off anyone who you see as outside your minority view as much as you likely, but it won’t increase your support.

                  Ardern suggested being relentlessly positive. That’s a breath of fresh air in a traditionally toxic political environment.

                  • funny that you provide a lot of the toxic vibe and attack politics here in this left environment – typical gnat you are – do what I say not what I do – hypocrite.

                    • RedLogix

                      What part of ‘ignoring potential voters’ is toxic? Is there some special virtue in losing elections that I’ve missed out on?

                      There are ONLY two places for the left to get more votes:

                      1. Switching existing right wing voters left.

                      This means identifying soft/disillusioned right wing voters and working with them. So far it looks like the JA/KD team may well be going in this direction. It’s a reasonable strategy because we know there is a 10-15% swing vote each election and they do vote.

                      2. Attracting new voters.

                      Alternately you go for the ‘missing million’, largely comprising under 30’s who’re currently participating in our democracy in alarmingly low numbers. It’s reasonable to think ‘going hard left’ and breaking with the current political neo-lib business as usual model is the best plan with this group. Corbyn and Sanders are evidence of this. It’d be smart for the Greens to head in this direction, anything to get them out of their sub-15% ghetto. The risk is that these people just aren’t in the habit of getting off their arses on election day.

                      This is a tricky two-track strategy to pull off. The usual MSM suspects will drive wedges all over it given a chance.

                    • “That’s a breath of fresh air in a traditionally toxic political environment.”
                      that’s what pete said

                      “funny that you provide a lot of the toxic vibe and attack politics here in this left environment”
                      that’s what I said

                      “What part of ‘ignoring potential voters’ is toxic? ”
                      that’s what you asked

                      I don’t get it – what do you want?

                      for clarity – the left want more votes – pete contributes to a toxic environment for the left here with his incessant fault finding and attack posts against the left – he’s not helping the left get more votes – edit – too harsh – sorry

                      Apart from all that I agree with most of the rest of your comment – big job better get into it.

                    • “contributes to a toxic environment for the left here with his incessant fault finding and attack posts against the left”

                      Very funny – or do you actually believe that?

                      I only occasionally post here. You and a few others frequently post here, creating a toxic environment of the left, attacking many people you judge to not be suitably left, or something.

                      You (collectively) deter far more people from voting left than i ever will, because they are not the right sort of left for you, not left enough, or just that you make an ill-informed judgement.

                      I first came to The Standard thinking it would be a good place to join in the rebuilding of Labour after Clark lost in 2008 and then departed Parliament. I was mistaken. This has been a toxic, small minded, dirty unwelcoming place.

                      There are good people here, and interesting comments at times, but it has been dominated by persistent petty regulars who burn off anyone deemed some sort of enemy.

                      It has changed, probably because more moderate centre-ish people have been driven away or can’t be bothered with the toxicity.

                      What is obvious now that, while there may be a few Labour try-hards, the dirty politics here is now dominated by non-Labour supporters like marty mars, OAB, Robert Guyton, who all regularly and persistently attack anyone deemed some sort of enemy.

                      It’s pathetic, and it’s counter productive. Even if there is some intent to drive off potential Labour voters that is cutting off your nose to spite your face, and certainly won’t encourage people to vote Green or Mana.

                      This is a toxic environment without me, I just pop in occasionally to see if anything has changed. Obviously not.

                      I’ve voted both Green and Labour, but I and I think many others who pass by here certainly wouldn’t encouraged to do so again by the bitter and twisted attack dweebs who dominate threads here.

                      Ardern and Davis have given the first sign in a decade that Labour may be able to climb back into prominence again. But it looks like they will struggle to get any help here with so much toxic self destruction further to the left going on.

                    • “This has been a toxic, small minded, dirty unwelcoming place.”

                      Is someone forcing your arm up your back and making you post anti left attack comments? No I didn’t think so – that’s all your own work peter – you’ve always been a moaner-fabricator since you started posting way back when you were a United Candidate for parliament. You haven’t changed one bit.

                  • One Anonymous Bloke

                    continues ignoring

                    Why in bland’s name do you think Jacinda Ardern took a judgemental line re: Metiria?

                    It actually happened and you’re so busy wittering you haven’t noticed.

                    You are one of the poisons in the well of public discourse, Peter George.

                  • You can try to burn off anyone who you see as outside your minority view as much as you likely, but it won’t increase your support.

                    That’s moronic. There’s no point in the Greens going and looking for support among people who hate the poor, just like there’s no point in ACT going looking for support among socialists.

                    • Like I said, burning off potential support.

                      It’s sad to see how intolerant and toxic Green supporters have become here. The decent ideals of Jeanette and Rod are long gone.

                      And the chances of the Greens having a significant say in Government are likely to remain bleak.

                    • Union city greens

                      @ Psycho Milt: That’s moronic. There’s no point in the Greens going and looking for support among people who hate the poor, just like there’s no point in ACT going looking for support among decent Humans.

                      Fixed that for you.

                    • It’s sad to see how intolerant and toxic Green supporters have become here.

                      Well, I tell you what – after you’ve successfully pitched to ACT that they need to stop burning off potential support by having politicans who don’t appeal to socialists, come back here and we’ll consider how to make the Green Party more attractive to right-wingers.

                      The decent ideals of Jeanette and Rod are long gone.

                      Always makes me laugh, how popular Jeanette Fitzsimons and Rod Donald are with right-wingers, now.

                    • Carolyn_nth

                      And yet, it was just yesterday that Fitzsimons was supporting Turei.

                    • exactly – YESTERDAY – the facts are always inconvenient for right wingers – as if the beige algae bloom would have a clue what the Greens would like – I’m embarrassed for pete on that one

                  • Union city greens

                    You’ve been listening to too many of those right wing bigots on your site for too long it’s no wonder your world view is nasty.
                    And then you have the gall to talk about toxic political environment.

                    Dick head. 🙄

                  • Chess Player

                    I think you’ll be proven correct Pete.
                    There’s only two places to gain a vote from – those voting for someone else or those not voting.
                    I’ve been looking at Greens this time around, as I know a guy on their list and he seemed like a good person to vote for, and I have voted for them occasionally in the past, but to be frank I’m more likely to go to TOP this time around.

                    • One Anonymous Bloke


                      Um yes. Revealing. You’re supposed to remove the veils slowly, rather than leaving them in the dressing room.

                    • Sacha

                      TOP have no chance of winning either 5% or an electorate, so all you are doing is subtracting a vote from somewhere else. Do you reckon that’s more likely to be the right or the left bloc?

                    • RedLogix

                      @ Sacha.

                      So far the evidence is TOP are gaining votes from across the spectrum. In some ways they really are that long supposed mythical ‘blue green’ party; environmentally and socially progressive, but expressed within an orthodox economic framework.

                    • Chess Player

                      @ Sacha
                      I think you’ll be surprised on the big day.
                      The fact that TOP are called left by the right and right by the left suggest they have a suitable balance to produce a solid initial start at least.
                      One of the main reasons I will probably vote for them, even though I don’t fully agree with every policy as written, is that I’d like to encourage them to continue.
                      We do need some non-partisan representation for those of us who are more interested in achieving genuine improvement for those that follow than adhering to tribalistic dogma.
                      The ‘my way is right/your way is wrong’ debate that the left/right insist on indulging in probably accounts for much of the non-voting public. No different to the irrational ‘my imaginary friend can beat up your imaginary friend’ debates between religious peoples.

              • One Anonymous Bloke

                Ardern and Davis, like you and the pollsters, are responding to received wisdom, and make no mistake, wisdom it is, until we enter a period of dynamic change.

                And then all bets are off.

                I’d prefer dynamic change, thanks, not that my preferences mean much.

              • KJT

                Your view of what is “far left” says it all.

                Looking after people properly is “far left” now, is it?

