Green budget leans towards the environment

The Green parts of the budget lean heavily towards environmental causes, with less addressing the social issues that Metiria Turei would have championed, and who her successor Marama Davidson is passionate about.

Perhaps this is at least in part due to James Shaw being sole Green leader through the coalition/confidence & supply negotiations as well as for most of the their term in Government to date, and now being the only-co-leader with Ministerial clout.

In Greens defend share of wins after NZ First gets triple the cash NZH lists the Green ‘wins’, which I separate out.

Environmental $454.5m:

  • Conservation funding – $181m
  • Home insulation – $142.5 million
  • Green Investment Fund – $100m
  • Sustainable Farming Fund – $15m
  • Climate Commission – $11m
  • Overseer farm management tool – $5m

Social $155.1m:

  • Midwifery services – $103.6m
  • Expansion of Household Economic Survey – $20m
  • Te reo teaching – $12.5m
  • Youth mental health services – $10m
  • Sexual abuse services – $7.5m
  • Welfare system review – $1.5m

Total: $610m

Greens say that they also support policy wins for Labour and NZ First – but National broadly supports many of them as well.

Shaw’s main focus is on environmental issues, and ik think the same can be said of the other Green ministers, Julie Anne Genter and Eugenie Sage. I think that is reflected in the environmental balance here.

The social wins are important enough midwifery appears to be facing a crisis, and while relatively very modest the boost for youth mental health and for sexual abuse services are very worthwhile.

The welfare system review, something Turei championed, gets a kick the can down the road sort of pittance.

I think that Labour will have no problems with Greens getting credit for addressing the environment, but Jacinda Ardern has designs on things like being a ‘child poverty’ warrior herself.

The strong leaning towards environmental funding is a good thing for the Greens – I think many voters will support a lot of this.

How much Shaw can accentuate this versus Davidson’s strong preference for promoting social and socialist issues may play a big part in the Green’s next campaign and in their chances of surviving the threshold cut next election.

A culture of Green zealotry and intolerance

Stuff has revealed a remarkable example of a culture of zealotry and intolerance in the Green parliamentary bubble.

It is common to encounter Green supporters and activists in social media who promote their ideals with zeal, and are intolerant of any alternative to their policies, and also intolerant of any criticism – sometimes to a bizarre degree.

It is not so common to see this close to the decision makers in Parliament, but Green staffer and candidate Jack McDonald has revealed on Twitter that this intolerant zealotry appears to be a part of Green culture, especially in the younger and pro-Turei faction.

Stuff: Green staffer on ex-MP Kennedy Graham speaking at National event: ‘No wonder he sabotaged us and Metiria’

A Green Party staffer says Kennedy Graham’s presence at a National Party event proves the former Green MP was never a good fit for the party.

Two time green candidate and staffer Jack McDonald

A remarkable statement at odds with reality. Graham’s history as a Green MP:

  • 2008-2011 (9th on list)
  • 2011-2014 (5th on list)
  • 2014-2017 (7th on list

Green members play a major role in ranking their candidates on their list so Graham was obviously seen as a good fit for the party. In 2014 he was ranked a long away ahead of McDonald (who was 21st). And in April last year Graham was ranked 8th on the party list for the 2017 election, and McDonald 13th.

Graham and fellow MP David Clendon resigned from the party’s list at the 2017 election over the rest of the Greens caucus’ continued support for Metiria Turei, who was under fire over her admission of benefit fraud.

Graham, a former diplomat and academic, sought to rejoin the party list after Turei eventually resigned, but was rebuffed by the party’s executive.

Jack McDonald, a former candidate, campaigner for co-leader Marama Davidson, and current Parliamentary staffer, wrote a post on an internal Green Party Facebook group saying Graham’s planned attendance at a BlueGreens conference on Saturday proved excluding him from the list was the right decision.

Another ridiculous claim. Graham was effectively dumped and shunned by the Greens, what he does now is his business.

Graham is appearing at the BlueGreens Forum alongside National MP Todd Muller and Motu’s Catherine Leining for a talk entitled “Climate Change – By Degrees”.

When Graham was in Parliament he led a cross-party group on climate change.

Graham was widely respected for his cross-party work, something that is important in an MMP parliament, but something many Greens, including McDonald, fail to appreciate.

