Turei’s confession risk, but will it be effective?

Yesterday Metiria Turei confessed that as a beneficiary she lied to WINZ about having flatmates to get more benefit – she says it was necessary to support her and her daughter as she studied law at university.

There has been a big and a very mixed reaction.

I think that it’s fairly well known that fibbing to WINZ isn’t uncommon, over flatmates or over whether you are living alone or with a partner.

I doubt that Turei is at much risk of being investigated and prosecuted for something from twenty years ago.

She will no doubt be supported on this by her supporters.

It’s much harder to judge whether she will increase votes for the Greens. She could and probably will both pick up and lose votes.

The media reaction so far has been largely sympathetic and therefore positive.

Isaac Davidson: Green Party co-leader Metiria Turei’s benefit fraud confession risky but effective

Turei’s personal story at least refocused attention onto what is an ambitious policy to address poverty in New Zealand. All benefits would be lifted by 20 per cent, beneficiaries would be able to earn more without being penalised, and the bottom tax rate would be cut.

So in the end, Greens spent their election-year conference talking not about Labour and NZ First, but about their core, defining issues – poverty and climate change. And that’s something that looked unlikely a few days ago.

Stacey Kirk: Metiria Turei makes a risky admission, politically and legally

She’s revealed that while she was a solo mother on the DPB, studying law and looking after a baby, she was also lying to her WINZ case worker about how many people she was flatting with, and so, what her accommodation costs actually were.

Turei says she has no idea how much she could be liable for, and whether or not the Ministry of Social Development could still launch an investigation, more than 20 years later.

Turei said she believes benefit dependency doesn’t exist, and very few set out to defraud the system – their circumstances, constructed by the state, give them little option.

The Greens co-leader’s story is one of determination and hard work, however. It would be a mean-spirited person who accused her of intentionally setting out to rip off taxpayers.

I think this is quite a contentious and complex issue. It is very tricky territory effectively approving of what she did as not ripping off the taxpayer.

As far as the party is concerned, this speaks to their core base. Where the Greens have tried for years to downplay their most left of leanings, play up their economic credentials, some core Greenies may have been getting concerned at just what the modern Green caucus was prepared to give up to get into Government.

The danger, however, will be whether this does work to scare some Labour voters – cautious of an alliance that could alienate most of middle New Zealand.

In Turei’s startling admission and vow, to significantly bolster the role of the welfare state, she’s counting on New Zealanders to not only voice concern over inequality, but to collectively do something about it that may go against the nature of their very core.

She’s effectively drawing an ideological line in the sand and asking New Zealanders: “Which side are you on?”

I don’t think it’s that simple. It’s very tricky suggesting that if you are hard up then breaking the law is justified.

Is burglary justified for poor people? A key difference is that one is just defrauding ‘the state’, while the other adversely impacts on individual people.

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102 Comments

  1. sorethumb

     /  July 17, 2017

    Took her a long time on her fat salary before she owned up? Another take is – who hasn’t had flatmates when they bought their first home, and that can be taken as rational behaviour relevant to all government policy – just about everyone cheats – to a degree.
    ……..
    Here is the News: Turie admits she’s not special.

    Reply
    • Pete Kane

       /  July 17, 2017

      She was renting.

      Reply
    • many folk on student allowances, bennies etc overlook the income from flatmates, is it an income, or an expense reduction? Am I paying 400 on rent and earning 200pw or am I just paying 200 towards rent???

      Tens of thousands do this and it continues to get worse as rents go up, she was right to admit to this, will cause a bit of vitriol with the folk with heads in asses, but those that are on or close to the breadline can appreciate her honesty.

      Anyway, if we are after money, that tosser down south is doing Sweet FA for 3k a week, which is likely how much Metiria gamed the system every year back then……

      Reply
      • Pete Kane

         /  July 17, 2017

        Exactly Shane.

        Reply
      • Corky

         /  July 17, 2017

        And here’s me thinking you were an upper-class toff, SLB. You are truly a man of the people. My muvva always told me to never judge a book by its cover.

        Reply
        • a Dapper suit and top hat a toff does not make. I try and be in the middle, and as far as laws go this one is quite down the list, its not like I’m high fiving her….
          On another note, Paula is choosing her words carefully …. “I have never deliberately lied to WINZ” – emphasis in my mind on deliberately, lots of conspiracy stuff going on about her WINZ days lately.