                Breaking the law in the past disqualifies someone for Parliament would have removed J A Lee for one. Of course though. He would be “to far left” for PG.

                If you are really concerned about acting unethically, you will, of course be asking hard questions about how Key, Collins, English, Bennett, etc made their fortunes.

              • Where exactly did I say that metiria’s support has been purely online? She’s got a lot of support on blogs and on twitter because she’s got a lot of support, period.

                Elections do tend to be “won on the far left” for the Green Party, it is almost all of the party’s support. But suggesting our welfare system is broken isn’t far left, it’s just acknowledging basic facts.

                And there is no guarantee that when Metiria Turei decides to stand aside that Genter will be the choice. Remember, Marama Davidson leapfrogged her (from position 12, then 4) on the Party list.

                • Carolyn_nth

                  Both Davidson’s and Genter are great assets to the GP caucus. Either would be a great future leader and/or minister.

                  Davidson is my first preference for future co-leader, but Genter wouldn’t be a disappointment.

            • mikes

              “There’s also the fact that you can say a behaviour is “wrong,” but still overall
              approve of it”

              A fact in whose imagination? Bollocks.

              It’s quite simple in my opinion. If she was struggling to feed her child at the time (Which is looking a bit less unlikely, unfortunately) then she was right to do what she did.

              In regards to the not living in the electorate thing she was wrong to do what she did but I suspect most reasonable people wouldn’t give a toss about the second one even though it was wrong.

              If something is morally right then it’ right and likewise if it’s morally wrong then it’s wrong.

              • One Anonymous Bloke

                And there’s the problem: the obsession with morals and justice.

                Justice is the next lowest form of human behaviour after religion.

              • Is stealing to feed yourself when you’re starving and have no resources wrong? There are a fair amount of people who would say yes to that question, despite also saying yes to the “would you approve of this action?” type question as well. Morality (and polling!) is complicated.

          • One Anonymous Bloke

            …things turned against Turei and the Greens.

            So it’s too soon to tell what effect this week has had on Green support…

            Contradictory yet definitive statements of nothing at all. Say everything and mean nothing.

      • marty mars 3.4.2

        “Anecdotally, people are all ready deciding the Greens will no longer get their vote.”

        Wow it is the opposite for me – many, many people have said they will now vote for the Greens because of these events.

        • Carolyn_nth

          Yep. Many people I know have either become GP members or donated to them or both.

    • mary_a 3.5

      @ garibaldi (3) … Yes. Metiria looked pretty worn out during her press statement on Friday. At one stage I thought she looked close to tears, but I might have been wrong there.

      She’s a good decent person, whose heart is in the right place and deserves to be treated much better than msm is doing at present. Instead of slagging her off, media should be investigating the reasons single parent beneficiaries (and also lowly paid workers), are driven to resort to deceitful means to survive. That would be far more constructive journalism, instead of pouring scorn on a young mother, living in desperate circumstances more than twenty years ago!

  4. Korero Pono 4

    Everyone is acting like Metiria committed the crime of the century, both her accusers and defenders. I know that most of her defenders believe they need to bow down to the sensibilities of the law and believe they need to be seen to not condone supposed ‘fraud’ (either benefit or electoral) but seriously buying into the bullshit narrative of the right (and the supposed left – aka Labour) simply reinforces the position of those who’d like nothing more than to continue living under a corrupt right wing government.

    Those supporting Metiria need to reinforce the message that Metiria was trying to highlight when she outed herself. That we live in a country that massively disadvantages beneficiaries and low wage workers. Many are forced to live on less than subsistence levels of income. When faced with the proposition of seeing their children go hungry people make decisions that they should not have to make. Those decisions include, not paying bills, power company hoppers, resorting to loan sharks, selling their possessions, borrowing from family and friends, prostituting themselves, staying in abusive relationships, telling lies to get assistance, going to food banks and subjecting themselves to unneeded ‘interventions’ and intrusive processes simply because they lack sufficient resources and having to accept and eat food that many would consider substandard. This list could go on and on but the point is that put in the same position I doubt there are many parents that would not do the same to ensure their children do not go hungry. We need to reinforce the message that because certain people (usually women and children) are massively disadvantaged the system criminalises them when they do what they have to do to survive. A significant number of beneficiaries and low waged workers are damned if they do and damned if they don’t. The narrative continues to demonise the poor (bad parent, bludger, criminal, vulnerable children, lazy, useless) and individualise the problems created by unjust and punitive policies and a less than adequate welfare system.

    If the information I am reading regarding Ardern’s stance is true (and I am still trying to find a news clip) then I am disappointed at her lack of steel, she should, at the very least defended the position that Metiria found herself in back in the 90s and highlighted the disadvantage faced by women and children every day, forcing many into making decisions that may well criminalise them. Instead Ardern bends to the dominant narrative, a narrative that primarily punishes women and does little to support her supposed feminist principles. This type of hypocrisy reinforces my disappointment in Labour because it suggests that we are simply going to get more of the same from them and let’s face it, Labour (along with National) have done very little over 30 plus years to alleviate the plight of the most vulnerable in this country, and if they (Labour) cannot even stand up for their supposed coalition partner, then more fool them because those missing million and those wavering between Labour and Greens will continue as they have done and that may mean another 3 years stuck with National.

    I hope I am wrong on this but if Ardern’s stance on Metiria is as has been reported in MSM, then that does not bode well for any policy announcements needed to show they are serious about tackling poverty. So far, the policy I have read does little to help those who need it most. I live in hope that they will surprise me when they start announcing their policy going forward but at this stage the Greens are the only party IMHO that have come up with any policy that will make a difference to those who need it most. I am just grateful that Metiria has sufficient life experience to know what it is like to live struggle and therefore she has the empathy and understanding to act as a strong spokesperson and advocate for our most vulnerable citizens.

    • weka 4.1

      Can I put that up as a Guest Post?

      I agree re the message, we need to use MT’s surrendering of the Ministerial potential as an opportunity to now focus on what her story was really for.

      Also not going to disagree too much with your assessment of JA. Am still trying to find the audio from yesterday of what she actually said though. Plus, pragmatics. I think there is a chance here to get a L/G govt without NZF, and that’s a dilemma for the left if Labour are going to do badly by beneficiaries. Apparently there are policies and positioning coming out tomorrow.

    • I agree completely with what you’ve said, I just tend to work up to my point when I’m writing non-fiction. Hence why the stuff about class war went last. We’re saying the same thing, but your style is more straightforward than mine, because I have never quite been able to work philosophy readings out of my head. (but it was worthwhile, as it’s what made me a feminist. 🙂 )

      I completely agree that saying “they did it too” is a weak argument when not also accompanied with “and they were no more wrong than my lot were,” but it’s important to highlight the hypocrisy here because it reinforces the point I made later that this criticism of Metiria is informed by systemic (and for the women who’re critiquing her, internalized) misogyny.

      • greywarshark 4.2.1

        It is important too to acknowledge that everyone can be a potential criminal when laws are too unfair and oppressive. The individual trying to reach their potential and find a base from which to operate as independent can find obstacles erected that can’t be climbed, instead they have to be burrowed under. NZs ‘Escape from Colditz’. The cold self-serving degrading policies of the neo-libs create these barriers. Deliberately!

    • One Anonymous Bloke 4.3

      most of her defenders believe they need to bow down to the sensibilities of the law

      Which seems like a reasonable position to take until you consider that successive governments have broken the social contract.

    • Delia 4.4

      Yes well that is my issue with Labour, they do not defend beneficiaries, in fact they will continue the subsistence level that so many live..all this business with Metiria did was harden my Green vote. Not just mine, my partners as well. Until Labour talk about and consider that many New Zealanders live on a benefit at some time in their lives, for some permanantly (illness and disability) and deserve their attention as much as the low income working battlers, they won’t get my vote. What was left out of the narrative about Metiria was the success story she is, off a benefit in five years, with a law degree and now a politician. She should be applauded.

