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.

 

New Zealander of the Year nominations

Nominations for New Zealander of the Year were used as a political campaign to promote Metiria Turei, have become dominated by the number of nominations for an Australian politician who recently denounced his New Zealand citizenship, Barnaby Joyce.

Nominations for New Zealander of the Year for 2018 close on 18 September (well short of the end of the year). The top 10 will be announced at the end of the year (30/12), the top 3 will be announced on 24 January 2018. The website doesn’t say under ‘Key Dates’ when the winners will be announced – it will be at a gala in Auckland on 21 February 2018.

Why are they always announced in Auckland? There are some other parts of the country too.

2018 New Zealander of the Year Awards Update

The New Zealander of the Year Awards office is pleased to provide the following nominations update for the 2018 New Zealander of the Year Awards.

• 371 nominations have been received for 2018 New Zealander of the Year.

• Support for former co-leader of the Green Party Metiria Turei has continued to grow since her resignation and she has received the most nominations.

• Australian Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce has received the second most. At the conclusion of the nominations period the Awards office will assess Mr Joyce’s eligibility based on his citizenship and other criteria.

 

After nominations close on 18 September 2017, a judging panel – comprising representatives of awards patrons, presenters, sponsors, community leaders and independent experts – will evaluate the nominations. The shortlist of 10 candidates to be considered for the New Zealander of the Year Award will be announced in December.

Comment from New Zealander of the Year Awards manager, Glyn Taylor:

“With three weeks to go, the nominations for 2018 New Zealander of the Year come from all fields of achievement and community service. It’s also not unusual for people of the moment to attract significant support during the public nominations period.

“We’re looking forward to seeing the expected upswing in nominations in these final weeks. The independent judging panel will then consider each nomination on how a particular individual has contributed to making New Zealand a better place to live”.

Barnaby Joyce’s denouncement of he New Zealand should rule him out, and he has hardly “contributed to making New Zealand a better place to live”.

Turei’s nominations are premature at least. Some may see her putting the Green Party at risk of dropping out of Parliament a contribution, but the reality is that while she risked her career to speak up for poor people and against poverty it’s very arguable about how much she has actually achieved.

By the end of the year she may be virtually forgotten. Remember Russel Norman? Kevin Hague? One an ex Green leader too, the other an ex Green MP, and arguably both have done as much or more for New Zealand than Turei, but they don’t have political point scoring campaigners behind them.

If the Greens do poorly in next month’s election then even the political faction pushing her barrow may fizzle somewhat.

If a political campaign succeeded in making Turei New Zealander of the year it would be as lame as a political knighthood or damehood.

Turei may yet prove her worth as an advocate for the poor in the future, but she has gone backwards rather than forwards this year, and so has what could actually have been able to make a real difference, the Green Party.

We should be looking more at others on the list who have been overshadowed by politics and farce:

• Other nominated New Zealanders for 2018 Kiwibank New Zealander of the Year include:

o Kristina Cavit – founder and director of The Kindness Institute
o Grant Dalton – managing director of Team New Zealand
o Kelly Dugan – CEO and founder SmileDial NZ INC
o Mark Dunajtschik – philanthropist
o Heather Henare – CEO of Skylight and former CEO of Women’s Refuge New Zealand
o Dr Mike Joy – senior lecturer in ecology / zoology at Massey University
o Mike King – mental health advocate
o Lizzie Marvelly – musician, writer and activist
o Michael Meredith – award winning chef and co-founder of Eat My Lunch
o Kathryn Ryan – broadcaster
o Annah Stretton – fashion designer and founder of Reclaim Another Women
o Dr Ingrid Visser – founder of Orca Research Trust

ALL AWARDS

NOMINATE

Metiria versus Pākehā men #2

Another view that a few Pākehā men may not entirely agree with (and probably some non- whites and non-men).

Miriam Aoke (Vice): Metiria Turei and How the NZ Media Ignores Its Own Prejudice

For the past few weeks, New Zealand has dwelt on Metiria Turei (Ngāti Kahungunu) and her admission of benefit fraud. Many were quick to label the move divisive, a ploy for votes, and condemned Turei for what they saw as a lack of remorse.

