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That’s ten years ago and may or may not be out of date, but it raises an important point.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.

Turei promoted as ‘New Zealander of the Year’

It appears that there is a campaign to promote Metiria Turei as New Zealander of the Year.

This is unusual given that Turei has only come to prominence over the past month, and in that time she has precipitated chaos in the Green Party.

She has also made a dramatic recovery of the Labour Party’s chances in the election, so perhaps she deserves credit for that, our democracy was weak when Labour was weak.


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.

• 41 people have been nominated for the 2018 New Zealander of the Year title.
• There has been a surge in nominations for former Green Party co-leader Metiria Turei since her resignation.
• Other nominated New Zealanders for 2018 Kiwibank New Zealander of the Year include:
o Peter Burling – Team New Zealand helmsman
o Mark Dunajtschik – Wellington Children’s Hospital benefactor
o Nicky Hager – author
o Heather Henare – Skylight CEO and former CEO of Women’s Refuge New Zealand
o Mike King – mental health advocate
o Nigel Latta – psychologist and author
o Jono Pryor – television and radio personality

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.

Not sure why Turei gets a special mention there.

No mention of a surge for Andrew Little. While Turei precipitated his stepping down as Labour leader, his going quickly and gracefully made it possible for Jacinda Ardern to take over with gusto.

Turei still shows as co-leader

The Green Party, usuaally slick online, quickly removed Kennedy Graham and David Clendon off their list of ‘Our People’ after they withdrew from the Green Party list.

But Metiria Turei still shows as co-leader and top ranked MP:

GreensOurPeople20170811

Turei still shows as co-leader on her Twitter account:

MetiriaTwitter20170811

And the Greens on Facebook:

GreensFacebook20170811

Still in shock? Or just reluctant to move on from Turei’s leadership?

There have been several Shaw only posts on Facebook…

GreensFacebook20170811-2

…but the visible comments aren’t great.

The Greens have a lot to do to try to recover from this.

Shaw is trying to move them on: Shaw calls for calm, defends media

Mr Shaw said it had been “a tough week” for the Green Party caucus.

“Passions are running high. I think people need to breathe through their noses and steady the ship and just get on with the campaign.”

Some supporters have lashed out at media online, accusing reporters of hounding Mrs Turei out of Parliament.

But Mr Shaw said he had “absolutely no hard feelings” for the media.

“In my view, the media have just been doing their job. Some of the interviews have been really tough, but they should have been tough.

“People should just calm down and realise everyone’s just doing their job.”

Earlier in the week, MP Julie-Anne Genter criticised media coverage of the story as a “distraction”.

Greens are still distracted by matters that have to be dealt with.

The party’s executive is also weighing the future of MP Kennedy Graham.

Earlier this week Dr Graham and fellow MP David Clendon pulled their support for Mrs Turei.

Mr Clendon said some colleagues were still bitter.

“Certainly it’s painful at the moment. There is a lot of unease and some fairly raw feelings. We could equally be angry about some of what’s been thrown at us in the last few days.”

Dr Graham is applying to be put back on the party’s list, after he and Mr Clendon asked to be taken off earlier in the week.

Mr Shaw had initially shot down the idea, saying and said Dr Graham had lost his fellow MPs’ trust.

When they withdrew from the party list on Tuesday Shaw threatened to have them thrown out of the party.

But he said it was ultimately up to the party’s executive.

“The view of caucus would be that it would be tough for him to come back, but that is a decision for the executive,” Mr Shaw said.

He expected it would be several days before a decision.

RNZ understands there have already been objections to Dr Graham’s return from within the party’s wider membership.

The party split is still evident. It may take some time to tidy up the mess, but rancour is likely to remain.

Poll rumour worse for Greens

Steven Mills has just been talking about polls on RNZ (he’s from UMR).

He said their are rumours around that National’s tracking poll has Greens down to 4.8%.

He said that that is believable as the UMR poll with them down 7 to 8% was taken before Graham and Clendon resigned, and before Turei stepped down.

He thinks Greens should get back into Parliament, but they may be substantially smaller than they are now.

And following that James Shaw is being interviewed.

He says that it will be tough for either David Clendon or Kennedy Graham to return to the Green list now Turei has stepped down.

He said that Clendon has indicated he isn’t interested, but Graham is having discussions with the party.

Shaw says he feels he did the right thing in fully supporting Turei, and said she also had the full support of the Green caucus, but that is obviously inaccurate given that Clendon and Graham resigned in protest.

He is blaming the media for putting pressure on Turei and forcing her to step down.

Shaw says he will remain sole leader until the election and beyond, and unless something else intervenes the co-leadership won’t be addressed until the next party AGM next July. That would be extraordinary.