      • Carolyn_nth 4.4.1

        Yep. An impressive success story – and continues the struggle for the struggling classes in the face of some pretty brutal attacks.

  5. billmurray 5

    Hate to be a party pooper, but I believe that her days are numbered.
    A drop in the polls will get the drums beating on a leadership challenge.
    A leader who cannot have a Ministerial role?.

    • Rae 5.1

      And that is why she needed to step aside, while she remains she provides so much ammunition for the Nats and their supporters. It is not a case of whether right or wrong and whether or not she is doing the lord’s work, as it were, but she just provides grist to their mill by staying on.
      She could always come back once everything is sorted.

      • Korero Pono 5.1.1

        I disagree, why are we always bowing down to the perception that we must act and be a certain way to be palatable? To whom are we bowing down to? Why should we? I won’t and refuse to buy into that narrative, that’s how they continue to control us!

      • Grantoc 5.1.2

        And furthermore she along with Shaw led the Greek Chorus in demanding that Barclay resign following his illegal indiscretions.

        Doesn’t it make her decision to stay on a little hypocritical?

        • One Anonymous Bloke

          Did she?

          No, it doesn’t. Glad I could clear that up for you.

        • Stuart Munro

          And has he resigned? Nope.

          A little hypocritical – about 1 ppm hypocritical.

          Whereas the guy picking up $3k a week but two ashamed to show up to work? He’s more like 100% hypocritical.

          Trying to equate the two shows a significant lack of balance – like those who talk about Metiria’s fraud but ignore Peter Dunne’s fraudulent claiming of party leader benefits. There is no United Future, which is why he could not be bothered to register it. But the Gnats needed to buy his vote, so they made it happen. Entirely improper of course – and without a murmur from the rightwhiners.

        • RedLogix

          Yes. Just a little bit hypocritical.

          About as much hypocritical as we all are; none of us entirely live up to our professed ideals. Do we?

    • “Hate to be a party pooper” – hogwash, billmurray, party pooper is what you thrill to be! Here on TS, the two words define you.

    • Greens don’t do leadership challenges. We’ve never replaced a leader before they willingly resigned, and I think Turei will go herself if she thinks she’s hurting the party too much, regardless of how much support she gets, but she’s clearly not expecting that to happen before the election given her announcement. You need to remember that we’re just coming off a conference and media buzz that boosted polls by up to 4% when media personalities were actively spinning things as if she’s shot herself in the foot.

      We should wait for at least one more poll before concluding that she is hurting polling, because last time people predicted that it turned out they were dead wrong. It’ll also be a little complicated because we won’t be able to sift out voters that returned to Labour for Jacinda vs voters that abandoned the greens due to the youthful indiscretion of non-consequentially lying about her voting address. (the EC has traditionally taken a highly relaxed approach on voter addresses and I don’t think they’ve ever referred anyone to the police for it before. You live where you say you live, so long as it could plausibly be your home)

      You’re thinking too much in terms of traditional politics. Remember, the Greens see ourselves as radicals. Pragmatic ones, but wanting to upset the capitalist paradigm for sure. If Turei looks set to get welfare reform through despite impaling herself on her sword, the party’s supporters will love her for it. With the proviso that this campaign has been completely nuts so far, Turei is highly unlikely to stand aside until after the election, and even then, only if the Greens lose ground on 2014.

      Also, in terms of people to step up… if or when Turei does go, it’s currently between Marama Davidson and Julie Anne Genter for her replacement. (Davidson would make a very logical continuation of Turei’s legacy and keep the leadership team’s diversity intact, but Genter has been popular for longer and has a pretty robust handle on Transport, which is arguably one of the most important Green issues)

      • weka 5.3.1

        Is it feasible that Davidson could be the Minister of Social Development? I’m not sure how Labour/JA would see such a new MP being in that kind of role.

        • I think Labour will probably want that role for themselves just to reinforce a political distance from the controversy, I would expect.

          Despite Marama’s being excellent, yes, I expect Labour would find her too new to give such an important role to. They might make her associate.

      • billmurray 5.3.2

        Matthew Whitehead, 11.40am
        Thanks for your reasoned response to my bit.
        I guess we will all have to wait and see what occurs over the period leading to election.
        I know there is great tension in head office Labour.
        If there is any perception in Labour that the green are holding them back then in my view they will start dumping on the Greens over difference in policies.
        Enjoyed your article.

        • You’re welcome.

          I don’t know if you’re right about Labour throwing the Greens out so easily. I expect Labour will be very concerned with showing an image of stability. They will be reluctant to ditch the Greens unless former Green voters are going completely overboard (ie. becoming non-voters or leaking to weird places like NZ First or National, rather than to reliable coalition partners, like the Greens or now perhaps the Māori Party) in sizable numbers, which is very unlikely- most Green supporters who leak generally do so to Labour.

          This is our first pre-election coalition in New Zealand and Labour will be keen to show people that MMP ways of dealing with things are valid to our country, that you can have coalitions with parties that aren’t necessarily the largest one and still have a stable government if everyone involved acts like adults. (Jacinda has been signalling this in her interviews so far and I respect it as smart and savvy political tactics, ie. paving the way if she needs to win with a strong Green and/or NZF presence in her Government)

          They will have to weight those concerns against immediate short-term political self-interest- is it worth winning once if you undermine where you’ll be in the long term? I hope they’ve got smart enough strategists on their team to point out those risks, especially now we’ve seen that Ardern is shaking things up a bit in that department, (praise be, etc…!) but as it’s still Labour, I suppose I won’t rule out their only looking ahead one or two terms of Parliament at a time.

          • billmurray

            Matthew Whitehead 1.06pm,
            Yes but, if the ” a vote for Labour is a vote for the Greens’ starts to resonate with the voters particularly in marginal seats then Labour will act against the Greens.
            Labour want supreme strength in future coalition negotiations they will not allow the perception or the reality that the Greens may be holding them back.
            Labour now have the ‘bit between their teeth’.
            Watch out any political party.

            • Matthew Whitehead

              I think if that’s all the left has to worry about we’ll be very lucky and hopefully changing the government soon enough.

              This is just the campaign season starting up and National will be trying whatever it can from its proxies to discredit Ardern as a potential Prime Minister. That the usual suspects are actually staying clear of calling for Labour to rule out the Greens is a good sign- it’s only ACToids doing it, and I honestly think National wouldn’t bother feeding them lines because they’re not professional enough to deliver them.

              No, we should be watching what the Nat MPs, Hooton, Farrar, etc… are saying very carefully right now, because they won’t let a single word loose without having a panel and a poll in hand that it’s effective against Ardern.

              • billmurray

                Matthew Whitehead 2.51pm.
                In my view you are wrong in your assertions, the usual suspects are and will continue to attack the Greens and Labour because of the Metiria leadership.
                Metira has become toxic in the eyes of the public, the polling of the voters is quite clear on that, that situation cannot be shunted aside.
                She is the sitting duck.
                Labour know that but it seems at the moment that Labour and the Greens will sit with it.
                How long for will depend on polls which will probably become more frequent.
                We will all have wait and see, but please do not underestimate a Labour ruthlessness coming into full attack on a left block unless they ( Labour ) start getting real traction.
                Not vote sharing, which will be seen as a Metira anchor to their government ambitions.

                • Chess Player

                  It’s certainly going to be interesting to see who represents the Greens during the live debates.
                  Having Turei do that is probably going to provide a bit of a target for cheap shots, allowing opponents to detract from the focus of whatever question has been posited to the speakers, so I guess it’ll be Shaw that has to handle that.
                  As far as Labour ruthlessness, I would hope they are smart enough to see past their obvious inner rivalries and realise their only chance is to embrace the Greens and also at least one other minor party as a potential partner.
                  In many ways, Labour seem to be still paying for their stupidity in the 80’s followed by lack of succession planning by Clark/Cullen.
                  Ardern could be a real game-changer, but as you say we will just have to wait and see what the coming polls and eventual election have to say on that.