Turei was persecuted by media agents with no concern for her hauora or that of her whānau.

For Māori, mainstream media is mired in colonial framing, misrepresentation and exclusion—yet mainstream media continues to insist its coverage is non-partisan. Metiria Turei conceded the scrutiny on her whānau was unbearable, and she resigned as Green Party co-leader last Wednesday.

The voices of Pākehā men were once again triumphant in drowning out the Māori worldview.

Aoake may have a reasonable point but she has expressed it unreasonably.

It is ridiculous to assert that all the ‘drowning out’ was by Pākehā men.

Media treatment of Māori and Māori issues is deeply prejudiced.

Research conducted by Māori academics between 2006 and 2007 analysed close to 2000 stories across ONE news, 3News and Prime. In total, only 1.8 percent of stories referenced Māori. Of that 1.8 percent, 56 percent were concerned with child abuse.

That’s ten years ago and may or may not be out of date, but it raises an important point. But having started by slamming ‘Pākehā men’ she will have turned off a substantial potential readership before she got to detail her case.

Representations of Māori, and our stories, remain under the control of Pākehā-owned television, radio, and print media.

That is absurd. Ownership of media is varied. Some media is probably dominated by Pākehā men, but where is the evidence? I’m sure there must be some. I have concerns about how some media is run.

Some media is Maori controlled. I watched a couple of very interesting programmes on Maori television last night, that is a very good channel.

There is nothing stopping Māori people setting up and owning and running media.

Journalism is informed by Western pedagogies, which emphasise the need for objectivity, but the definition has shifted over time. Journalists recognised bias as inherent, and resolved to develop the practice to test information and prune any cultural or personal bias. Objectivity, in a modern context, translates as free from bias.

Purging journalism of an unmoderated bias to which it freely confesses is impossible.

Purging media of anything, including of ‘Pākehā men’, is impossible – and it would be abhorrent to try. I’m fairly sure most people including most Maori would have serious concerns about targeted purges of media.

In 2005, Aotearoa was visited by UN Special Rapporteur Rodolfo Stavenhagen—he was responsible for assessing the human rights and fundamental freedoms of Māori. The report, published in 2006, was damning. His findings suggested there was a systemic attitude of racism towards Māori within the media.

I think things have changed in the past decade, but systemic attitudes of racism are no doubt still a problem.  Aoake is promoting a sexist racist attack of her own, it just happens to be not against Māori.

He found that potential Māori ownership of resources is portrayed as a threat to non-Māori and that a recurring theme is Māori as incompetent managers or as fiscally irresponsible.

I don’t understand this. If Maori want to own media then they should choose to do that.

In his recommendations, he advocated for the establishment of an independent commission to monitor media performance and intervene with remedial action when necessary.

Intervention and remedial action would be very tricky, and potentially dangerous.

He also pleaded with political figures and media outlets to refrain from using language that may incite racial intolerance. The glaring scrutiny which prompted the resignation of Metiria Turei is evidence that mainstream media has made little to no progress.

“The voices of Pākehā men were once again triumphant in drowning out the Māori worldview” looks like language that may incite racial intolerance.

I don’t see how racism can be defeated by promoting a different slant of racism.

Aoake quotes Patrick Gower and Barry Soper as examples of the male Pākehā  problem in media. This is very selective. I saw many articles written by females, and by Maori.

I presume Aoake knows that Gower and Soper have no Māori genes. It’s not uncommon to make inaccurate assumptions – when Green MP David Clendon withdrew from the Green list he was slammed by some for being a ‘white male’. Looks can be deceiving – Clendon no doubt has some non-Māori genes, but he is also tangata whenua.

The need to demonise the poor and impoverished, to distract from the issue of a broken safety net, to stifle a Māori voice is indicative of an experience shrouded in privilege. The approach is necessarily punitive by design. It is an offensive which, when successful, exacerbates the division of wealth and equality, the “us versus them” rhetoric. Both for Turei and Māori women, navigating post-colonial Aotearoa is exhausting and arduous.

