Turei’s ‘secret from WINZ’

Metiria Turei announced Green social policy that includes large increases to benefits, plus what looks like a ‘no questions asked’ no investigation approach.

She has also tweeted something that has attracted interest:

I was a single mum, raising my beautiful girl Piupiu while doing my law degree & I was on the benefit. I still didn’t have enough to get by.

I was one of those women who you hear people complain about on talkback radio.

Because despite all the help I was getting, I could not afford to live, study and keep my baby well without keeping a secret from WINZ.

It was a stressful, terrifying experience.

There is something deeply, deeply wrong with our welfare system and how we treat the families who depend on it.

I know that if I don’t talk about what life is really like for beneficiaries, if the Green Party doesn’t, then who will?

From her speech today:

I was one of those women, who you hear people complain about on talkback radio.

Because despite all the help I was getting, I could not afford to live, study and keep my baby well without keeping a secret from WINZ.

Like many families who rely on a benefit, Piu and I moved around a lot when she was little.

We lived in five different flats with various people.

In three of those flats, I had extra flatmates, who paid rent, but I didn’t tell WINZ. I didn’t dare.

I knew that if I told the truth about how many people were living in the house my benefit would be cut.

And I knew that my baby and I could not get by on what was left.

This is what being on the benefit did to me – it made me poor and it made me lie.

It was a stressful, terrifying experience.

At any moment, WINZ could have caught me and cut off my benefit.

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.

More details:  Green Party co-leader Metiria Turei admits she lied to WINZ, as party announces radical welfare reforms

In her biggest speech of the year, Turei made the extraordinary confession while announcing her party’s plans to dramatically reform New Zealand’s welfare system.

Speaking at the Green Party AGM in Auckland, she said that as a solo mother on a benefit she did not tell Work and Income NZ that she had extra flatmates who were paying rent.

At a press conference afterwards, Turei said she could still face consequences for her illegal behaviour 24 years ago.

“It is possible that WINZ could do an investigation into my case and I could be charged.

“I personally feel I have a responsibility to tell it how it is, because other people don’t have the privileged position that I do.”

Asked whether beneficiaries in a similar position should lie to authorities, she neither encouraged nor dissuaded them, saying that it was up to them.

And if Green policy gets accepted not up to WINZ to investigate. Wow.

The policy: “Green Party will lift families out of poverty”

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84 Comments

  1. Fergus

     /  July 16, 2017

    So while studying a law degree she breaks the law? Words fail me other than she could be a Cabinet Minister.

    Reply
    • Kevin

       /  July 16, 2017

      Why didn’t she quit law school, get a job, and then come back to study when she was in a better financial position? I know beneficiaries get treated like crap by WINZ, even the ones who are doing all they can do find a job and follow the rules, but this is not the way to bring attention to it.

      Reply
      • Because she’s a prime example of being moral subjective and enriching herself at the taxpayers expense?

        Reply
    • Pete Kane

       /  July 16, 2017

      So I take it this would rule her out as Deputy PM in your view? Wonder if Ms Bennett would be a little more sympathetic?

      Reply
      • Kitty Catkin

         /  July 16, 2017

        Paula Bennett was not committing benefit fraud, which this is.

        Ms Turei can call it a secret or even a lie, but that doesn’t change the fact that it was fraud.

        I don’t agree that beneficaries are treated like crap. I speak as one whose income depends on WINZ ( I have medical problems) and while it’s not wealth, it’s adequate and they seem to treat people with decency and respect. The idea that it should be dished out, no questions asked, is abhorrent.

        Reply
  2. artcroft

     /  July 16, 2017

    Be interesting to read what her budget was spent on back then? Sky and trip overseas?

    Reply
    • Kitty Catkin

       /  July 16, 2017

      Avoiding running up a student loan ?

      Reply
      • Kitty Catkin

         /  July 16, 2017

        I don’t know how she got away with it for so long.

        She seemed to feel that it was totally justified because it meant that she could study full-time, raise her child and claim an accommodation allowance to which she was not entitled. The alleged beauty of her child is not a justification.

        Reply
  3. Corky

     /  July 16, 2017

    ”Because despite all the help I was getting, I could not afford to live, study and keep my baby well without keeping a secret from WINZ.;”

    Try China, lady.

    The secret? In a relationship?

    Reply
    • Corky

       /  July 16, 2017

      Oh, I need to explain myself. Having paying tenants, subletting HNZ homes, isn’t a secret. It’s a wide spread practice and a known fact.

      Reply
      • Gezza

         /  July 16, 2017

        I’m starting to wonder how common it was for MP’s.