                  • One Anonymous Bloke

                    Revealing. You think Metiria Turei is ill-equipped to turn “cheap shots” to her advantage.

                    “I would hope…”

                    Fascinating. In what circumstances would you hope it?

                    Wishful thinking 101: how to show it.

                    • Chess Player

                      Well yes – unfortunately based on the recent past events, I do think Turei is ill-equipped to turn cheap shots to her advantage.
                      She didn’t think very far ahead in terms of the impact of her announcement did she.
                      I’m one of those that has no issue with what she did as a 23 year old – I wasn’t making particularly wise decisions at that age myself. Who does.
                      But the way this was announced, with little thought for what might happen next just seems short-sighted and to be frank somewhat naive.
                      With respect to my ‘I would hope’ comment, it seems to me that there is ongoing bickering in the Labour caucus as they never seem to be able to settle on a leader for long. The ‘I would hope’ expresses an outsiders bewildered perspective that they can’t yet have realised that this is not appealing to other outsiders and is in fact a gigantic turn-off.
                      And yet attracting outsiders to become insiders is what is needed for Labour to gain power again. Shuffling voters between Labour and Greens and back again ain’t gonna get them over the line on election day.
                      Voting for change is one thing – voting for change that will be better than the current regime is another question.
                      Hope that clarifies for you.

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      I commented on how revealing your opinion is. Clarity isn’t the issue.

                      Chess is for accountants.

                • KJT

                  Interesting how a concern troll knows what voters think.

                  Many of us old codgers remember our mispent youth,and only have sympathy for young people who stuff up.

                  Was Turei meant to hide it?

                  Her “crime” was falling pregnant while young. There is something sick about, so many, creepy middle aged mens, obsession with punishing solo mothers

                  Since, she has contributed far more to society, including bringing up her daughter, than her critics. Self important, angry white wannabees all.

                  This has certainly exposed the meanness, entitlement and arrogance of establishment New Zealand.

                  And exposed, who wants to actually do anything about poverty, compared to the posers.

          • Carolyn_nth

            My reading is that distancing themselves from Turei was not just strategic for the elections on the part of Team Ardern, but a statement of intent.

            It looks to me like the GR-Ardern faction is calling the shots – and basically that’s Third Way people. I am wary that possibly they are sweet talking the likes of Gower – they’ve done that in the past.

            My reading is that GR wants to dominate the Greens in the next government. they may also play NZ First off against the GP to maintain dominance.

            Thus, the GP needs a strong a presence in terms of numbers, in the next government as possible. I don’t think the 3rd wayers in the NZLP caucus are likely to be that keen on the MOU.

            • billmurray

              Carolyn_nth 5.55pm,
              Agree with your para’s 1 2 and 3.
              I cannot see, but we will have to wait for the polls, that the Greens will ever be a dominate in the next government as long as Metiria is a leader.
              IMO she will have forgo the leadership of the GP if they are to thrive.
              Good post.

              • In Vino

                Well I agree with Robert Guyton. A Party-Pooping concern troll has just successfully wasted a lot of time of those who knew him so little as to respond in earnest. Look at the outcome… Metiria must go!!!

                • billmurray

                  In Vino 6.29pm/
                  Yes she must go.
                  Before the election if a left block hope’s to succeed.
                  She has become toxic.
                  She’s a anchor to a vibrant left and a ship which wants sail then win the race.
                  You are the troll on these page’s.
                  So is Robert Guyton.

                  • billmurray claims In Vino (Veritas) is a troll!

                    Trumpy-Ups, bill!

                    • billmurray

                      Robert Guyton 7.15pm.
                      I also said you are.
                      Leaning on the lamppost.
                      There you go.

                    • In Vino

                      I happen to be a sailor, Bill.
                      “She’s a anchor to a vibrant left and a ship which wants sail then win the race.”
                      Are you trying to make us laugh? Ships carry their anchors while racing – they don’t drop them over the side as you seem to be suggesting. Anchors are used only to hold the ship in place when not sailing. Sorry you need such simple explanations.
                      Stop your silly rantings.

                • KJT

                  Turei has become a threat to the comfortable establishment.

                  So the trolls are out in force to get her. We can see what the relentless right wing meme, will be.

                  I can see from the comments within the Green party that BillMurray, and the rest of the parrots have got it totally wrong.

                  Greens have been almost all in support.

              • One Anonymous Bloke


                While you’re waiting and seeing, my representatives are setting the agenda.

                The polls will tell. I expect disappointment for one or both of us.

                • billmarray said:
                  “the Greens will ever be a dominate in the next government as long as Metiria is a leader”
                  He’s mangled his words, but his meaning is clear: Metiria for PM!
                  Bill, you beauty!!!

                  • In Vino

                    billmurray’s lack of coherence is a worry. Does he need help? No idea of what anchors are for, and spelling mistakes that make his message mean the opposite of what he probably (?) intended..

                    • billmurray

                      In Vino, 7.46pm,
                      anchor’s, you should look the word up.
                      If that is to hard ask your schoolteacher.
                      Spelling and grammar, put it down to a war taking place and bomb shelters.
                      My message was still clear:
                      Metria is toxic and so will be the Greens unless they dump her.

                  • billmurray

                    Robert Guyton 6.34pm.
                    Yes Robert I did mangle my words, it should have read ‘never’.
                    Apologise for telling the truth.
                    Sorry, but in real life, normal people seem to be able to handle such mistakes.
                    Please get a grip, or is that your problem?.

                    • In Vino

                      Have you got a grip on that anchor yet and pulled it out of your mouth? You come here to make trouble – stop your miserable whinging.

                    • In Vino

                      billmurray at 8.05.
                      Looked up ‘anchor’ in dictionary. Sorry – it is never used for a ship wanting to sail. It always means a way of holding fast somewhere when one does NOT want to sail or move away (metaphor). You messed up.
                      I happen to be a schoolteacher, and a teacher of language. Why should I go and ask another one? I already know.
                      I might add that I am doing this because I see you as one of the nastiest and most aggressive critical people who post on The Standard.

                      PS – A sea anchor is something totally different. But you actually have to say (or write) ‘sea anchor’ if that is what you mean. If you mean ‘sea anchor’ then say so. It might make your writings more intelligible.
                      “A war taking place and bomb shelters.” Such a pretty metaphor.
                      You thoroughly ask for every bomb you get. And you’ll get more.
                      Stop your whinging.

                  • KJT

                    Metiria for PM.

            • One Anonymous Bloke

              the GR-Ardern faction

              Not to be confused with the Ardern-GR faction, those splitters!

              As a voter, this is another reason I vote Green.

              • In Vino


                • billmurray

                  In Vino 8.21pm,
                  The reply button was not there. 8.21pm
                  It was not ‘a pretty metaphor’ regarding spelling or grammar background
                  I am not whinging.
                  You seem to be quite gormless for a teacher or is that a ‘pretty metaphor’ ? you were stating?.
                  You seem to be a very vindictive troll with a distinctive lack of life’s reality’s.
                  Another way to express my opinion is ‘to grow up’.
                  Please remember to take your teddy bear to bed or mummy will be angry.

                  [lprent: That is because the maximum depth of nested replies (10) was reached. If you want to reply then, just go to parent with a reply button and use that. ]

                  • Muttonbird

                    Go to bed, dude. You are embarrassing yourself.

                    • billmurray

                      Got the gang out. dude.
                      Wow this late at night!.
                      Not at all embarrassed.
                      IMO not like Metiria is embarrassing the left block by hanging on.
                      That was the original discussion until the trolls started the bullying.