We prune and trim, yanking the weed out by the root on our hands and knees. We sow seeds to harvest and bloom when the time is right. We scrub the blood and dirt from the beds of our fingernails. We sleep heavily, satisfied that our labour will make an impact. In the morning, we wake to find the weeds overgrown, the soil infertile, and the flowers wilted. Yet still, we persist. We rise every morning, repeat the mahi, and reclaim our whenua.

It’s good to see Māori women who strongly promote what they believe in.

But when they make mistakes, as Turei did, they must not be immune from examination and criticism, even if they are Māori and female and left wing.

Entrenched problems need to be vigorously fought against. There are entrenched problems in media and in politics.

But in combating them a criticism free pass should not be given to someone simply because they may be a minority. As a white middle class male I’m a minority, but that shouldn’t give me any special immunity from criticism or examination.

Pākehā men who are politicians get investigated and criticised by media more than anyone – because there are more of them than any other minority.

There may well be bias and different races and different genders may be treated differently. By all means try to measure and monitor bias and try to address it.

But it’s racist, sexist and counter productive to protect Turei from criticism based on her gender and genes, while slamming and trying to exclude all Pākehā men.

Many Pākehā men would (and do) support promotion of better media and better politics. Isolating and ostracising them as a group won’t help.

Metiria versus Pākehā men #1

While Metiria Turei has largely dropped out of the media spotlight there has been some ongoing commentary on her rise and fall over the last month. Two articles claim that she has been done over by white middle/upper class males.

Newshub:  Metiria Turei’s demise due to ‘race, gender and class’ – academic

For the last three weeks, the actions of former Green Party co-leader Metiria Turei have polarised our country.

Māori academic Dr Leonie Pihama described the coverage as “a clear attack that is grounded in the fundamental right-wing ideologies of race, gender and class”.

There were certainly attacks on Turei and her actions and attitudes to benefits and solutions to poverty.

But she started a highly political and contentious ‘mission’ and media had a duty to examine the whole story, not just the bits Turei wanted to promote to try to grow votes for the Green Party.

Some media coverage may have been over the top, but that’s not unusual in politics. Bill English has been hammered by media for months over the Todd Barclay issue, and he’s right wing-ish, white, male and relatively well off.

Polls showed that many people who leaned left were not comfortable with Turei’s actions and continued acceptance of law breaking.

Three quarters of people polled, including about half of Green voters and about two thirds of Labour voters answered yes to ‘Was it wrong for Metiria Turei to get a bigger benefit?’ – see Newshub poll: Most Kiwis say Metiria Turei was wrong to lie to WINZ

There was clearly:

  • left wing disapproval
  • clearly many of those who disapproved must have been female (at least half)
  • many must have been lower to middle class,
  • there must have been some non-whites who disapproved (as there was whites who approved).

It is fine for Pihama to question whether there has been some bias in reporting the Turei issue. There is always bias in media.

It is also fine to suggest that some ‘attacks’ were based on ideologies, race, age and class. Inevitably they would have been.

But stating that the coverage was “a clear attack that is grounded in the fundamental right-wing ideologies of race, gender and class” is not something one should expect from someone presenting themselves as an academic.

There was more. Discussion on this at Reddit:

She said a lot more than that:

“What we have is a clear attack that is grounded in the fundamental right wing ideologies of race, gender and class that serve the interests of domination and which reproduce systems of inequality and disparities. Metiria Turei embodies all of those things that white supremacy seeks to destroy.

“It seems that everywhere I turn there is a upsurge of white supremacy expressed as white privilege.”

A comment in response at Reddit:

What it says is actually the truth. Metiria Turei does embody all that white supremacists (aka Trump supporter type) because she is:

  • Brown coloured (aka not white)
  • A woman
  • Activist for the poor
  • Environment activist
  • Socialist
  • Secularist

The only reason she was hounded by the media is because she failed to anticipate that they would dig for, and find, more dirt on her. Lying about having a flatmate (although it was actually fine for her to have a boarder), and voting in a different electorate to your actual residence (John Key did the same thing while he was an MP) was no big deal.