        Reply
        • Corky

           /  July 16, 2017

          We’ve had a famous boxer caught out. Then there was the Green Shelia(?) caught rorting parliamentary expenses for accommodation during house sittings. Not quite the same thing but in the spirit of…

          Reply
          • Gezza

             /  July 16, 2017

            I really am wondering about Paula Corky. Why would Metz put herself in the line of fire over this? Have they got big guns trained on another position waiting for the smoke from there to direct their fire?

            Reply
            • Greens wouldn’t do that G… remember they have a principle of Engaging respectfully!!!

            • Gezza

               /  July 16, 2017

              Well they will be dave. If this is what’s happening, they’ll probably carefully concentrate fire on the target & try to minimise collateral damage. They probably won’t use swear words. Hard to say. Might be no connection.

            • Kitty Catkin

               /  July 16, 2017

              Burglary and insurance fraud are not ‘secret’, Corky, but they are still crimes.

            • Kitty Catkin

               /  July 16, 2017

              If it’s meant to enlist sympathy for people on the DPB, it could well be an own goal. Vote Green-see benefit fraud as acceptable and more or less a right.

            • Kitty Catkin

               /  July 16, 2017

              The PDT seems to think that these aren’t crimes.

            • Gezza

               /  July 16, 2017

              There’s wankers everywhere Kitty. Some of them like to let you know when they’ve visited.

            • Corky

               /  July 16, 2017

              ”Burglary and insurance fraud are not ‘secret’, Corky, but they are still crimes.”

              Yes, of course they are. That’s obvious. But thanks for letting me know.

  4. John Schmidt

     /  July 16, 2017

    So how exactly can the material girl sit there saying she could not afford anything and yet here she is having done all the things she could not afford, she survived.
    The benefit is not there for people to thrive its there for people to get by because of a set back in life so that they can change their lives to make things better for themselves. Her story is little different to Paula Bennett but their views on that same experince are different.
    It becomes a problem when people figure out a way to cope on a benefit so the incentive to make life changes starts to disapear, a bit like the people who build a house but move in before gib stopping is complete with the plan to finish off the house but they start coping without so the house takes for ever to finish with some never finishing at all.

    Reply
    • Kitty Catkin

       /  July 16, 2017

      Paula Bennett was not, as far as we know (and I would be astounded if she was) committing fraud. That is not ‘a little different’, it’s a lot different.

      Reply
  5. Alan Wilkinson

     /  July 16, 2017

    Surely the proper solution is to apply the investment principle to welfare recipients and support future MPs with the proviso they pay the money back with interest once they can afford to live in a castle and drive around in the latest BMW?

    The taxpayer is waiting, Metiria.

    Reply
  6. artcroft

     /  July 16, 2017

    At least the National can thank Metiria for galvanising their base and getting them out on the day come September.

    Reply
    • Gezza

       /  July 16, 2017

      I dunno. I wonder if some will start wondering about that cease & desist letter from Paula’s lawyers?

      Reply
      • Gezza

         /  July 16, 2017

        This a risky thing for Metiria to do. So was that widely-shared social media post about Paula’s alleged past by an individual prepared to identify themself. I’m wondering whether these two events are random, or if they might actually be connected.

        Reply
        • Pete Kane

           /  July 16, 2017

          That occurred to me also. Wonder what WINZ will do?

          Reply
          • Gezza

             /  July 16, 2017

            Yes. Tricky.

            Reply
            • Gezza

               /  July 16, 2017

              Wonder how far back Housing Corp’s records go, & whether the two departments used to data share?

            • Corky

               /  July 16, 2017

              The records go back to 98 ( in my experience as a support person). The switch over to computers deleted many records. I’m wondering if the powers that be elected to use an arbitrary cut off point to save massive amounts of effort to retrieve all records.

  7. Corky

     /  July 16, 2017

    Saw soon to be ex co leader of the Greens asked on the news whether smokes and booze would still be a no no for certain beneficiaries. She said they would be able to do what they wanted with ‘OUR’ money.

    Top marks to Steven Joyce for not becoming a drama queen over this revelation..

    * Our= their.

    Reply
    • Pete Kane

       /  July 16, 2017

      Haven’t seen that Cork – how much coverage?

      Reply
      • Gezza

         /  July 16, 2017

        I’ll have a look at 1ewes on the plus one channel. Dozed off watching Winstein on Q&A this arvo.

        Reply
        • Pete Kane

           /  July 16, 2017

          1 minute was the piece I saw.

          Reply
          • Gezza

             /  July 16, 2017

            Sounds like Winston has come out & said the policy is for the fate of the Maori seats to be determined by the whole electorate. So they’re off my ticket for the Party Vote, but they might be on others. Shame, but that’s showbiz, Winnie. Another party will have to get mine. I must admit I didn’t catch everything on 1ewes, my dinner was ready & I went & got it while he was on. Might watch the late news or just read Stuff later.