                  • RedLogix


                    The Reply button vanishes after a certain number of indents. I forget exactly how many. If you want to keep going past that point the best way is to scroll back up to the last visible Reply button in the thread and use that.

                    Your comment will be added in under the others in a linear, non-indented thread. In order to make clear who’s being addressed I usually add in an “@xxx” salutation like I have above.

                  • In Vino

                    Edit – Red Logix has just told you what I was going to.

                    Regarding ‘Metriria Turei must go’, you seem to have given up. Good.
                    If I were gormless as a teacher, the kids would not tolerate me. You don’t seem to know much about teaching..
                    ‘Life’s reality’s’ should be ‘life’s realities’, since you earlier advised me to ask a teacher.
                    Yes, you have provoked vindictive reaction from me. Learn from that. Or it will happen again.

                    • billmurray

                      In Vino 9.20pm.
                      Vindictive reaction from you was uncalled for.
                      Bad spelling and grammar is not a crime on a blog.
                      Neither are points of view different from your own.
                      I do not express ‘pretty metaphors’ and it was insulting for you to say so.
                      I did not provoke you, my opinions were my honest opinions, if they upset you, please simply say so and give your reasons if so inclined.
                      Your threat of future vindictiveness says a lot about your nature.
                      You seem to be immature person by saying such a thing on a blog.
                      Do you threaten your class children as you have just threatened me?.
                      I have not learned anything from your remarks except to say I am agast you are a school teacher.
                      I will treat your threat with the scorn it deserves.
                      Fuck off bully boy.

                      [lprent: There are relatively few rules on this site, and I make much of them. As much as anything else so I don’t get bored reading comments whilst moderating.

                      Calling attention to someones spelling and grammar isn’t something I look for whilst moderating. That is just being helpful albeit in a sarcastic and pedantic way. Whining about being corrected is. If you don’t like it, then either ignore it and concentrate on your arguments, or correct it yourself before it can be pointed out.

                      Please desist, grow up and learn to take your lumps in a robust debate without whining. Respond to the arguments and if you can’t – then go and do some learning until you can. I’m not that interested in reading people whimpering and whining about how they have been hard done by in a debate when they appear to be incapable of defending their position and opinions.

                      After reading tens of thousands of similar comments, it simply bores me. Whining always sounds so damn repetitive. ]

                    • In Vino

                      No, I do not threaten my students. Well, jokingly on occasions, but if teachers get into serious threats they have probably lost the whole class.
                      You seem to me to be a guy who comes to this site to do deliberate concern trolling. Hence the lack of sympathy.
                      If I see you making posts that show you to be a true ally, I will welcome you. Same with Robert Guyton, I suspect.
                      Up to you.

                    • billmurray

                      In Vino 11.18 pm
                      I told you in my last post that I post my honest opinion.
                      Despite you and Guyton,I will continue do so.
                      Your belittling of spelling and grammar by myself was disgraceful. I gave reasoning, you then maliciously insulted that reasoning
                      You then threatened me with further vindictiveness for doing exactly what I have always done on this or any other blog.
                      You need to read your last few sentences on the post before this last one, it was bullying and you should feel shame.
                      You now seem to be contrite, the truisms I said in my last post may of caused that, who knows.
                      Bullying does not wash on any blog and it would not wash on wider media.
                      Tonight you were guilty of needless shaming and bullying for no good reasons.
                      Think about that Mr Schoolteacher.
                      BTW that is not whining or whinging. I do not do that, I reply to offensive attacks.

                    • In Vino

                      Kia kaha.
                      As I said, I will respect comments that I do not think are false concern trolling.
                      And thanks for the Mr Schoolteacher. It is not often I get a title like that!

  6. DH 6

    I think the decision not to take a portfolio is a good one, it should solve a (perceived) moral dilemma that’s arisen from Metiria’s admission.

    The Govt is a lawmaker and law enforcer and it would be difficult to reconcile admitted law breaking with law enforcing. Beneficiaries who commit similar acts could start using the defence “if she could do it then why can’t I?” and while that wouldn’t be a legal defence it would create some mayhem in the judicial system and resentment among the disadvantaged. As a non-Minister, however, Turei could still represent the poor & disadvantaged while not being seen as a hypocrite supporting laws that she herself spurned.

    History is littered with examples of poachers turned gamekeeper and longer term I’d expect all could return to business as usual. I think it’s a good move.

    • RedLogix 6.1

      The Govt is a lawmaker and law enforcer and it would be difficult to reconcile admitted law breaking with law enforcing.

      Only if we fail to distinguish between ‘breaking the law’ and condoning the same. The point so many people are missing is that Turei did not stand up and skite about how clever she was ‘cheating the welfare system’ … but how god-awful it is to put people into such a shitty position that this is the kind of thing they do to survive.

      Far from condoning ‘breaking the law’, she was telling us what she had learned from her mistake, and what we need to do to help prevent other people from falling into the same trap.

      • DH 6.1.1

        Your argument is that she is condoning it RedLogix, it seems a bit contradictory.

        That’s not really the point anyway, my argument is that the decision is a pragmatic one which should pre-empt certain perceived issues that could have been problematic for Labour and the Greens.

        • RedLogix

          Your argument is that she is condoning it RedLogix,

          Sorry but either I wrote my comment very badly, or you drew precisely the opposite conclusion from the one I was making.

          Does this help?

          “Far from condoning ‘breaking the law’,

          • DH

            I’m not really sure what your conclusion is. Your argument is that her actions were driven by need and as such (I assume) you find them justified. That would be condoning her actions.

            A problem is that lawmakers don’t have the luxury of such (moral) forgiveness. They enact laws and by direct association become obligated to enforce them.

            • RedLogix

              Your argument is that her actions were driven by need and as such (I assume) you find them justified.

              No that’s exactly my point. Turei absolutely has never said what she did was justified. She has never tried to excuse it or condone it. It was a wrong thing to do.

              But people do wrong things when they are put in wrong circumstances. When we make mistakes, almost always there is a systemic underlying cause that has contributed.

              When many, many people make the same mistake, it is certain there is a systemic lesson to be learnt, and an underlying cause. In this case it’s obvious … miserable welfare benefits deliberately set too low by a heartless Tory bitch of a Finance Minister in the 90’s.

              Really no-one, absolutely no-one gives a shit about whether Turei received a bit of extra dosh she wasn’t technically entitled to decades ago. Her real crime has been to stand up and name the class war that has been waged in this country for 40 years. Her real crime has been to say we treat poor people like shit. Her real crime has been to challenge the heartless shits who blame the victims of poverty for their ‘laziness, poor choices, and lack of character’.

              Her real crime has been to point out that poverty is about nothing more than a lack of money; by far the best the fix is simply more money. And the establishment really cannot tolerate anyone saying that out loud.

              • DH

                Your argument is confusing RedLogix. Either her actions were wrong or they were justified and subsequently ‘right’. Note here I’m addressing the moral issue of right & wrong, not what’s legal or illegal.

                You’re offering excuses for why she did what she did and that is justifying her actions. She also offered reasonable excuses. I’d think it only ‘wrong’ when there is no (reasonable) mitigation.

                And why is it wrong anyway? If her needs were so great then why not openly agree the law was an ass and deserved to be broken.

                • RedLogix

                  Let’s imagine I stupidly press a button on a big machine, it starts up unexpectedly and I kill a fellow worker. (I’ve worked in heavy industry all my life so this isn’t an entirely hypothetical narrative.)

                  Yes I made a mistake. There is no condoning this, nor any justification. The consequences will stick with me.

                  But on investigation it turns out that in the interests of cheapness the machine has been designed without any safety lockouts. This is the tenth time someone has been killed in the same circumstance.

                  Now 20 years later I speak to a Health and Safety conference, relating my traumatic mistake and plead with the assembled experts to consider updating mandatory minimum design standards so that big machines like this don’t kill so many people.