Green’s troubles aren’t over

Metiria Turei’s announcement that she will step down as co-leader of the Green Party yesterday may take some of the heat off their turmoil, but their problems are far from over.

They now have to try to cobble together a campaign for the election on 23 September – advance voting starts in a month, on 11 September.

James Shaw will be sole leader of the party for the rest of the campaign. He looked worn out over the last week trying to manage an escalating party crisis. He will have to try to step up and present a positive face. He has looked weak at times, he has to try to turn that around.

All the Green billboards may need attention. They feature both Shaw and Turei and the caption ‘Great Together’.

Their online presence also needs a makeover. This is now out of date:

image-img

That togetherness doesn’t look great now.

The normally slick Green machine seems to be in shock. Normally very active on social media, the seem to be MIA. Their website still shows Turei as co-leader and number one in their pecking order.

But the hardest part will be in wider media, trying to repair the damage and look a credible option for the rest of the campaign.  There is a real risk that the mainstream media will either keep highlighting their problems, or moving on to other parties.

Two polls reported yesterday had the Greens plummeting to 8%, barely half of recent highs. They were taken before Turei stepped down, and polls typically take a while to respond to what is happening in the news. They could bounce back a bit, but they could just as easily slip some more.

The Green image is very tarnished after Metiria’s mission gamble blew up on her and her party. Patching over the cracks – or chasms – in the party won’t be easy in the short timeframe left.

Shaw and the remaining Green MPs and candidates are also tainted, having backed Turei to the hilt on her no contrition stance, approving of Turei breaking the law in what are now dubious circumstances, and sending signals of approval that beneficiaries could justify breaking rules if they decided they were deserving of more taxpayer assistance.

Two MPs quit on principle over this and were attacked by party officials and on social media, and Shaw himself threatened to dump them from the party but later thought better of that.

Somehow the Green caucus and party has to save face with their staunch core of supporters, but also convince soft and floating voters that the party still has some principles and isn’t corrupted by double standards.

It’s hard to see them recovering much ground. They may hold where they are, below their 2014 election level of support. Or they could keep digging the hole that was started by Turei and then joined with jackhammers by the remaining green leader and caucus.

This has been a dramatic crash for the Greens, and it is mostly of their own doing through their self righteousness, their enbubbled vision, and their flawed championing of an entitlement syndrome.

This has been a Green disaster.

Turei resigns as co-leader

Metiria Turei has just announced she was resigning as Green co-leader, and may not continue in Parliament after the election.

She says the reason is too much pressure on her family, but there is also speculation she may have been influenced by a poll result due a 6 pm – she is likely to already know the result.

Greens may or may not appoint another co-leader in the short term.

This is a sad but inevitable step in a dramatically changing political landscape.

UPDATE:

A brief explanation on why Metiria Turei announced on that she is resigning as co-leader of

Interview: http://www.radionz.co.nz/national/programmes/checkpoint/audio/201854149/metiria-turei-resigns-as-green-party-co-leader

NZH:  Green Party co-leader Metiria Turei resigns

…the Herald understands that the latest UMR poll sees the Greens polling has halved in two weeks from 15 per cent to 8 per cent.

The same poll sees a surge in Labour support from 23 per cent to 36 per cent.

And in today’s Newshub/Reid Research poll Greens are down 4.7 to 8.3%. See Newshub/Reid Research poll

RNZ have done a very good job on this story, but the media are getting a bollocking at The Standard, blamed for Turei’s turmoil along with dirty politics.

Mission Metiria continued

Metiria Turei has been in interviewed on RNZ this morning, and was pressed on a number of questions about her past benefit and electoral frauds.

This interview will get some scrutiny.

One comment that stood out was when Turei was pushed on her own circumstances where she wasn’t exactly unsupported by family and in extreme poverty.

She said something like ‘I made a decision to have as much financial stability as possible’.

Green Party co-leader Metiria Turei has hit out at opponents outside the party, after the party reached a compromise with two dissenting MPs.

Kennedy Graham and David Clendon had threatened to resign unless she stepped down as co-leader, saying they objected to her stance on benefit fraud.

Mrs Turei has admitted lying to Work and Income as a solo mother in the 1990s and, while acknowledging what she did was wrong, she has refused to condemn others forced into the same position.

Dr Graham and Mr Clendon have withdrawn from the party’s caucus and, while they will stay as MPs for now, they will not seek re-election in September.

Metiria Turei joined Morning Report‘s Susie Ferguson in the Wellington studio:

VIDEO: Metiria Turei on Morning Report

It is legitimate to question how ‘forced to lie to feed her child’ Turei was, or whether it was more if a lifestyle choice at the expense of taxpayers.