            Reply
            • A mixed message from Winston. He says he wants a referendum (presumably to let the people decide) but he wants to ditch the Maori seats.

            • Pete Kane

               /  July 16, 2017

              Hasn’t that always been the policy?

            • I think it’s been policy forever for Winston but I think this is the first time he says it is not negotiable in a coalition agreement.

            • Gezza

               /  July 16, 2017

              Not according to his Maori Affairs spokesperson PK, in an email to me last year. May have been some internal misunderstanding, or possibly different interpretations of the exact meaning of the policy, depending on the audience and the speaker. It was somewhat ambiguously expressed on their website.

            • Generally ambiguous is one of Winston’s biggest strengths. Or rhetoric with a lack of actual commitment.

            • Gezza

               /  July 16, 2017

              Strong but flexible principles. The market is segmented & there are picky customers in all of them.

            • Pete Kane

               /  July 16, 2017

              Well if he cites the 86 Royal Commission, I hope he includes that their recommendations wre predicated on a 4% threshold.

            • Gezza

               /  July 16, 2017

              Winston’s got a product in every aisle. Some of them might actually be a bit shoddy or below spec, but they look good & they’re cheap. As long as he gets a few buyers he’s doing ok. If the product doesn’t work, the buyers can always shop elsewhere or buy another Winston product next election.

            • He certainly seems to be targeting a lot of product groups.

            • Pete Kane

               /  July 16, 2017

              Hey just as an aside, imagine throwing Winston and Tuku together in post election negotiations.

            • Gezza

               /  July 16, 2017

              He certainly seems to be targeting a lot of product groups.

              The price stickers all seem smudged. Can you make out these prices?

            • Pete Kane

               /  July 16, 2017

              It’s going to be a hilarious final sitting of the House.

            • Gezza

               /  July 16, 2017

              When do they pack up the circus tent & just send the clowns out to do their own thing?

            • Pete Kane

               /  July 16, 2017

              I think it’s 4 weeks starting on 25th.

    • Kitty Catkin

       /  July 16, 2017

      It had a reasonable coverage on 3, with MT saying it as well (I think) as being quoted.

      SJ must know that with something like this, it’s better to let it speak for itself.

      Soak the rich and make WINZ payments all but the same as a working income-great. That’ll be an incentive to train and find work.

      Reply
  8. Pete Kane

     /  July 16, 2017

    May not have involved HNZ but rather some sort of accom. allowance. I mean this all could range from a ‘last minute’ show of ‘solidarity’ through to threats – and a truckload in between. Whatever, someone will complain to WINZ and probably the Law Society. If it was planned, she would have been smart to have already made restitution. Maybe she has?

    Reply
    • Gezza

       /  July 16, 2017

      Did you see the “pulled” social media post about Paula?

      Reply
      • Pete Kane

         /  July 16, 2017

        I did G. Whether the whole thing I’m not sure. I have never been on Facebook – it was another slightly crazy site I’d never seen before, or since.

        Reply
  9. Duperez

     /  July 16, 2017

    Turei should be thanked and congratulated. Her revelation, only slightly more signicant than a discovery of zillions of tonnes of gold in Northland, is a golden touch for the ruling party. In the dark Barclay/Hughes/English tunnel she is The Golden Torch.

    Reply
    • oldlaker

       /  July 16, 2017

      There are nearly 300,000 beneficiaries (excluding superannuitants). They have all been offered a substantial pay rise by the Greens. That’s up there with Helen Clark’s student interest bribe. And probably as effective. It will cause a lot of gnashing of teeth among Nat/Act voters but they have created a constituency of the poor that is large enough to do some serious damage electorally.

      Reply
      • The problem though is the Greens can’t necessarily get their policy through. It will need the support of both Labour and NZ First on current polling.

        Reply
    • Corky

       /  July 16, 2017

      Snigger..so true. And should something come of Paula’s case which Gezza is drooling at the mouth for…well, Metiria will provided a soft landing and provide a a distressed Wahine Toa excuse for Paula’s soft landing.

      Honestly, the luck of National is astounding. Its like..like they are protected by some unholy force.

      Now, what if Peters was to have a hiccup?

      Reply
      • oldlaker

         /  July 16, 2017

        I think you’re misreading this, Corky. Paula B has made a career out of hounding beneficiaries; Metiria is on record defending them. Voters dislike hypocrisy more than anything else. And is Bill English going to lead the charge against Metiria fiddling accommodation details after his 2009 accommodation rort? I doubt it. I think this is a very well-placed grenade among National’s ranks. Flamboyant and ballsy and crafty as all hell.