                  Fortunately when it comes to machine safety, engineers are generally earnest sober people who like making the world a better place. They listen, they form a technical committee and a year or two later a much improved standard emerges from the process.

                  But when it comes to poverty and politics something quite different happens. Turns out that people eating poverty machines exist by design. Turns out the assembled experts intended the system to be dangerous, that poverty was intentionally weaponised, and that saying so out loud is a thought crime in its own right.

                  • DH

                    I’m not sure where you’re going with the analogy but the last bit makes sense at least. Somewhere along the way our general concept of right & wrong has been conflated with legal and illegal and the two are not the same. Parliament is sovereign, Governments can make any law they like, but that doesn’t always make them right.

                    • RedLogix

                      No analogy is perfect, but let’s go a bit deeper with this one.

                      Just focus on that moment when you pressed that damned button and killed your workmate. It may have been an instant of inattention, lack of training, distraction, over familiarity or just a lack of care. Whatever the reason, no-one is ever going to say “oh it was perfectly OK thing to do, I was completely justified to press that button”.

                      Turei has never claimed that what she did was perfectly OK or justified. Or that everyone else should go out and do the same thing. No-one here is condoning breaking the law.

                      What she is saying, ‘look I made this mistake, and I really don’t want more people making it either’. That’s the point on which the left is united behind Turei. And given the shitstorm visited on her, why she is our hero.

                    • DH

                      Sorry for late reply, been out.

                      I still can’t see where you’re going with this. Your analogy discusses unintended consequences. Metiria was deliberate in her actions, was she not?

                    • RedLogix

                      As I said above, no analogy is perfect. The one I’ve drawn on above doesn’t work on that count.

                      But if you want to bring intent into it then, as quite a few other people have done, I invite you to compare a young mother’s intent to feed and house her children decently with say … with the intent of the current Prime Minister when he claimed a housing allowance that while technically legit, was so morally shonky he was utterly unable to defend it.

                      Or the intent behind the billions of dollars of white collar business fraud and tax evasion that absolutely no-one on the right ever mentions?

                      That’s the problem when you bring intent into it; you have to construct a scale of guilt, a sense of proportion, a sense of which is greater and which is lessor.

                    • DH

                      I don’t have any particular problem with the intent argument RedLogix, it’s just that you’ve been framing her actions here as a mistake and I think you’d back yourself into a corner with that angle.

                      Personally I find the truth is usually the best option. From what I’ve read she did what she felt was necessary to provide for her child.

                      I’m a bit concerned the arguments are moot anyway, our laws aren’t exactly forgiving and she may well be prosecuted yet. A conviction would scupper her political future wouldn’t it?

              • reason

                I’ve found RedLogix posts very good on this subject ….I think he/she sums up the crux of this issue very well …..

                ” When many, many people make the same mistake, it is certain there is a systemic lesson to be learnt, and an underlying cause. In this case it’s obvious … miserable welfare benefits deliberately set too low by a heartless Tory bitch of a Finance Minister in the 90’s.”

                Just to help DH and others out ….. I’l repeat the bit I especially agree with

                ” miserable welfare benefits deliberately set too low by a heartless Tory bitch of a Finance Minister in the 90’s.”

                Now when Bill English falsified where he lived ….. so he could get $32,000 extra dollars as an accommodation allowance …… he did this because of his millionaires greed …. it had nothing to do with need.

                But it turned out that the millionaire class that inhabits parliament as our MP’s ……… had a large proportion of them scamming their accommodation allowances …

                From memory John Key and his Nact Govt solved this problem ….. By giving all MP’s a lump sum in their salary packages to cover accommodation.

                The lesson being …..

                Greed gets rewarded …. Need gets punished.

                Would you like a shell company to go with that ????

    • That’s a very establishment view on the role of government.

      I think government exists to correct trends that are going wrong in our society. When one of those trends is “we are unjustly making people criminals,” I absolutely want some bloody ‘criminals’ in Parliament. Nobody got on Georgina Beyer’s case about having admitted to prostitution when she successfully argued for the prostitution law reform to pass, and if Metiria transforms our society for the better by sacrificing her ministerial ambitions in order to patch up our welfare system, history will remember her kindly for it. (coincidentally, history has remembered every Green leader better than they were treated inside Parliament, although to varying degrees)

      Now, it’s important that people in Parliament are only ‘criminals’ in ways that are actually morally justified. This is why Tough-On-Crime ACT back in the day thought it was okay that David Garrett had a prior assault conviction, even though its revelation turned into the straw that broke the camel’s back after he stole a baby’s identity. (this is also why Seymour has zero credibility as an attack dog against Turei, at least for anyone who remembers the history of his ‘Party.’)

      I think honestly setting aside her ministerial ambitions is only a good move because it sets things right with Labour and some of their more conservative voters. I would be thrilled with Metiria as Minister and would see no moral issue with her correcting a system that criminalized her.

      • Macro 6.2.1

        Matthew – Peter Frazer – the second NZ Labour Prime Minister was jailed for sedition before he entered Parliament. Now some will argue that sedition is about as meaningless a crime as you can get in a society that values freedom of speech and expression, but then it was taken seriously. Aren’t the current crop of Labour MP’s being a little too precious?

        • Yes, I believe they are. But I’m pretty cynical when it comes to the chance of turning around the Labour Party as an institution, (which is not to say I don’t think there are good people there whose work I support and hope will succeed, that basically describes every single grassroots member I know) so I personally don’t go digging in the weeds of what, at least to someone my age, is deep Labour Party history.

    • Macro 6.3

      DH the point Red is making is exactly the same as this which occurred 2000 years ago.:

      At that time Jesus went through the grainfields on the Sabbath. His disciples were hungry and began to pick some heads of grain and eat them. 2 When the Pharisees saw this, they said to him, “Look! Your disciples are doing what is unlawful on the Sabbath.”

      3 He answered, “Haven’t you read what David did when he and his companions were hungry? 4 He entered the house of God, and he and his companions ate the consecrated bread—which was not lawful for them to do, but only for the priests. 5 Or haven’t you read in the Law that the priests on Sabbath duty in the temple desecrate the Sabbath and yet are innocent? 6 I tell you that something greater than the temple is here. 7 If you had known what these words mean, ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice,’ you would not have condemned the innocent.

      What is more important?
      Not breaking the Law or Social Justice.
      For those truly on on the left the promotion of Social Justice trumps all else.
      Did the labour movement never break any laws in their fight for social justice? They were constantly at odds with the officials and police. Did Ghandi never break the law as he lead India to independence? The deliverance of Social Justice demands challenging the status quo, and the norms of society.

      As for the minor errors of Meteria 24 years ago can you honestly say you have never transgressed in your whole life?

  7. ianmac 7

    Didn’t Judith Collins break the rules (law?) and just carry on?

    • weka 7.1

      MT’s crime is being Māori and having been poor and worst of all now standing up for the poor.

      • greywarshark 7.1.1

        Metiria – Keep Calm and Carry On.
        You are a Don Quixote who will win. (The writer was kidnapped and held for ransom for years. He knew about fighting for right and a good cause.)

    • Judith Collins certain broke ethics rules, which in my mind is actually worse than technical lawbreaking, because it’s morally wrong and actually undermines your ability to do your job.

  8. Keepcalmcarryon 8

    Im not resigning either.

    • ianmac 8.1

      Nor me!

    • Okay, but you can’t hashtag it unless you’re on twitter. (you could try on Facebook, but does anyone actually use hashtags on facebook yet?) If we can get it trending again, that might remind people in the media that Metiria still has passionate supporters who DAF about these technicalities they are holding against her.