          Reply
          • Corky

             /  July 17, 2017

            Wise heads are guiding her. She is protected by ” the lodge.” Do you know anything about Earth Mother being outed on social media a couple of weeks ago, thereby forcing her hand?

            Reply
            • Gezza

               /  July 17, 2017

              What if it’s actually the other way round, & the cease & desist letter is not going to result in the matter actually being ceased & desisted with? Just with it being handled in maybe a sightly different way now, as the election looms closer?

          • Oh look, Russell Brown having a Je Suis Charlie Hebdo moment.

            Confesses his own welfare ripping off

            They’re dropping like flies.

            When Russell got fingered for his fraud he fullsomely agreed to reimburse the hapless taxpayer over a couple of decades at $5.00 a week.

            #givingsocialistsabadname

            https://publicaddress.net/hardnews/on-benefit-fraud/

            Reply
            • Anonymous Coward

               /  July 17, 2017

              Everyone who’s spent more than 6 months on the dole has done something fraudulent.

            • Gezza

               /  July 17, 2017

              I don’t think he gave socialists a bad name trav. I think he set out quite clearly how a system designed by professional, public policy-degree-holding government policymakers gets put together, ticked off as meeting relevant internal policymaking criteria, signed off by Cabinet, rolled out, & implemented with no regard for actual reality & people’s individual cicrumstsances & becomes an unweildy, overresponsive weekly battering & confusing monster in the way its pristinely prescribed objectives, requirements, criteria, evidence, procedures, processes,IT systems, adjustments & weekly reporting obligations impact on the lives of the people trying to satisfy both its broad & its microscopic prescriptions.

      • Kevin

         /  July 17, 2017

        The difference is she’s a leader of a political party.

        Reply
    • She has shown her true character. She’s someone who makes personal choices and one was to be a thief. Worse than a common old garden robber, she, along with other bludgers gamed the system, stole from the taxpayer thereby ensuring others went without.

      Wonder if she used the people’s money to fund her larping?

      Reply
      • Corky

         /  July 17, 2017

        Is that the earth mother on the far left ( no pun).

        Reply
        • The one and only solo mother, the non-father declaring, the fraudster, the larper….

          Reply
          • Gezza

             /  July 17, 2017

            Aw bugger this. Now I gotta go & look up “larper”. It’s a not a ‘Naki word, tell ya that for starters!

            Reply
            • Gezza

               /  July 17, 2017

              Aha! :
              A live action role-playing game (LARP) is a form of role-playing game where the participants physically act out their characters’ actions. The players pursue goals within a fictional setting represented by the real world while interacting with each other in character. Wiki.

          • Kitty Catkin

             /  July 17, 2017

            Emphasis was as likely to be on ‘never’.

            If Paula Bennett had committed fraud on this scale, someone would have blabbed.

            Having flatmates/boarders to pay for a first house is all right-many people do it. Why on earth would someone have two empty bedrooms and pay 100% of the mortgage themselves if they can lessen the burden ? There’s nothing illegal about that-unless WINZ is paying them as well.

            Reply
            • Kitty Catkin

               /  July 17, 2017

              The ‘deliberately’ was probably just tautology for empahasis-a lie is by definition deliberate.

            • Kitty Catkin

               /  July 17, 2017

              emphasis. The dog is sitting on my arm.

  2. Alan Wilkinson

     /  July 17, 2017

    As I said, she escaped poverty by becoming an illegal capitalist landlord but now demands everyone else rely on socialism.

    Reply
    • Corky

       /  July 17, 2017

      Scathing, but very true. Socialists are always a bundle of hypocrisy and contradiction because they aren’t creators. They are takers who must spin tales of rich pricks and an unfair world that treats them badly.

      Reply
      • Brown

         /  July 17, 2017

        Bugger. Down ticked by accident.

        Reply
        • Gezza

           /  July 17, 2017

          No worries. It happens.

          Reply
        • Corky

           /  July 17, 2017

          Want to talk about it, Browny? That down tick may have been a Freudian slip of deep underlying issues.

          Reply
        • Easy to fix, on this site anyway. Just hit the uptick a few times until the numbers change. 🙂

          Reply
          • Gezza

             /  July 17, 2017

            Damn! Damn, Damn, damn!
            Damn!
            Why did you have to bloody tell him? !

            Reply
            • Corky

               /  July 17, 2017

              I would have been years working that out, Gezza. You will need a quiet word with Browny.

