This is not an image of a Low Flying Penguin.

Written By: - Date published: 1:40 pm, July 16th, 2017 - 62 comments
Categories: class, class war, Ethics, greens, Metiria Turei, poverty, welfare - Tags: ,

So Metiria Turei told porkies to WINZ when she was a solo parent. Big fucking whoops. I’m guessing a whole pile of people without a fucking clue will attempt to jump all over her for that.

And they’ll make as though they’ve never fiddled their work related expenses; never ‘liberated’ a piece of equipment or product from their workplace; never accepted cash without declaring it to IRD; never taken advantage of a mis-priced item, never used a work account improperly to get discount on personal purchases, or walked out of somewhere without telling a cashier they’d made a mistake in their change.

Step forward – all you people who ‘butter wouldn’t melt in your mouth’, and who have never experienced the endless daily grind of poverty.

Let’s be hearing you.


62 comments on “This is not an image of a Low Flying Penguin.”

  1. Macro 2

    I think you miss the point that Metira was making bill. The point was not about her – but about the fact that the current system of inquisition for any benefit forces almost all applicants into the “sin” of omission – ie withholding information that would deny them the help that they are otherwise entitled to.
    Furthermore why she had to “lie” was because no matter how she tried to manage her finances the money she received was insufficient to provide for herself and her child. That is the reason why the Greens propose a 20% increase in the standard rate.

    • alwyn 2.1

      Of course we should raise the benefits if they are too low.
      However did she say when she repaid the money? Taking it when you are desperate is one thing. Not repaying a technically illegal payment when you are in vastly better financial circumstances is surely another.
      Did she say in the speech when she repaid the money during her last 15 years on about 4 times the average wage? That would seem to have been a good thing to add to the story and removed any grounds for calling her a fraudster I would have thought.
      I didn’t hear the speech so if she did tell us when she returned the money good on her. If not perhaps she should come out and tell us when that happened.

  2. rhinocrates 3

    I’d love to hear what Billshit, Barclay and Bennett have to say about this, being such exemplars of honesty when it comes to benefits.

  3. Bill 4

    Andrea Vance (TVNZ). Butter wouldn’t melt in her mouth.

    Isaac Davidson (Herald). Butter wouldn’t melt in his mouth.

    No doubt more will come crawling and slithering through the hypocritical slime that marks their way.

    • weka 4.1

      tbh not sure what you are on about. Isaac Davison is simply reporting on the speech and policy announcement. There’s nothing judgemental there. I’m sure there will be judgements and there will be smeary politics too, but that’s not in that link.

      • Bill 4.1.1

        Headlines set peoples’ perspectives.

        Both of the linked headlines are about Metiria Turei having lied to WINZ.

        • fender

          If Metiria had said “I wasn’t entirely truthful” and the headlines became “Metiria lied” you may have a point.

          • Bill

            A statement of fact that demonstrates the reality facing people who claim inadequate entitlements ought not to be controversial at a personal level – ie, in terms of questioning the integrity of the person who has stated the fact.

            Attempts to question Metiria’s integrity are just shit arsed attempts to deflect from the real issue that entitlement levels are punitively low – so low that people rightfully claiming them are pushed into a position where they knowingly break the law in order that they can merely continue to get by.

        • Carolyn_nth

          Meanwhile, on RNZ, Mei Heron reports:

          headline: “Greens’ Turei reveals struggles at family policy launch”

          From the article – it begins:

          Green Party co-leader Metiria Turei has revealed she lied to receive more benefits while struggling to raise her daughter on her own.

          Later in the article:

          It would aim to increase all core benefits by 20 percent. This would include Jobseeker Support, Sole Parent Support, Supported Living and the Student Allowance.

          “I was one of those women who you hear people complaining about in talkback radio,” she said.

          She never told Work and Income how many flatmates were living with her, she said.

          “They could have charged me with fraud and made me a criminal as well. I got through it, of course, as you can see. Not everyone does.”

          The co-leader said her own personal story, as well as the tales of others, were the inspiration to create the package, which would be “the most significant changes to our welfare system in a generation”.

          • Bill

            And that’s the side I’d like to see the narrative fall to.

            I’ve a sneaky suspicion the time’s about right for that to be a possibility – thanks to the impact of overseas stuff like Sanders and Corbyn et al.

        • It is timely to remind people that authors very rarely get to choose their own headlines, even online.

          You should be judging authors on content and editors on headlines.

          • weka

            Except people who are writing about low flying penguins 😆

            (yes, I take your point about journos, just couldn’t resist because Bill does some good headlines sometimes).

            • Matthew Whitehead

              Right, blogs are obviously different, and those of us who write for them usually are responsible for headlines, which, frankly, is why they’re normally better.

          • Bill

            Yes, you’re right Matthew and I’m well aware of that fact. Given I was judging the headlines and the “tone” they’d be setting in readers, it would probably have been more appropriate for me to ask –

            “are we to assume that butter wouldn’t melt in the mouth of…”

            And then where the content belied the headline, people could have answered that question for themselves accordingly.