  9. Everybody! Don’t resign!

  10. RedBaronCV 10

    Part of me kinda hopes that the Greens & Labour get around the same share of the vote this election – at the moment Labour are acting as if they are going to massively out point the Greens & some how I think this may no longer be true – they may have to develop their work together gene.

    and I’d love it if the MSM went around a few of the ex partners & children of some of these sanctimonious right wingers to see how many of the ex families have collected welfare /working for families support – a direct subsidy to them

    • I would hate it if we did that. The families of politicians, to the extent that they themselves are not involved in politics or cronyism, should be left out of political debate and media games, and where they are absolutely necessary to show hypocrisy, their identities should be kept anonymous by everyone involved.

      Politicians should be the only ones suffering ad-hominem attacks, and even then I think it’s bad form.

      • KJT 10.1.1

        No. Keep it to what politicians are doing now, or going to do.

        Unless crooks are still crooks. Like Key.

        And leave families out of it.

        • I agree very strongly in principle, I just find it hard to leave that completely unqualified because from time to time politicians and/or the family themselves really do open themselves up to a couple of attacks that justify going a little personal, and then of course you have someone popping in saying “didn’t you lot say we should campaign positive and leave families completely out of it?”, when in fact a completely legitimate point is being made in a way that’s not actually intending to dig directly into people’s private lives.

          For instance, someone getting in other people’s sex lives by campaigning on “family values” who then goes on to cheat has opened up their sex life as a matter for discussion on whether they are a hypocrite.

          And family members who are themselves political advocates beyond simply supporting their family, or who get involved in corrupt deals (such as if people’s suspicions about the LifeKeepers deal are accurate, arguably Mary English’s actions then become a matter of political debate rather than personal attack, the same way Metiria’s past welfare situation became political when she brought it into policy debate) have arguably opened themselves up for criticism.

          But I think even then we should be incredibly sensitive of the fact that it needs to primarily be about appropriate governance or policy rather than simply trying to slander people.

          I feel like Meyt’s dumb actions around voting as a young woman in the wrong electorate are legitimately irrelevant, both in being not particularly outrageous and in being well before her serious political career, and with no actual deleterious effect. They’re also not the same can of worms she opened on herself when bringing her personal situation into the political debate, so it’s really gotcha journalism. (or, if you believe some people, gotcha politics. I will give the media the benefit of the doubt for now on that) But because they were probably dug up in fact-checking that story, the media will insist they have to run it even though it’s not related, the same way they insist on running sex scandal stories, even about politicians who never set a standard of sexual morality on others.

      • RedBaronCV 10.1.2

        Thank you – I wasn’t wanting a personal bout of name calling (although that was not clear!) – but the level of subsidy that is given to income earners who avoid paying reasonable support for their children meaning a large subsidy is then fronted by the taxpayer with WFF & DPB – and of course the high income earner tends to be the biggest dodger – deserves some MSM time

        • Sure, if it’s issues journalism that just happens to collect politicians, that’s fine, but I don’t think we should prompt such investigations into politicians purely to try and damage their career, we should only do it because the alleged misconduct is actually important.

          This sounds important enough for a good investigative journalist to see if there’s anything to it, but you’d probably need a lead to shake at least one of those cases loose.

  11. David Mac 11

    To lift the left vote, appeal to the electorate must be broadened. I think the Greens have done a first rate job of stretching out in one direction, the silver lining in MT’s cloud. Proud of MT? She has your full support? Cool, vote Green.

    To win, the Labour campaign must stand alone from the Greens and stretch out in the other direction and appeal to their traditional core, workers. Jacinda’s outright support for MT’s stand will not broaden appeal, it will polarise it over on the left.

    I realise that may suit many of the people here but I don’t think it suits a majority of NZers, nor does it suit a winning formula.

    A more caring and socially focused Government is going to take time, too many of us need to be taken by the hand and led.

  12. Craig Y 12

    Here’s a list of centre-right National and ACT MPs who have resigned over the last nine years- and two who haven’t- and why they have done so:

    1.Richard Worth- allegations of sexual harrassment
    2.David Garrett- past identity theft of dead infant
    3. Aaron Gilmore- harrassment and intimidation of others
    4. Claudette Hauiti- misuse of parliamentary charge card, claimed expenses after announcing departure from Parliament
    5. Mike Sabin- alleged assault complaint
    6. Pansy Wong- misused parliamentary travel perk after her husband conducted private business on a visit to China

    *7. Nick Smith- contempt of court (March 2004); defamation cases (1999,2005); ACC conflict of interest (2012)
    **8. Todd Barclay- employment dispute, clandestine recordings

    *Note that the latter is still there and hasn’t even been dumped from Cabinet despite repeated mishaps. **Yes, why is he still in Parliament? …Prime Minister??

    Adds up after a while, doesn’t it?

    • I was also thinking of Donna Awatere Huata and John Banks on this issue as well, especially with all the hot takes from Seymour. ACT is a Party which is in no way fit to throw stones on this issue and should be eviscerated by any on-the-ball political commentators who are doing their actual job.

      Don’t forget Gerry Brownlee whose actions with Cera were in fact illegal, and all the bloody times National retrospectively validated their own interpretations of the law.

      • mary_a 12.1.1

        @ Matthew Whitehead ( 12.1) .. yep and let’s not also forget the serial fondler of female hair, namely ponytails. You know the one, he who was PM at the time of the continued assaults on a waitress despite her protestations to stop, but wasn’t held to account or crucified by msm for his disgraceful behaviour!


  13. Bryan 13

    For me Metiria’s reaction when presented with the habitation index did not shout out about truth and honesty but looked shifty and awkward.

    • I would give her a little bit of credit for being in an emotionally turbulent time. She is reliving a very hard time for her in a very public and unfair way, all in order for us to have a debate about an issue that is very close to her heart.

      But if you look twice with that in your mind once and still don’t see it, I can respect that you see things differently. I hope you found my perspective on this useful.

    • Awkward, Bryan? It would have been. Your interpretation of Metiria’s “look” says much about you, rather than her. It’s funny, isn’t it, to compare Metiria’s reaction to awkward news, with Key’s. Key was a master at receiving damning information without blinking; you’d almost think he’d been trained for it.

  14. For me Metiria’s reaction when presented with the habitation index did not shout out about truth and honesty but looked shifty and awkward.

    It’s almost as though she doesn’t enjoy having every detail of her private life sifted through by the media and having other people she’d hoped to keep out of it now dragged into it. Go figure.

  15. greywarshark 15

    Kelvin Davis in interview:
    Davis said Labour would assess whether Turei’s latest revelations could damage Labour.
    “We’re just going to have to have a good discussion about how this is going to affect us, because we don’t want to be seen to be condoning this sort of stuff.”

    Can Kelvin Davis specify what stuff he does condone? Like not helping people get education so they can get a job paying enough to support them and family?
    Kelvin is very keen on education for Maori, sees it as a necessary for advancing and managing their lives. But education without a job, is being a fish without water, you don’t last long and eventually begin to smell of rejection, which has a deadening effect on you. What we don’t want is preachy people in a left government who condemn individuals to hopelessness, failure and set them up for criticism for trying.

    It’s not easy understanding the barriers to being able to get on and up in today’s society. I recall the finding of Temple Grandin, who is autistic and who applies herself to understanding cattle. They would not walk along a path and nobody understood why. She looked at the route, put herself in their hooves, and noted that there was a flag overhanging that flapped in the wind. This movement and the shadow made them cautious and they were reluctant to move.

    Actually thinking about a situation and how it affects people can explain and solve problems too. Seeing that our present neolib (and previous Labour) government treats broad swathes of the population like cattle, it is a relevant comparison.

    • “Can Kelvin Davis specify what stuff he does condone? ”

      More quoted here:

      “The Greens – they’ve made their bed and they’re going to have to lie in it and we’re just going to have to have a good discussion about how this is going to affect us, because we don’t want to be seen to be condoning this sort of stuff.”

      “It’s pretty ugly and I just think if you’re going to open up about yourself like that, then you’ve got to tell the whole truth and nothing but the truth”.