            • Gezza

               /  July 17, 2017

              Kitty gave the bloody game away as well – months back! You were probably too busy gallivanting around having a good time spending ya 2nd hand washing machine millions on fancy holidays in exotic places like Tauranga to notice!

    • Nicely put Al, nicely put……..

      Reply
  3. Brown

     /  July 17, 2017

    Studied law but still never got a real job. Useless then and useless now. I hate contributing to her fattish salary so she can tell me how to live my life in Green induced poverty.

    Reply
    • Gezza

       /  July 17, 2017

      Just don’t listen to her mate. Maybe vote for some other bludger in one of the other parties? 😳

      Reply
      • Brown

         /  July 17, 2017

        And that is the dilemma with politics. People I don’t need but who need me to pay for them so I can not need them. Alfred Saunders only got a booze allowance and free travel. Not much incentive for a non drinker to serve so maybe he did it to really serve as opposed to self serve. The good old days before socialism took hold.

        Reply
    • Pete Kane

       /  July 17, 2017

      She was a commercial lawyer at Simpson Grierson before Parliament.

      Reply
      • Brown

         /  July 17, 2017

        Thanks for that. I apologise for the never had a real job comment. If she was good she would have made a name for herself there I would have thought.

        Reply
        • Gezza

           /  July 17, 2017

          Wouldn’t mind betting she did!

          Reply
          • Kitty Catkin

             /  July 18, 2017

            Someone told me how to reverse an accidental downtick a long time ago-Alan or Gezza ?

            Reply
  4. lurcher1948

     /  July 17, 2017

    It’s ALLRIGHT when the left and right members of parliament do it,

    Reply
  5. NOEL

     /  July 17, 2017

    I wonder if she was preempting a Paula Bennett type attack on Facebook?

    Reply
    • PDB

       /  July 17, 2017

      I don’t think so – talking many years and something very hard to prove. I think with her latest policy announcement she was trying to say that beneficiaries have to commit crime in order to survive which is clearly not true. She has created a falsehood in order to support her belief that we should give all beneficiaries more money with no strings attached, no proof of trying to find work or being incapable of work, nor be punished for not naming the father of children being totally supported by the taxpayer in all instances.

      Reply
      • Kitty Catkin

         /  July 17, 2017

        Ohhhhhh….that didn’t occur to me. If she did that, it was taking a real risk.

        Reply
  6. PDB

     /  July 17, 2017

    The comments on the stuff article above (which tend to be full of left-wing supporters) pretty much tells the story of what the general public think of a proud benefit fraudster who stole tax payer money to further her own career and has now announced a policy of ‘more money to beneficiaries, no questions asked’ to make it legal to do so from here on in.

    Reply
    • PDB

       /  July 17, 2017

      Lovin’ the downticks! Upset left-wingers out in force this morning with nothing to say that defends a proud benefit fraudster, come corporate lawyer, come professional list-MP never to be in govt.

      Reply
      • Kitty Catkin

         /  July 17, 2017

        Cum, not come-it’s Latin, meaning with or as well as (among other things)

        Reply
    • Suggest your downtickers are on the lam themselves

      Reply
  7. Patzcuaro

     /  July 17, 2017

    Both Turei and Bennett used the benefit for what it was designed for. It gave them a chance to bring their child up and get a qualification. They have then been able to move on and get jobs and become productive, tax paying members of society.

    The question then is whether the level of benefit is adequate?

    Reply
    • PDB

       /  July 17, 2017

      Desperate nonsense – therefore you are in favour of all businesses committing fraud because businesses are designed to make money and provide income for owners and support workers.

      You also wrongly equate Turei to Bennett when one is a proud benefit fraudster and one says she didn’t commit fraud whilst on the benefit. This would suggest the benefit is adequate as both were in very similar circumstances.

      Reply
      • Patzcuaro

         /  July 17, 2017

        I’m not in favour of anyone committing fraud.

        But there are a lot of grey areas out their for beneficiaries with cash jobs etc, small businesses with cash jobs & private/business expenses and multi nationals who migrate their profits to lower tax jurisdictions.

        Have you ever done a “cash job” or paid a “cash Job”?

        Reply
        • Simple really. Cash jobs are not a grey area. They need to be declared.

          Reply
          • Gezza

             /  July 17, 2017

            Simple really. They’re frequently not.

            Reply
            • One of a kind

               /  July 17, 2017

              There is a difference in scale too.