            • Matthew Whitehead

              Yeah, I figured you were aware of it but that you just hadn’t bothered to make the distinction, however the discussion was absolutely taking a turn for blaming article authors in mainstream press for headlines they didn’t choose.

  4. Ovid 5

    I think the question is whether Turei’s candour helps or hinders the Greens. I honestly don’t know. A lot of NZers would be sympathetic and understanding, but on the other hand there is a vindictive streak that doesn’t like people breaking rules.

    • Andre 5.1

      I suspect there’s a near perfect correlation between whether the confession improves or worsens attitudes towards the Greens and a person’s pre-existing attitude to the Greens.

    • That vindictive streak is usually in people who break the rules all the time. It’s ok for them you see as they’re special. Other people, especially the poor, are actually to be held to the rules.

    • weka 5.3

      Honestly, I don’t think it matters. Turei said it might hurt them. But it’s still the right thing to do. If NZ can’t handle politicians being truthful, then we have far worse problems than whether this hurts the Greens in this election.

      • Loop 5.3.1

        I have a lot of respect for Metiria for admitting to her potential law breaking. I can’t say I hold surjon, judith, bill, paula, toddy etc. in the same regard. I also don’t think it vindictive to see an independent investigation take place to see if their was any law broken (by all the above-mention) and if so face the same justice I’d be expected to face in her/ their situation if I admitted to wrongdoing. I haven’t been on a benefit for over 2 decades but still remember the disparaging treatment from these so-called “social” agencies as I do from the unbalanced IRD when it came to liable parent contributions when my marriage broke (my fault, not my choice) .
        As far as whether it helps the person/ party opinion will be divided for any amount of reasons. My 2 cents worth, if I was an undecided, voter I’d be voting greens for the retrospective integrity. Certainly not dishonest to the death natz

    • Well, it certainly helps in terms of giving her story credibility. You don’t confess to benefit fraud unless you really want to make it clear you honestly couldn’t afford to live.

      It’s much harder for opponents of reasonable social welfare to argue that they’re paying enough when even someone who everyone can agree did everything else right like Turei had to lie by omission in order to have enough to live on and take care of her daughter.

      As for whether it helps or hurts, it’s certainly re-energised a lot of wavering Green supporters, even though it’s made them a bunch of enemies, a lot of them will be people who would never have even considered voting Green anyway.

      The real question is just how much it hurts the more moderate environmental centrists who are reluctant about the Greens’ emphasis on social policy and left-wing economics. I expect the answer is: not as much as it helps with left-wing voters.

      edit: And, to be honest, the RW trolls are having real difficulty arguing against the point that “if benefits are so low you have to commit fraud to survive, why should we view benefit fraud as wrong?” Their mean tactic seems to be repeating “but it’s still fraud!”

      • weka 5.4.1

        Do you think the Greens will be pushing on the non-vote?

        • Macro

          I can see that it will increase the incentive for those who have given up or see no policy for them to actually get up the courage to vote. Those who don’t because of enrollment issues (eg giving away an address) will still stay at home and hope.

          • weka

            I hope that is true, and that what the GP are doing reaches those people.

            • Macro

              Me too.
              My greatest hope is that we will see a Lab/Green govt in the near future where this policy to eradicate poverty for 100,000s of thousands of NZers will be enacted .

          • Matthew Whitehead

            Enrollment issues are a different story though, as the numbers we have on non-voters are for enrolled non-voters.

        • I honestly don’t know. I expect at least some of non-voters are on benefits, but I just don’t understand enough about them to venture a guess.

        • Xanthe

          Yes i think this could well reach some “non voters” and if so its a huge win for the greens. Could turn out to be a very good move.

  5. Ovid 6

    And in the spirit of that candour I must confess that I wasn’t buying a new computer every year with my course-related costs student loan claim.

  6. I think saying this was a mistake. Calling nzwinnie racist also a mistake.

    The Greens need to realise less is more and you don’t pick fights when you aren’t a fighter.

    • But they are fighters, Marty. It just never got media coverage before.

      Both moves seem to have played well with sympathetic voters. We’ll want to see how it impacts polling over the next couple of months, but there’s no suggestion so far that either have been the risky disasters that press are trying to play them off as.

      • marty mars 7.1.1

        well that was my opinion not based on press reports. Great that sympathetic voters think it played well – hardly a surprise and really a waste of time unless a gee up in confidence is needed for them.

        Picking a premeditated fight with winnie? Is that where you see votes coming from? Why do it – the greens aren’t nzf and this is known. Flexing muscle for another party to notice perhaps?

        I hope there is a strategy because doing it the way it’s been done for years – is not going to work imo.