What actually hurt her was the fact that the residence she put down was actually the baby daddy’s address, so the possible implication was that she she lied about living with him which meant she was never entitled to the benefit in the first place. Despite her years of political experience and the fact she was a co-leader if the Green Party, she failed to anticipate the media uncovering it all and connecting the dots.

But Pihama seems to think that it was unfair for media to join the dots. It was clear there was more to Turei’s story than she was willing to divulge.

It sounds like Pihama is biased based on her political  ideologies, race and gender (I won’t try to judge her class).

 

 

Greens catching up online

Yesterday I posted about how the Green Party had not updated the online presence of ex-co-leader Metiria Turei – see Turei still shows as co-leader. They are now stating to catch up with events earlier this week – Turei resigned as co-leader on Wednesday.

Their website now features Shaw on their home page with Green supporters and no Turei.

GreensHomePage20170812

Turei still co-features with Shaw on the photo linking to Our People, but on that page she has now been relegated to the rank and file MPs/candidates. The new top of the pecking order:

GreensOurPeople20170812

Two males only in the top nine. The next three (10-12) are male but may now be borderline to get into Parliament.

No Turei ( she is on the sixteenth row down), and no return of Kennedy Graham.

Turei’s Twitter profile still show her as Green Party Co-leader & MP for . Apparently “quite cool if a little obscure”

 still features both Shaw and Turei in it’s header photo, which is the same as on their Facebook page:

19984127_10154550288411372_6487588052372260769_o

A leadership change means a lot of changes need to be made across social media and in all their advertising and on Billboards. The Greens intend to relaunch their campaign tomorrow.

Shaw will feature on The nation this morning.

 

 

 

 

 

TRP Adviser 11 August 2017

This week we learned many things.


Bill English is donkey deep in the Todd Barclay affair, Labour have their mojo back and it’s all about me me Metiria.

The revelations that Bill English was texting his former electorate secretary hundreds of times in the lead up to her resignation was bad enough. Now we learn that English unlawfully destroyed the incriminating texts, presumably to avoid public opprobrium.

It seems likely that Winston Peters has some or all of the communications and is going to drip feed them over the next few weeks. He’s going to let English squirm and fret. That’s as it should be, because forcing someone to resign against their will is appalling behaviour.

In the legal trade, that’s known as a constructive dismissal. It’s when someone of power and authority makes life so miserable for an employee that they have no reasonable alternative but to resign.

At least that’s what I hope English was up to with his txt torrent. It’d be truly awful if, as some people have suggested, he was a sex pest. No, that simply can’t be true.


The latest polls have Labour riding high. They’re back up to the giddy heights of the mid thirties, a place that was only a few years ago the death knell for former leaders Shearer and Cunliffe.

There’s a sad irony that a mediocre result is a cause for celebration, but kudos to Andrew Little for allowing this to happen. The Jacinda Affect is real. But will it be sustained? And after the Greens implosion, will the coalition numbers still stack up, even with NZ First’s support?


This has been a chastening week for the Greens. The initial response to Metiria Turei’s admission that she was a benefit fraudster was a leap in support. There was clear public sympathy for her claimed circumstances, but as her story unravelled, that faded fast.

It was political madness to alienate middle class support. The Greens don’t exist without the money and votes of the relatively well off. Trying to rebrand the party as mana with muesli was always going to come at a cost.

The maths simply don’t add up. The beneficiaries Metiria was pitching to are notoriously hard to get enrolled, let alone to get to vote. The gain was always going to be minimal and the potential downside catastrophic.

In short, Meteria Turei’s attempt to be down with the kids has cost her and two other MP’s their jobs. Because they will know struggle to get to double figures, she’s also cost 4 or 5 list candidates seats in parliament as well.

And still she won’t apologise. That’s weird, because she’s going to be doing a lot of apologising in private in the coming weeks. Mainly to the wider family of her child, who she has effectively cast as uncaring and distant.

One last question I haven’t heard asked in the media. Was James Shaw aware of the content of her speech? If he did and was supportive of it, he should also go, because the polling is not their only problem. They’ve effectively given Winston Peters the right to demand they be left out of cabinet if Labour form the next Government.

That’s the real damage me me Metiria has done.