“Kennedy Graham is speaking at the BlueGreens forum in Canterbury this weekend. … No wonder he sabotaged us and Metiria [Turei] when it mattered most,” McDonald wrote.

Turei sabotaged the Green campaign and her own political career. Trying to blame this on Graham is reprehensible. Graham stood down on principle, something McDonald doesn’t seem to have any grasp of (both the fact and principles).

“In the context of Kennedy still apparently having many supporters in the Party who were upset he wasn’t allowed back on the list, we need to make sure there isn’t the ability for this to happen in the future and prevent the election of Green MPs whose politics are incompatible with fundamental Green kaupapa.”

If McDonald represents “fundamental Green kaupapa” then the party is stuffed beyond being a fringe party of zealots intolerant of anyone different to their own self perceived perfection.

“We all need to work on bringing together the party and reaching out to those who disagree, but there also needs to be a line in the sand, and for me, Kennedy represents it.”

If a widely respected MP for 9 years and and loyal party member who acted on genuine principle crosses a line for McDonald that’s sad. Does he represents a common culture within the Green Party

Green MP Golriz Ghahraman “liked” the post.

There seems to be a growing influence in the Greens from younger, more fanatical and far less tolerant members, staffers and MPs.

Recently on Twitter:

Ironic given the vitriol McDonald has dumped on Graham, who was an important part of Green diversity that now seems seriously under threat.

If McDonald and like minded Greens represent ‘fundamental Green kaupapa’, and dump on anyone who doesn’t fit their narrow ideals as McDonald has with Graham, there’s no way I’ll consider voting for them again. And I doubt I’ll be the only one  with that view.

This narrow and intolerant approach to politics is a particular problem for climate change – for enduring and effective measures to be taken by our Parliament it will require general cross-party agreement, and that means working with the National Party who have indicated a willingness to deal with climate change.

McDonald’s zealotry and spiteful drawing of lines is more likely to harm rather than help the Green cause. If they dump on too many people they increase their chances of being dumped from Parliament.

 

Another two weeks until Green co-leader is announced

The Green Party will announce a new co-leader in two weeks, on 8 April, eight months after Metiria Turei resigned as co-leader (on 9 August last year).

It was understandable that in a dire situation going into an election campaign with polls plummeting to  below the threshold that the Greens would defer replacing Turei until after the election, but they left it until early this year to get the ball rolling.

Two candidates put themselves forward, Julie Anne Genter and Marama Davidson, and they have been campaigning for the last month.

It may not be a coincidence that Genter has stuck to her guns amidst publicity over the last few days about her suggestion that white males in their sixties should consider standing down from company boards to make way for more diversity – seeOverreaction to silly Genter ‘old white men’ comments.

Henry Cooke at Stuff: Battle for the future of the Green Party comes to a close

Finally, it’s almost over. After Metiria Turei resigned as co-leader of the Green Party 229 days ago, the vote will begin on Monday to decide whether Julie Anne Genter or Marama Davidson will replace her.

We’re still two weeks out from an actual result on April 8, but the official campaign period has ended.

While the two candidates are warm to each other in person, both on and off-screen, their supporters are not always so kind. A small group of Davidson fans have pledged to revoke their membership if Genter wins.

For a party that champions democratic processes and MMP (that requires political, policy and ideological compromises to work) some Green supporters are staunchly uncompromising and averse to alternative views.

Now the decision is over to the Green membership.

Each of the 71 electorates’ Green Party branch will meet to decide how their delegates will vote over the next fortnight. The normal process involves a lot of consensus-building discussion before a secret ballot, but there are not hard and fast rules.

The delegate votes are distributed on a somewhat proportional basis to every branch. A branch with less than 20 members gets one, more than 20 two, more than 100 three, and more than 200 four – the maximum. That means Green strongholds like Wellington Central with hundreds of Green members only have as much vote as two electorates with 50 members between them.

This ensures the regions aren’t trampled over but also gives real power to very small branches: one Maori electorate branch is said to have a single member deciding its vote.

That doesn’t sound very democratic.

Going into the two-week voting process, Davidson’s camp is more confident – and with good reason. A lot of Green Party members are very much in favour of the argument best made by Morgan Godfery; that if they were to elect Genter, the Green Party would be the only major party with a fully Pakeha leadership team.

Godfrey and others have been playing the race card and diversity cards to promote their preference.