        • weka

          This is new though. This is values-based politics, and it’s what the left has been pushing for for a long time. It’s not BAU. Anti-racism, anti-poverty, pro-environment, social justice. What Turei did today was stand up and tell a whole strata of NZ that she’s on their side and she is one of them. That is massive. I don’t even care if that doesn’t translate into votes (like Matthew I think it won’t cost them and will probably be a net gain). The important thing here is that they’re shifting the narrative. It’s ok for NZers to care.

    • Macro 7.2

      As usual the “Metiria is a fraudster” argument from the right is nothing more than personal attack, because quite frankly they can’t mount a reasoned argument against the new policy from humanitarian grounds, so the tactic is to attack the messenger.

      • mpledger 7.2.1

        With Barclay not doing his job as an MP, can we expect him to repay his salary? It sounds pretty fraudulent to me and on a much bigger scale then MT.

      • Norfolk Traveller 7.2.2

        Macro…it isn’t just the right. I have been looking on this site for an appropriate place to debate the actual policy and I can’t find one. All the narrative is about Metiria’s admission she lied to WINZ.

        • weka

          There’s been at least 3 posts in the past 24 hours that you can comment on about policy,

          Lefties on fire

          The Greens’ new welfare policy

          The Greens rock their AGM

          • Norfolk Traveller

            Lefties on fire

            Thanks – hadn’t seen this one.

            The Greens’ new welfare policy

            Was written before the policy was announced.

            The Greens rock their AGM

            Was a post about Climate Change and Campaign Strategy.

            So just one. Your emphasis on debating Miteria’s behaviour over actually discussing the policy is weird.

            • weka

              None of those posts had an emphasis on MT’s actions. Two didn’t refer to it and the third barely mentions it. .

              Was written before the policy was announced.”

              About an hour before, which covered the policy intention, and then updated during and after the announcement, which gave detail of the policy and links to analysis. Most of the comments were made after.

              “Your emphasis on debating Miteria’s behaviour over actually discussing the policy is weird.”

              And yet here you are discussing it. Not sure what you want tbh. There’s two clear posts to discuss the policy, and I wouldn’t object if you also commented about it in the AGM post. Have at it.

              • Norfolk Traveller

                Two of the posts you cited were written either before the announcement (it doesn’t matter how long before) or were on entirely different subjects. Both acted as a soak hole for comments about MT’s admission of fraud.
                You’ve only posted one piece on the actual policy, and the majority of comments on that thread are about MT.
                What I found particularly silly was this post /metiria-turei-and-paula-bennett-on-benefit-fraud/ which was nothing more than a deflection.
                All I’m saying is that the policy itself is worth debating, but you’re forum seems to have been more interested in offering a defence of MT.

                • weka

                  The policy post got put up ahead of time specifically so that people would have a place to discuss the policy when it was announced. If you don’t want to use that that’s up to you.

                  What I’m getting is that you would rather have a moan about what other people are commenting on than talk policy. Again, up to you.

    • Xanthe 7.3

      Caling people “racist” is always a mistake i really wish they would stop that.

  7. James 8

    I’m sure if Paula Bennett made the same admission should would be treated the same by standard commenters.

    • Incognito 8.1

      I’d love to find out.

    • fender 8.2

      I’m sure if Paula Bennett displayed the same level of truthfulness most TS commenters would instantly drop dead from shock!

    • weka 8.3

      No. The reason that people might be pissed off at Bennett is not because of possible benefit fraud, but because she pulled the ladder up behind her and then shat on beneficiaries from above. She’s a massive hypocrite and has caused untold misery on people. Watch Turei’s speech. People have died. No comparison at all between National’s hatred of the poor and Turei’s compassion.

    • If Paula Bennet made the same admission and called for the same changes, I’d say leave her be.

      In fact, the worst I’d accuse her of is hypocrisy in her current policies, which she already gets plenty of. I wouldn’t want her jailed for trying to live.

    • adam 8.5

      That’s not trolling??!?

  8. Craig H 9

    Minor point on receiving cash without declaring it to IRD – you don’t have to if the total received in a tax year is $200 or less (another figure which hasn’t been updated in a very long time).

  9. adam 10

    I see they ragged out the tax payers union to talk crap about this.

    I see the scum is rising to the top again in NZ politics.

  10. reason 11

    Tax payers union …. dirty politics in situ

  11. gsays 12

    Add to the list, self employed types that use the business assets for private use, car truck for example and have the business pay for the furl.
    Insidious and common.

  12. UncookedSelachimorpha 13

    Metiria makes an excellent point. While the RWNJs will claim one law for all, despite the legal and financial system completely favouring those with wealth.

    I don’t see a beneficiary gaining a few extra “dishonest” dollars causes any harm (and in fact socially and economically it is likely to be a good thing) compared to people with billions standing by while others go without, and billionaires contributing far less proportionally in tax than others who are far poorer.

    In its majestic equality, the law forbids rich and poor alike to sleep under bridges, beg in the streets and steal loaves of bread.

    Anatole France

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