        Reply
        • Corky

           /  July 16, 2017

          Can you provide an examples?

          Oh, yes, you are correct, I have missread your comments. I was watching Sunday regarding the Wall Trump needs to build. Fascinating story, didn’t realise things were so bad.

          ‘I think this is a very well-placed grenade among National’s ranks. Flamboyant and ballsy and crafty as all hell.”

          Interesting. Thing is talkback is going to chew on this. That will give you a general feel for how well she’s doing.

          Reply
          • oldlaker

             /  July 16, 2017

            I don’t doubt for a minute talkback callers are outraged. But the Greens know they are not their constituency. But they may have found a new one (or expanded one) in beneficiaries, who don’t generally ring talkback stations.

            Reply
      • Gezza

         /  July 16, 2017

        I’m not drooling about this Corky. I’m just very curious about these two separate developments that have a common link. If something concrete is now made out of that social media post there’s a sharp tactician involved somewhere. If it’s nothing, there’s nothing. Metz has taken a massive public risk for no conceivable useful purpose. Even potential Green voters will include some who are a bit leery about benefit fraud. I just have a tingly feeling this might be going somewhere.

        As regards whether it will affect how I vote, no. Winston’s announcements have affected how I’ll party vote. I’m not intending to Party Vote Greens, National, Labour or NZF now.

        Reply
  10. oldlaker

     /  July 16, 2017

    It will be interesting to see whether National MPs condemn MT’s confession of fraud. Steven Joyce has already been non-committal; what will other beneficiary-bashing MPs like Paula Bennett have to say? And what will be said in the House under privilege? It may be that MT is looking to deliberately draw fire… and if she doesn’t, that will be telling for those govt MPs who have based their career on hounding beneficiaries.

    Reply
    • Corky

       /  July 16, 2017

      What will other beneficiary-bashing MPs like Paula Bennett have to say?

      Well, its election year.

      Why is Paula so popular at the moment? And what is this beanie bashing you are talking of.

      Reply
      • oldlaker

         /  July 16, 2017

        We cannot speak of Paula’s new-found popularity in detail. But you must have have been taking too much notice of Trump’s wall if you can’t see Paula’s record on beneficiaries as beneficiary bashing. In fact, she was even a vocal supporter of having cancer patients go to Winz each month to show they were not fit for work. But you may well think that’s a good idea, for all I know. (Of course she backed off at the public outcry… which she didn’t see coming, poor lass!)

        Reply
        • Corky

           /  July 16, 2017

          Very poor examples. How long hasn’t she been Minister of Social Development? And just because she received welfare support, that doesn’t mean she has to kowtow and be enterally grateful as the Left seem to demand. She had a job to do.

          The fact remains. We have one of the most generous welfare systems in the world. Too generous. National have only put more responsibility on beanies to meet certain reasonable criteria…like naming the father of your child. Or lose taxpayer support.

          http://www.radionz.co.nz/news/national/286914/jobseeker-benefit-for-cancer-patients-%27ludicrous%27

          Reply
  11. oldlaker

     /  July 16, 2017

    The article is from 2015; the original reforms were in 2013 and had to be reworked for cancer patients because of the outcry. I should say I’m not a Green supporter. I think their backtracking on restricting immigration is nuts; I think wanting to bring 100,000 refugees in over a few years is insane at a time when people have had enough of immigrants pouring in; I barely see them as a Green Party given they are wedded suddenly to open borders, which is the antithesis of sustainable growth. Nevertheless, Metiria Turei’s confession and promise to raise benefits may work for them in capturing more votes (and puts National on the spot for reasons of which we dare not speak for fear of getting a cease-and-desist letter).

    Reply
    • Just the excuse James needs to get rid of her

      Reply
      • PDB

         /  July 16, 2017

        OldLaker above has lost all reason – a vote for the Greens is now a vote for welfare fraudsters and a lot more of them if we were to do away with any sort of testing or checking.

        What Turei is basically saying is we should give beneficiaries a lot more money with no strings attached and no means to detect benefit fraud like she herself committed. Hard to think of a more economically damaging policy in our history than this.

        Reply
  12. Alan Wilkinson

     /  July 17, 2017

    So the hard Left socialist esxaped the poverty trap by becoming an illegal capitalist landlord but continues to advocate socialism for everyone else. That is the real story here and what certainly distinguishes her from Bennett.

    Reply
    • Gezza

       /  July 17, 2017

      Maybe. Maybe not, Al. might be more to come about Paula.

      Reply
      • Alan Wilkinson

         /  July 17, 2017

        Might be more to come about a lot of people, MPs, candidates and everyone else if you care to dig back far and deep enough.

        Reply

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