      “It’s turned to mushy peas for her, hasn’t it?”


      • Robert Guyton 15.1.1

        “mushy peas” – your preferred habitat, Pet!

      • One Anonymous Bloke 15.1.2

        Can you articulate what Kelvin said as it relates to the composition of some theoretical government?

        Which “sort of stuff” is he condemning? Are you sure that’s what he meant?

        All a bit fuzzy*, no matter how many buttons it pushes.

        *mushy, whichever.

      • bearded git 15.1.3

        davis is a loose canon

  16. Sabine 16

    I see the Leadership change of Labour as a nod to the disenchanted Nat voter. Aka the swing voter.
    I see the actions of the Co Leader of the Greens as an acknowledgement to those that are downright locked out of our voting process simply by being homeless (no address no vote), the hungry and the disillusioned.

    I have always voted either or as for me both parties can work together if they want to. The want needs to come from Labour more then the Greens. Labour needs the Greens more then the Green needs Labour. I hope Ms Ardern never forgets that in the next years to come.

    this time, however i can honestly say that i don’t vote for a Party but for a women.

    this ex homeless female, this ex hungry female, this ex white trash female will vote for a women who gets it. My vote is solely dedicated to the female Co Leader of the Greens.

    Labour can go after the swing vote anytime, they should also remember that next time the same vote will swing back to Nat as it did in 2008. And the new Leader of the Labour Party might want to remember that it only does her so much good going after that Swing vote instead of bringing to the fold those that gave up on voting altogether.

    Two ticks Green. 🙂 thanks, Metiria Turei, you made voting this year easy and pleasurable. Give em hell.

  17. One Anonymous Bloke 17

    I’m resigned to a few things: false narratives, for example,

    When asked if Labour would honour Andrew Little’s promise to not introduce any new taxes in the first term, Ardern said “this is a new leadership team, we’ll bring a different stamp and there will be different ideas in there. But beyond that, people will have to wait and see”.

    Little promised no such thing. It’d be nice if Ardern had said so. Why let lies go unchallenged?

  18. AB 18

    Any journalist with any historical perspective on the early 1990’s would not be asking the question “How many extra bucks did Metiria get by fibbing about flatmates”.
    They’d be asking the question, “How many early deaths through suicide and illness is Ruth Richardson responsible for?” And following that, “Why is Ruth Richardson not in gaol?”
    That they are not doing this shows they are either lazy hacks, or National party pimps, or both.

    • Sacha 18.1

      Editors and producers get to decide which stories are done. That’s where the ethical and professional decline rests the most.

  19. Sacha 19

    TVNZ news had a timid item about winz and benefit fraud though at least they mentioned tax fraud a bit too: https://www.tvnz.co.nz/one-news/new-zealand/millions-lost-in-benefit-fraud-each-year

  20. Whispering Kate 20

    Why are we frankly at all surprised by the outcome of Metira Turei and the Green Party – this is an election year and the dark arts of the right wing know no bounds. They will stoop at anything. Collectively among our encumbent Government and right wing press there must be many who have transgressed worse that Metira has and we know they have, but they have found a thin edge of a wedge and with constant bullying they will not be happy until Turei steps down.

    As for Labour, so Adhern has stated that Turei will not be getting a Cabinet position if they get into power. She could have worded it better, could have said that she understands the position that Turei was in and sympathises with her but Parliament expects certain standards (sarc) so therefore she will not be offered a Cabinet position. Adhern has gone down in my expectations and thrown Metira under a bus. I have always been a Labour voter but the Greens will be getting my vote this year.

    • greywarshark 20.1

      Jacinda is all right. She is after all middle class and is strongly influenced by the need to conform to the right appearances in person and to middle class morality. She will do very well for the present and be found ‘to fit’ to many people’s expectations.

  21. Here’s the thing…
    “Meteria Turei took a political gamble in exposing herself to rightwing, media and bureaucratic scrutiny in advance of a critically important election. It was a naive move because the moment she admitted having lied to WINZ she put herself in the State’s power and risked losing control of the political narrative.

    It was obvious those omissions, and anything else that emerged subsequently, would be used against her and would place her party and its political allies in a very difficult position.

    The Labour Party’s new leadership quickly decided it had to distance itself from her so as not to jeopardise its honeymoon with the media. Turei resisted calls for her to resign as MP and co-leader and she was not thrown under the bus by her allies and colleagues but instead ‘voluntarily’ gave up her seat on it.

    The PLP could have stood beside her; it could have said that what is of far greater importance is that the system is weighted heavily against the poor and that the compassion gap both in the system and in society needs to be closed.

    But they listened to the commentariat and the pollsters with their carefully worded questions and the howling of the Amygdala Brigade and Jacinda Ardern pointedly stated that if Turei had not stepped off the bus voluntarily, she would have pushed her off it.

    So, Turei is punished and Labour’s new leader has proven she’s tough enough to make it in the macho melee that is national politics.

    Labour’s so-called ‘dream team’ has set out its stall with the jaunty catch phrase “let’s do this’ – the provenance of which is less than auspicious given Clinton used it to respond to Trump’s nomination, after which Trump’s campaign took it up and threw it back at her. It’s sad that the first act of the ‘let’s do this’ campaign was to step aside while a Mãori woman threw herself off the campaign bus.

    Turei is a decent and caring woman who, long before she even became an MP, took a decision to withhold information from WINZ so as not to have her benefit cut and who decided to confess to that in order to highlight an on-going and worsening reality for beneficiaries.

    But that’s lost to everyone except those who understand that sometimes you have to balance morality and principle against the letter of the law – especially when that law was written by ideologically motivated politicians and is being applied by ideologically directed bureaucrats. ”


    • greywarshark 21.1

      Metiria is more than adequate to be an MP, and the law that she didn’t comply with is inadequate put in place by politicians and legal grunts who have little concern about guiding NZ and all people to the best outcomes for the country and each individual who wants to take part on the journey.

    • Whispering Kate 21.2

      Everything you say Robert is logical but tonight I am not feeling very logical. I get filled with despair with how dark and mean our society has become. To imagine that we could get another 3 years of National is enough to drive a person to drink. Why are we such a passionless people that we don’t stage massive protests like the Europeans do, why do we just sit and take it. Are we so shellshocked with the shit that is going down every week that we have dulled our senses down so much that we are just too numb to feel anything anymore.

      Older people like me remember the 1960’s, 70’s etc when people of every age were marching and making themselves heard. Now we are just bloody useless. I can remember the family dining table at home and nobody could get a word in wanting to right the world. Family gatherings we had to separate family members who were of different politcal persuasions so that peace reigned, I actually chuckle about it now.

      Wanted to tell you other evening, we always have a swag of runner and dwarf beans in the freezer at the end of summer as well and we had so many chilli peppers that I have frozen them and they are being put in meals over the winter. I am sorry you cannot grow naval oranges down south – they are simply delicious – but then you don’t have traffic woes and need a passport to live in your own street down there!!

    • Rosemary McDonald 21.3

      …humankindness is overflowing….

      That’s no way to treat a friend….

    • The PLP could have stood beside her; it could have said that what is of far greater importance is that the system is weighted heavily against the poor and that the compassion gap both in the system and in society needs to be closed.

      It could have, yes. But the Labour Party’s job isn’t to support the Green Party regardless. Turei’s announcement wasn’t negotiated with Labour beforehand and it’s unreasonable to expect Labour to consider themselves beholden to it. They’re not.

      Labour has a lot of conservative supporters and is trying to appeal to centrist voters who’ve drifted to NZ First and National. It would be nuts for them to commit themselves unconditionally to backing Turei on this, and no fancy spin doctors or pollsters are needed for them to know that.

  22. Pat 22

    the best response to this crap is an election win….nothing will cut them all so deep as that.

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