The membership is generally considered to be older, whiter, and more environmentally focused than the wider party’s support.

Green membership has oddly seemed different demographically to their activist base.

… while Davidson is a firm favourite, predicting an electoral college-style vote with no polling is a fool’s game. People weren’t expecting Metiria Turei to beat Sue Bradford, or James Shaw to beat Kevin Hague – but they did.

Davidson is said to be the favourite, despite far less parliamentary experience. Davidson replaced Russel Norman part way through last term, in 2015. She has been promoted by some as the obvious heir to Turei’s social justice throne.

Genter became an MP via the Green list after the 2011 election and is now one of the green ministers, despite Davidson being ranked above her on the party list.

It seems to be a contest of experience versus activist ideology. Davidson may appeal more to the Green activist base, but Genter is likely to have wider voter appeal.

Some tough love for the Green party

Ex political journalist John Armstrong has some views on Metiria Turei and her political crash and burn,  which is unlikely to go down well in the Green camp. Tough truths.

Metiria Turei could have said a lot during the seven or so months which have passed since her hugely dramatic and equally traumatic exit from politics.

Her ghost stalks the Greens, however. In particular, it is stalking the upcoming election of a new female co-leader to fill the vacancy created by her spectacular demise.

In some quarters of the party, Turei the Welfare Fraudster is both martyr and saint; a veritable Joan of Arc and Mother Theresa all rolled into one.

It was much easier to blame the media for her fate, however, than admit to the real reason why she had to quit.

Her consistent refusal to divulge any detail about the circumstances surrounding her fraud was tarnishing the party’s image.

The party’s stance was untenable. It was blaming the media for doing their job. It was saying it was okay for James Shaw to join the Opposition hunt for the scalps of Bill English and Todd Barclay, National’s errant former Clutha-Southland MP.

The application of similar scrutiny to Turei’s behaviour was somehow deemed out of bounds.

That’s fairly typical of Green supporters, in my experience. They are very critical of people and ideas they disagree with, but get almost apoplectic when their party or MPs are put under scrutiny.

Turei’s downfall was the first time in a very long time that the Greens had felt the heat of the media blowtorch on its highest setting.

Now that they are party to government, such bouts of relentless questioning and grilling by the media will be the norm. The Greens can expect it to occur on anything and everything no matter how big or small or how important or trivial.

They really wanted to finally be a part of a Government. Now they are in power they have to expect they will be put under more scrutiny – they were generally given a very easy time when in opposition, so the scrutiny of power is coming as a bit of a shock to some.

The question is whether the Greens have the necessary political management mechanisms in place to ensure the party is not an accident constantly waiting to happen.

The omens are not good. The party’s handling of the New Zealand First-instigated legislation which will block MPs from party-hopping has been as shambolic as it has been shabby.

Perhaps they (the Green Party and their MPs) will learn how to deal with being in awkward political situations that inevitably occur when in Government, and the scrutiny that goes with the territory, but those learnings are likely to be lagging or lacking in the rank and file.

One senior party figure should be exempted from such accusations of complacency, however.

He suggests that Julie Anne Genter is unusually realistic for a Green and would make a good replacement for Turei as co-leader. More on that in Green leadership – sickly sweet political correctness versus political realism.

Green plans for female co-leader

Metiria Turei resigned as Green co-leader last August, leaving James Shaw as sole leader since then. Shaw has just announced plans for finding a new co-leader.

Any female MP or party member can put themselves forward, with Marama Davidson, Julie Anne Genter and Eugenie Sage touted as likely contenders.


Timeline announced for Green Party Female Co-leadership election

The Green Party will have a new Female Co-leader by April 9, following the announcement today of an early special election for the position and a truncated campaign period of two months.

The Female Co-leader position has been vacant since Metiria Turei’s resignation in August last year. Green Party Co-leaders are normally elected annually at the party’s AGM but the party executive has decided to bring the election forward in order to fill the vacancy sooner.

“We are keen to get a new Co-leader in place as soon as possible. The party has decided to bring the election of the Female Co-leader forward, with nominations opening next Friday, closing the week after, and then moving into a shorter two month campaigning period,”  said Green Party Co-leader James Shaw.

“The last Co-leader election was drawn out over a five month period and in hindsight was too long. Two months is plenty of time for the candidates to get out among the party members and for members to have their say.