              Earning $50 for a one off mowing your neighbour’s lawn is a lot different to taking undeclared income for 5 years and receiving significant benefits she wasn’t entitled to for the same time.

              Not to mention a refusal to name the father….

            • Kitty Catkin

               /  July 17, 2017

              A man I knew who worked for IRD and was a fundie with very strict morals, said that IRD were not worried about small one-offs as it cost more to process and get the tax than the tax was worth.

              I agree with you, One. There’s a huge difference between being given a present for a one-off thing and systematically committing fraud-signing documents that you know are dishonest and making false declarations. I noticed that she said when asked if she regretted this that she regretted having to do it.

              This may well come back and bite her on the bum.

            • Gezza

               /  July 17, 2017

              This may well come back and bite her on the bum.

              Could be the sort of thing that saw her ending up with a kid in the first place?

  8. PDB

     /  July 17, 2017

    Kiwiblog comment: Nookin

    “Not long ago there was a debate about whether a beneficiary should disclose the name of the father. The debate centred on rape victims but Logie and Turei extended it across the board. Turei admitted refusing to disclose the name of the father of her child because she did not want WINZ hassling them. (Hassling = asking the father to pay child support instead of throwing the entire load on the taxpayer).

    It seems that she may have had little compunction about putting the taxpayer to the sword .
    I wonder if the father was one of the rent-paying flatmates? Double whammy, Ms Turei?”

    Good point – didn’t say she had paying flat-mates, didn’t say who the father was and no doubt getting money under the table from him as many do which is also benefit fraud.

    Reply
    • So, she’s first a self-interested liar.

      Reply
      • Kitty Catkin

         /  July 17, 2017

        We don’t know that she was taking money from the father ( although it wouldn’t surprise me if they had done this) so this is speculation.

        Reply
        • Kitty Catkin

           /  July 17, 2017

          Hassling is a very odd word to use in this context.

          It sounds as if WINZ (i.e, taxpayers) had no right to annoy some poor bloke who’s a father when the government should be paying to keep his child and partner.

          Reply
  9. Corky

     /  July 17, 2017

    Just had a thought. If Paula comes out and admits something similar to Metiria, how will the media and Leftie politicians treat her. Will Labour be as circumspect as Joyce?

    HELL, NO!!!!!

    Reply
  10. MaureenW

     /  July 17, 2017

    Turei is not a smart operative. Who cares what this trougher did 20 years ago? Who cares what she does today? She isn’t a political game-changer – just another fat bottom with a silly hat wasting space and tax-payer money.
    Do the country a favour – resign and go away.

    Reply
  11. John Schmidt

     /  July 17, 2017

    Plenty of BS coming out of Material Girls mouth. The answer to the situation is more like she wanted nicer stuff rather than just the essentials that the benefit and allowances cover.

    Reply
  12. Corky

     /  July 17, 2017

    Christine Rankin raises two interesting points:`

    1- Did James Shaw know Metiria was about to make a confession?

    2- Is her signed lawyers oath now invalid?

    If James didn’t know about this he will have no choice but to call an extraordinary meeting and have her sacked as co leader, preferably before the election. That wont happen until after the election. In the meantime the Greens are accruing more damage then they expected.

    Reply
    • Gezza

       /  July 17, 2017

      1- Did James Shaw know Metiria was about to make a confession?

      🤔 He’s quite sharp, isn’t he? My questions are – 1. Did he know Ashley Farrell was going to make that social media post about Paula’s alleged background history? And 2. – Is her lawyers’ ‘cease & desist’ letter going to be the end of the matter? 😬 😕

      Reply
      • Corky

         /  July 17, 2017

        ”Did he know Ashley Farrell was going to make that social media post about Paula’s alleged background history? ”

        What’s Ashley Farrel got to do with James? Who is Ashely Farell.?

        ”Is her lawyers’ ‘cease & desist’ letter going to be the end of the matter? 😬 😕”

        Well, step up anyone who wants to have a go. It wouldn’t be in their interest.

        But why the Strawman? The public perception( apart from the rabid Left) is Bennett is a hard, but fair women. Metiria is seen as a dishonest fruit loop who lives in a castle.

        I think Paula will sue should someone want to continue their campaign. No doubt, right now conniving liberals are working on this 24/7.

        But it is of little interest to me. I’m having too much fun with Metiria. .C’est la vie.

