Metiria Turei: ‘system broken’

At a modest ‘poverty’ rally yesterday Metiria Turei said that the welfare system was broken. But before the Greens fix it do they have to fix themselves? The Green bubble appears to be broken.

A fairly green Standard posted Rally Against Poverty – join Metiria Turei and Marama Davidson yesterday morning…

Saturday 16 Sept 2.30pm, Otara Town Centre, South Auckland. Let’s all come together to rally for our communities that have been at the forefront on the fight to end poverty.

…that prompted a very lukewarm 11 comments (to date).

Carolyn_nth commented after the event:

It was great to be at the rally, and hear from people dealing with those who are homeless and on benefits.

A tweet from a guy I don’t know with some images from the event.

And the event was a corrective for anyone still thinking the Green Party is solely of and for white middle class folk.

When I arrived at Otara Town Centre, there was a group of young brown women with Green Party, and “I stand with Metiria” placards, out on the corner of the main road.

There was an array of speakers, poets and a singer or two.

Metiria sounded like she hasn’t missed a beat since standing down from GP leadership. She got a strong positive and loud response. And talks like she will be keeping up the struggle to end poverty for a very long time.

RNZ reports: Turei tells Green’s poverty rally welfare system broken

About 150 people gathered at the Otara Town Centre to hear from the Green Party about eliminating poverty in the country.

That’s a very modest number at a rally.

Green Party list candidate Marama Davidson said the party would raise benefits by 20 percent – including student allowances and all core living payments – if elected.

Ms Davidson said that alone would raise every family above the poverty line within a year.

“We are sending a clear, clear message that we will not accept poverty anymore and that we will do everything we can to end it,” she said.

“The voices of people who are on the front line and experiencing poverty need to be heard and need to be supported.”

The opportunity of being heard at a Green political rally doesn’t seem to have inspired many people.

Metiria Turei, who resigned as co-leader of the Green Party last month after admitting she committed benefit fraud, also spoke.

She thanked supporters for their compassion and kindness towards her when she confessed to lying to WINZ about her circumstances so she could receive more money for herself and her young daughter.

“We have a welfare system in this country that is broken … and it punishes people simply because they need some help,” Mrs Turei said.

And she said the Green Party was the only party which was taking poverty seriously.

Unfortunately for the Greens, far less seriously since Turei tried to justify her benefit fraud.

There’s certainly flaws with our welfare system, and there are significant problems with ‘poverty’, with people struggling, with people living in genuine deprivation, with kids getting a poor start to life.

But ‘eliminating poverty’ is a vague ideal. Simply giving a lot of people a lot more money, and giving them a nice house for life – and probably increasing the country’s debt levels significantly – are not solutions to complex societal problems.

There isn’t a magic bullet for ‘fixing’ our welfare system, nor is there green bullet for eliminating financial hardship.

The collapse in Green support in the polls, and the very modest amount of support for a political rally featuring Marama Davidson and Metiria Turei, suggests that the Greens have to do some soul searching to find a way of promoting their reforms.

Davidson became an MP only two years ago (November 2015), and has been lauded as a social justice warrior, and has been fast tracked up the Green pecking order to number 2 on their current list.

She looks like replacing Turei as their social policy champion, as Turei seems destined to drop out of Parliament after her poverty power play turned to custard.

Remember that a genuine battler for the battlers in our society, Sue Bradford, resigned from Parliament when Turei beat her in a leadership contest in 2009.

Turei managed the transition from Jeannette Fitzsimon’s leadership very well, and should be credited with playing a part in Green growth for the 2011 election.

But there were warning signs when Green optimism in 2014 was dashed by a slight drop in their percentage support.

The following year a jaded and disillusioned Russel Norman, a strong advocate for environmental issues and financial credibility, gave up his parliamentary fight, to be replaced by Davidson.

In July Turei led a major gamble in revealing her benefit fraud. This initially seemed to be successful, with a surge in Green support evident in the polls. But the story fell apart, as did Green support, with a double whammy when a Jacinda Ardern led resurgence of Labour (precipitated by the Green rise before they fell).

Turei has been noticeably knocked by what happened, and what will happen to her political career. She promised to continue her fight against poverty and against am awful welfare system. Davidson was promoted to number 2 and given a senior role as anti poverty advocate.

That both Davidson and Turei could only attract a modest crowd a week before the election suggest that the Green welfare campaign system is broken.

They have allowed themselves to be fooled in their self made self righteous bubble.

Before the Greens can fix the welfare system and before they can fix poverty – if either are actually possible – they need to fix their own systems of understanding.

They effectively want a socialist society where the state equalises everyone’s money. This is supposed to equalise standards of living. It has never been a successful political approach for a country in the modern world.

They say that to fix the environment you first have to fix poverty, fix society. That’s bollocks.

Rising standards of living tends to lead to rising levels of consumption and rising urbanisation and rising consumerisation. This has raised the problems with pollution, not reduced them.

Turei may come back into politics, but when she has a break maybe she can reassess what is required to transform our society so that most people do have a decent chance of having a decent life.

In the 21st century socialist revolution has been sidelined on the fanatical fringe. If the Greens continue to put too much emphasis on state imposed equality they risk becoming a fanatical fringe party.

It appears that Turei may have always been too tinged with fanatical fringe to lead them to their first real election victory.

It appears that the Green system is breaking apart.

Can Turei change? Can the Greens change? Or are they destined to never actually change our society much?

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27 Comments

  1. artcroft

     /  September 17, 2017

    You’re on point today PG.