“Like we did when deciding on joining the new Government, we will be using video technology extensively in the campaign, with video calls for members and delegates planned. We are excited about using technology in the campaign and giving all members a chance to connect with the candidates.

“I would advise Green Party member to make sure that their membership is up to date so that they can vote in their branch deliberations and they get to know the candidates and participate in this process.

“A lot’s happened in the period that I have been sole Co-leader, not least that we are now part of Government. It will be great to get a new Co-leader on board as we traverse our first term in power and start to implement good green change and grow our party,” Mr Shaw said.

The Co-leadership will be chosen by Green Party delegates, representing the party’s branches. Branches will have a number of delegates proportionate to their local membership size. The vote will use the single transferable vote system.

Election timeline:

Fri Feb 2 – Nominations open – all female current Green Party members are eligible to run

Fri Feb 9 – Nominations close

Mon Feb 12 – Full list of nominations announced, however candidates can individually announce their candidacy any time after nominations have opened and they’ve filed their paperwork

Sat Mar 3 – Co-leader candidate session at Green Party policy conference in Napier (open to media, details to be advised closer to the time)

Sun Mar 25 – All delegates Zoom (video) call with Co-leader candidates.  This will be a virtual version of what normally happens at AGM with co-leader candidates giving speeches and answering questions from delegates

Mon Mar 26 – End of official campaigning

Mon Mar 26 to Sat Apr 7 – branch consultation and delegates cast their ballots

Sat Apr 7 – Balloting closes

Sun Apr 8 – Ballot counting and winner announced

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?

Have the Greens given up on Metiria?

Since resigning as co-leader and withdrawing from the Green list Metiria Turei has been out of the political spotlight.

She gets a glimmer of attention from Newshub in Decision 17: One week to go:

Green Party MPs Marama Davidson and Metiria Turei are also in Otara at a rally against poverty.

It will be one of Ms Turei’s first public appearances since her resignation in August, after public scrutiny over her admission of benefit fraud.

“She represented a politician finally talking about the truth about their realities in their everyday lives,” said Ms Davidson.

“There’s no way that I could have this poverty rally without her strength and her bravery represented.”

But in a Green Party Campaign Update Newsletter yesterday Turei was ignored.

Lots of people have been asking about strategic voting. How do we ensure a left government with a great green heart? It’s simple.

If you vote Green and want a Labour-led government then voting Green will not split your vote. Every Green vote adds to every Labour vote.

The number of party votes the Greens get is the deciding factor between Labour forming a coalition with NZ First (let’s not let that happen!) or the Greens.

Party vote Green for a strong, Labour-led government with a compassionate green heart. 💚

You should cast your electorate vote for the candidate you most want to represent your electorate. If that’s Nelson, we hope it’s Matt Lawrey! He’s been doing great work there and we think he is in with a shot to unseat long-standing National MP Nick Smith.

Lawrey is the sole MP who is being promoted for an electorate vote.

Turei’s only chance of getting back into Parliament is to win the Te Tai Tonga electorate, but the Greens aren’t mentioning let alone promoting that.

Has Turei given up on trying? Or have the Greens given up on her?

Confession of a guilty man

Guest post from Patupairehe:


Recent events in the media have been bothering me. A few of our so called representatives have been somewhat economical with the truth, in their past dealings with what is now known as the MSD. Some have also been less than upfront with the public, but lets not go there. That is not why I’m writing this. I am writing because I have a confession to make. In the distant past, I too, have failed to meet my ‘obligations’ to the ministry. Not that I feel guilty about it, I just think that if Metiria can ‘fess up, and explain why she did it, then so should I. As she opined in a recent article on the Stuff website, “”…it’s worth me taking the hit if it means New Zealanders understand how appalling our welfare system has become and how easy it is to fix it.” So here is my story…

My now wife & I had children young, and it was often a struggle to make ends meet on an apprentice’s wage in the late 90’s. A family friend suggested we apply for the accommodation supplement, so my then partner phoned WINZ to find out how. She was informed we would be mailed some forms to fill in, and that we would need to bring these to a meeting with a case manager, along with our birth certificates, some of my payslips, and a joint bank account statement (which was to prove that we were in a de-facto relationship).

