Metiria’s racist claim nonsense

Green co-leader Metiria Turei has claimed a remark by National’s Anne Tolley was racist, with Tolley calling it “utter nonsense”. It may have hit a raw nerve but it is a nonsense response.

On Stuff in MP’s clothes jibe leads to racism call:

Speaking during the debate on the Prime Minister John Key’s opening statement to Parliament, Tolley said she was insulted by Green Party claims that she was out of touch.

She said said her role as an electorate MP included meetings with constituents who were among the poorest in the country.

“I’m actually insulted to be lectured about how out of touch I am with average New Zealand by a list MP who has no constituents, lives in a castle and comes to the House in $2000 designed jackets and tells me I’m out of touch,” Tolley said.

Turei’s response:

Asked about Tolley’s comments, Turei said racism was behind the attack.

“I’m shocked that the National Party would attack me and my home and my appearance. I think it is a racist attack,” she said.

“I think they seem to think it is all right for them to wear perfectly good suits for their professional job but that a Maori woman from a working-class background is not entitled to do the same. I think it is pure racism.”

Ask how the attack was racist, Turei said she shopped at the same place some of her opponents did.

“They do not think that a professional Maori woman from a working-class background should be able to wear good suits to work,” she said.

“I buy my clothes from some of the same shops they do. I think they find that they can’t cope with that and I think it’s because I’m a Maori woman from a working-class background.”

She said it was up to the public to judge the performance of her opponents.“There are bullies in any workplace and this is just another example of that.”

When challenged on her racism claim on Twitter Turei responded:

@metiria
The racism is covert. Theres no reason for the singular attack but that.

You have to call out racism when you see it. Plenty of MPs work to end poverty and don’t get these attacks.

That’s nonsense, on that basis she could claim any criticism of her is racism, or misogyny, or anti-McGillicuddy, or anti-royalty, or whatever she wanted to dream up.

What seems to have happened is Tolley made a point that hit a sensitive mark, and Turei had no argument against it. Defensively she resorted to the race card. That’s as bad, at least, as Tolley’s remark.

In fact Tolley made what is basically a fair point, a major problem the Greens have is the disconnect between how they present themselves and the demographic they purport to be fighting for. I often hear it mentioned.

Greens often come across as middle class (or upper middle class) do-gooders who are out of touch and out of synch with what they represent.

And complaining about “MPs’ homes have always been outside of the acceptable realms of debate” is also hypocritical.

Turei said it was unfair to attack her home.

“MPs’ homes have always been outside of the acceptable realms of debate, and so this very personal, very explicit attack, I think, comes from their inability to cope with my work and the effectiveness of my work, and an inherent racism.”

Turei was happy to be publicised in an attack event at her “castle” earlier this month.

See Video: Militia mayhem and madness at Waitati.

The annual Waitati New Year’s Eve Battle between the Waitati Militia and Clan McGillicuddy was a bloody mary affair.

A 40-strong militia battalion arrived at Almond Castle, home of Green MP Metiria Turei, to discover a gaggle of McGillicuddy gargoyles basking in the battlements.

The militia banged their drums, waved Jolly Roger flags and shook sticks topped with teapots in rage.

The rules of the engagement were laid out and a safety briefing given by Ms Turei.

”Your safety is of absolutely no concern at all. I’m telling you think to avoid any legal complications later on,” she said.

I don’t recall Turei complaining that this coverage of her castle was racist.