    Reply
  2. sorethumb

     /  September 17, 2017

    They could raise money: Metiria Toby Jugs? Seriously though, Marama has 8 kids (in line with concerns about the human population), so not hard to get a rent – a – mob?

    Reply
  3. I’ve posted this comment on The Standard thread (I don’t know when they unbanned me, I haven’t tried for a while):

    A very modest amount of interest here and a modest turnout at the rally – RNZ say 150 – suggests that it may not just be the welfare system that’s broken, but the Green system looks to be in need of reassessment and repair.

    Revolution rarely happens from the political fringes. In a democratic country you have to win popular support, and Green popularity has collapsed with their poverty power play.

    Greens could still end up in Government, but that would be with a whimper and thanks to Labour.

    To have a popular people’s movement you need to first promote popular policies and become popular. And have a popular leader helps, as Labour have discovered. Shaw is very capable but not charismatic.

    It’s worth remembering that a real battler for the battlers, Sue Bradford, got beaten by Metiria and deserted the Greens.

    Marama Davidson has been an MP less than two years and was fast tracked up the green pecking order, but I don’t think she will be widely popular.

    She has failed to fire this campaign, maybe that’s lack of experience, or maybe her style of social justice campaigning just isn’t attractive to the strugglers in our society. She couldn’t pull much of a crowd in Otara – most of those in attendance were probably party faithful trying to put on a show.

    A lot to think about for the Greens and their future – if they’re prepared to look and think outside their bubble.

    I’m not sure if they’ll be ready to ponder or discuss their predicament yet.

    Reply
  4. Maggy Wassilieff

     /  September 17, 2017

    There is a lie that Meiria needs to unpick.
    She tells us that she needed to lie to WINZ to support herself and her child, but that appears not to be the truth.

    For folks that are having real difficulty in making ends meet, she appears as a spoilt hypocrite.

    Reply
    • Kitty Catkin

       /  September 17, 2017

      ‘Appears not to be the truth is a charitable way of putting it,

      I cannot understand her groupies still supporting her. or acting as if nobody else was ever concerned about poverty (an emotive word) before she came along.

      The system’s not broken, Metiria, the record is,

      Reply
      • Kitty Catkin

         /  September 17, 2017

        I do wonder what the ‘baby’s’ father and his family thought when the whole of NZ was given to understand that they were prepared to let the baby go hungry. Or what the then-baby thinks now, as she has said that she believed that they would have gone hungry had mum not done the fraud. She knows now that this wasn’t true.

        Reply
  5. George

     /  September 17, 2017

    Meiria has broken the law.
    And expects an adoring audience to absolve her…
    The greens should reinstate the two who resigned in protest at being in the same party as Meiria.
    It might add to whatever mana they still have

    Reply
  6. Tipene

     /  September 17, 2017

    The only bit of the welfare system that was ‘broken” is the bit that most likely indulged in cultural cringe by not catching Turei out when she was ripping the rest of us off.

    The Greens abhor any thinking or perspective that is in contrast to their own- it is this allergy to correction that will ultimately be their undoing.

    Reply
  7. sorethumb

     /  September 17, 2017

    I watched Robert Putnam on Youtube last night. He is the expert on social capital.
    He is against solo parenthood
    https://www.economist.com/news/books-and-arts/21646708-social-mobility-depends-what-happens-first-years-life-minding-nurture-gap [use incognito to view]

    Reply
    • sorethumb

       /  September 17, 2017

      He is saying children need time with parents and two heads are better than one. He laso thinks the military is a good option for all young men.He says that it is actually quite hard for them to get into the military.

      Reply
      • Kitty Catkin

         /  September 17, 2017

        What original views he has.

        So my mother should have stayed with my father, despite the psychological and emotional abuse that all of us were suffering ???

        Reply
        • sorethumb

           /  September 17, 2017

          I probably miss stated that. While in some cases families have to break up he is talking about the trend. He said all the things we worried about the black working class in the 1970’s are being seen in the white working class now.

          Reply
          • Kitty Catkin

             /  September 17, 2017

            I must confess to not having been too worried-or even hearing much about-the black working class in a country in which I didn’t live .

            Reply
  8. Strong For Life

     /  September 17, 2017

    When is Ms Turei going to be charged with benefit fraud and face the court?

    Reply
  9. alloytoo

     /  September 17, 2017

    “Rising standards of living tends to lead to rising levels of consumption and rising urbanisation and rising consumerisation. This has raised the problems with pollution, not reduced them.”

    Rubbish, consumerism has if anything moderated the effects of pollution wrought by industrialization.

    Communist/Socialist countries have abysmal environmental records.

    Only wealthy countries can afford environmentally sound policies.

    That’s what makes the Greens current SJW status so bizarre, it’s neither scientifically sound, nor environmental sound and it’s been pushed by the morally bankrupt.

    Reply
  10. Zedd

     /  September 17, 2017

    after 9 years of this tory Govt. & their beneficiary bashing policies.. what can you expect, but a broken system.. along with public education, health care etc.
    All this Govt. understand is ‘privatise it or sell it off to the highest bidder, then give more tax cuts to the wealthiest !’

    The Greens lose; Metiria is actually, the whole county’s.. sez I&I

    3 more years of Natz.. HELL NO !!!! 😦

    Reply
    • alloytoo

       /  September 17, 2017

      First real increase in the benefit in decades= bene bashing? my you live in strange world.

      Reply
  11. robertguyton

     /  September 17, 2017

    Metiria disclosed her misdemeanors, publicly. She organised meetings with WINZ to resolve the issues. Are those of you condemning her mad? Genuine question?

    Reply

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