I remember thinking at the time how silly it was, that they wanted her to prove we were entitled to less money than she would have been, had we not been honest about our relationship. I had to take time off work to set up the joint bank account, and also to attend the meeting with our case manager. At the conclusion of the meeting, the case manager informed us that we were entitled to around $20 each per week, then asked if we both wanted our payments to be made into the joint account. She didn’t seem to understand why I found that question funny.I was also told that I must inform WINZ of any changes to my income, by ringing the call center on payday.

The first time I rang the call center was on a Thursday around 2 weeks later, as I was paid fortnightly. We had already received our first 2 benefit payments, and the lady on the phone informed me that due to me  working overtime, we had been overpaid, but not to worry about it because it would be deducted in installments from future ‘entitlements’. A few days later, we both received letters stating we had been overpaid, that this ‘debt’ must be repaid, that it would be deducted at $X/week, and that our new weekly entitlement was $X/week before repayment deductions.

A fortnight later, I rang the call centre again, and after waiting on hold for around 20 minutes, a different woman answered. As I had worked less hours than last time, she was happy to inform me that both my partner & I had been underpaid, and that we would both be paid the difference (which was <$10) within two working days. I told her to just credit it against what we ‘owed’, but apparently she couldn’t do that. A few days later, we both received a letter, which informed us that an underpayment had been credited to our bank account.

This silliness went on for just over a year, during which my partner & I accumulated just under 30 letters each. Then one Wednesday, our benefit payments didn’t appear in our account. When I rang to report my pay that Thursday, I asked why, and was told that it was because my partner had failed to return a form they had sent her. When I asked her about it, she dug around in our filing cabinet and found it. She had thrown it in there without even opening it, because “They send us stupid bloody letters all the time!”.
The form was around 15 pages long, and asked all manner of irrelevant questions, such as “Are you descended from a NZ Maori?”. To this day I fail to understand what that had to do with my income, or how much rent we paid. But we filled it out honestly anyway, and our benefit was re-instated the following week.

I kept ringing up every payday for several months, and waited on hold for around half an hour on average. The computer generated letters kept arriving, and our average payment amount slowly decreased, as my pay increased. Our payments were down to around $10 each/week when I stopped ringing them. It just didn’t seem worth waiting half an hour on the phone once a fortnight for, and we figured that we’d just wait for them to stop paying us, when we ignored the next written interrogation from them. I had also been informed by a friend, whose sister was a WINZ case manager, that they wouldn’t bother attempting to recover ‘debts’ of under $2000.

Sure enough, my then partner eventually received a form ,and ignored it. A few weeks later, we both had our benefits cut, and she got a dirty letter from WINZ, which stated that we would not get any more money until she filled in the form. She ignored that one too. And that was the last we heard about it.

I’m not sure if things are still the same nowadays. I wouldn’t know, having not claimed a benefit for quite some time. What I do know, is that a significant percentage of the welfare budget is spent on administration, and I can understand why, if my experience is anything to go by.

 

Tough for Turei in Te Tai Tonga

After resigning as Green co-leader and withdrawing from the party list Metiria Turei’s only chance of staying in Parliament was in winning the Te Tai Tonga electorate. This is the first time as a Green MP she has tried to win an electorate rather than going for party votes.

A Maori Television poll suggests it will be tough for Turei – Te Tai Tonga – Preferred Candidate:

  • Rino Tirikatene (Labour) 57.1%
  • Mei Reedy-Taare (Maori Party) 22.1%
  • Metiria Turei (Greens) 20.7%

Tirikatene is not the best performing of MPs but he has strong family and iwiw ties to the electorate.

Electorate result in 2014:

  • Rino Tirikatene (Labour) 41.77%
  • Ngaire Button (Maori Party) 24.19%
  • Dora Roimata Langsbury (Greens) 15.69%
  • Georgina Beyer (Mana) 9.87%
  • Emma-Jane Mihaere Kingi (Legalise Cannabis) 4.97%

 

Campaigning for electorate and mission Metiria

Metiria Turei stepped down from Green leadership and she has withdrawn from the party list, but she is still standing this election, for the Te Tai Tonga Maori electorate for the first time, and that is her only chance of staying in Parliament.