        Reply
        • Gezza

           /  July 17, 2017

          Look, I concede they might be totally unconnected events – but I see this as a silly move by Metiria that might cost Greens more votes than gain them. I’m just gonna wait & see what if anything develops. Either way, Metiria’s taken a big gamble that telling the country she ripped off W&I will benefit more than harm her. I’m looking forward to the polls.

          Reply
  13. Gabe Oldenhof

     /  July 17, 2017

    Turei should resign.
    Misleading the public for 20 plus years means she can’t be trusted.
    Todd Barclay did the right thing after doing the wrong thing.
    I would like to see consistency, do the crime do the time.
    NZ doesn’t want dishonest leadership no matter how insignificant the political party is
    Paying for the dishonesty goes without saying after all she stole off the general public who pay tax, any wounder our tax is so high in NZ.
    Resignation I say!

    Reply
    • Corky

       /  July 17, 2017

      ”Todd Barclay did the right thing after doing the wrong thing.”

      Great wordmanship, Gabe.

      Righties always know when it’s time to move on….and obtain a perk private sector appointment.

      Reply
  14. oldlaker

     /  July 17, 2017

    I’ve just listened to Christine Rankin being interviewed. Rachel Smalley asked the question on everyone’s mind: why has no other major party demanded she step down (and that includes Paula Bennett, who was interviewed several times this morning). What is going on? Does Turei know something we don’t about why Bennett is not calling for her head?

    Reply
    • Kitty Catkin

       /  July 17, 2017

      Paula Bennett is no doubt aware that we only have Ms Turei’s word for it. Suppose she did demand that MT be sacked and prosecuted-and then have MT announce that it was not true, that she was role-playing or some such thing to raise awareness ?

      Christine Rankin ???? Why ? She is very stale news.

      Reply
    • Gezza

       /  July 17, 2017

      Does Turei know something we don’t about why Bennett is not calling for her head?

      Aren’t you reading my posts? It’s a possibility, I reckon. I’m adopting a wait & see approach.

      Reply
      • oldlaker

         /  July 17, 2017

        I meant beyond the allegations already circulating…

        Reply
        • Alan Wilkinson

           /  July 17, 2017

          You mean like evidence from someone who wasn’t ten years old at the time?

          Reply
          • oldlaker

             /  July 17, 2017

            Yeah someone older than 10. Someone who knew her during her university days maybe.

            Reply
            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  July 17, 2017

              I guess we will all wait for that then. And maybe for that maybe mythical person to lawyer up and show up.

        • Gezza

           /  July 17, 2017

          Who knows? They’re knock-down-drag-out shit fights these days, elections. And when it really comes down to it, it doesn’t seem to take much for any of them to turn into the shits doing the knocking down.

          Reply
          • Kitty Catkin

             /  July 19, 2017

            CT asked Mark Prebble if he thought that her jacket was too low cut. He said Yes. He is a very truthful, honest man who wouldn’t give a polite lie for an answer. (my husband knew him) She then tried to accuse him of sexual harassment ! I remember once seeing her on the news bending towards the camera and letting braless ‘poached eggs’ nearly fall out-the camera was switched off just in time.

            She was sacked, wasn’t she, for unethical behaviour like squandering WINZ money and dropping someone else in it by ordering them to sign one particularly extravagant spree off ?

            Reply
            • Kitty Catkin

               /  July 19, 2017

              The flopping poached eggs were not an attractive sight. I could well imagine unlucky men dreading being accused of LOOKING at what they were unable to avoid SEEING ! The no bra look is most inappropriate. One must hope that she didn’t go underwear-free elsewhere.

  15. Patzcuaro

     /  July 17, 2017

    Is Turei a sinner and Bennett a saint or are they both sinners & saints?

    Reply
  16. Alan Wilkinson

     /  July 17, 2017

    So the bottom line with Turei is that she stole from taxpayers when she was young and now she wants to steal a hell of a lot more from taxpayers now she is an MP.

    Reply
    • Gezza

       /  July 17, 2017

      One way of looking at it I guess. Don’t you lean toward the view any government taking any tax off you for any purpose is stealing your money?

      Reply
      • Alan Wilkinson

         /  July 17, 2017

        I have some sympathy for that view but it strengthens considerably when the purpose it is taken for makes the problem it is supposed to solve worse.

        Reply
  1. Turei’s confession risk, but will it be effective? — Your NZ – NZ Conservative Coalition

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