Turei has done well in the Dunedin North electorate for the last three elections, and has been especially successful at growing the Green vote in Dunedin (although Greens have always done relatively well in Dunedin North):

  • 1999: electorate 4.22%, party 7.43%
  • 2002: electorate 6.87%, party 12.36%,
  • 2005: electorate 7.46%, party 10.82%
  • 2008: Turei 11.09%, party 15.81%
  • 2011: Turei 19.51%, party 23.39%
  • 2014: Turei 17.37%, party 22.94%

Te Tai Tonga is huge, covering all of the South Island, Stewart Island, the Chatham Islands, all the islands in the Southern Ocean, and a large part of the Wellington urban area which includes Wellington City as far as Johnsonville, and Petone, Lower Hutt and Eastbourne from the Hutt Valley.

The incumbent Te Tai Tonga MP is Rino Tirikatene, one of Labour’s lowest ranked and least visible MPs, but with the surge in support for Labour it would seem unlikely he will lose to Turei. The Maori Party is also strongly contesting the seat.

2014 results:

  • Rino Tirikatene 8,885 votes, Labour 36.70%
  • Ngaire Button 4,891 votes, Maori party 11.19%
  • Dora Roimata Langsbury 3,173 votes, Greens 16.41%
  • Georgina Beyer 1,996 votes, Internet Mana 4.93%
  • Emma-Jane Mihaere Kingi 1,005 votes, Legalise Cannabis 1.36%
  • National 14.92%
  • NZ First 12.82%

From Claire Trevett at NZH: The Maori battlegrounds

One of the more intriguing races as a result of the political upheavals in the last three weeks will be the Te Tai Tonga seat, held by Labour’s Rino Tirikatene.

After Turei took herself off the Green Party list and stepped down as co-leader it did not take long for her supporters on social media to start pointing out that if Te Tai Tonga voters believed she had been hard done-by for her admission of welfare fraud as a young solo mother, they should vote for her to get her back in.

Now, Turei says if she won the seat, she would take it and return. “It would be a great honour.”

Asked if she would be actively campaigning for the candidate, Turei says the party vote is the most important. “And it would be a real privilege if voters gave me their electorate vote as well.”

Bargh says an added bonus in campaigning for the seat would be securing the electorate as insurance for the Green Party in case of a low party vote.

But she doubts Turei can get enough to tilt Tirikatene out. Though there is some dissatisfaction with him, he could be saved by the surge in popularity for Labour, she says.

Ngahuia Wade believes the most likely impact of Turei will be to split the Labour-Green vote and get the Maori Party’s Mei Reedy-Taare into Parliament.

This will be an intriguing contest, both to see how well Turei does and to see if Tirikatene hangs on.

ODT: Applause for Turei at candidate forum

Metiria Turei appeared to be as popular as ever at her first public outing since resigning from the Green Party leadership.

She represented the party at a low-key political forum at Knox Church Hall yesterday.

Seems odd that the Green candidate in Dunedin North didn’t represent their party.

The questions canvassed the candidates’ thoughts on housing affordability and availability for low-income earners; how they would create healthy childhoods; and whether they thought benefits and working for families tax credits should be indexed to median wages, as superannuation is.

Ms Turei’s response to the latter drew the loudest cheers and applause of the forum, from many in the audience.

She does well in Dunedin candidate meetings, and the Knox forum tends to be very left leaning.

”I have staked my entire political career on improving the incomes for the most poor in this country.”

A stark staking this election.

On Facebook recently:

Back on the horse! You have all been an amazing support over the last weeks. Thank you.
Now I need your help to run a great campaign in Te Tai Tonga. We have just 5 weeks, whānau. So if you want to help me, I need volunteers and money – either is awesome.

To volunteer, just go to http://nzgreens.nationbuilder.com/volunteer-ttt We need people to make phonecalls, knock on doors and come out to hui. There are events all over the rohe and I’d love to see your faces there!

If you don’t have much time, then consider sending a koha https://www.greens.org.nz/candidate-donation-metiria-turei – every bit helps.
We will end poverty in Aotearoa, build a compassionate welfare system and restore our awa. That’s our mission!

So give your party vote to Greens to get my incredible team back into Parliament and give your electorate vote to the person who best represents you. If that’s me, I would be honoured.

Turei is getting support from outside her electorate campaign:

 

Will this be her last political fling, or will she win a historic Maori electorate for the Greens?

Maori electorates have tended to vote tactical more than others, but nothing out of the ordinary has happened in Te Tai Tonga. Until now?

It would be a loss to Parliament if Turei misses out.