Open Letter to Michelle Boag



Dear Michelle,
I am so disappointed with your public comments on the brave efforts of opposition MP’s this week, and the cheap shots you are taking at their sincerity. It may not be true in your circles that politicians can be genuine, sincere and there for the right reasons – our people – our survivors – but it is true of those who spoke out this week.

You are being wilfully blind. I say that because the encyclopaedia of work the Greens and some in Labour have done on sexual violence before Tuesday is quite immense.
You’ve forgotten the Everyone needs the right help campaign where many of us stood up as survivors to show it affects everyone. We fronted for a campaign where our photos and stories were shared around the world – that’s not easy, but we did it.
You’ve forgotten how hard and loud we fought for changes to our justice system that would deliver real justice instead of the unworkable system we have now that victimises everyone.
You’ve forgotten that many of our female MP’s openly came to Parliament with a background working with survivors of sexual & family violence.
Search for sexual & family violence terms in our press releases and you’ll get more than 834 results. Who has stood up to Nationals cuts to survivor services every single time over the last 7 years? We have.
And as for being someone special – unfortunately they know all too well how common our experiences are – which is exactly why these wonderful SURVIVORS – not victims thank you – how dare you tell us we are still victims – stood up to John Key to show every single survivor of sexual & family violence in NZ – and around the world – that they are not alone, that successful women are survivors too, that rape is not a joke, or an insult to be thrown around – but is a devastating event that all too many have to recover from.
That is an incredibly powerful thing to do – and wisely, most powerful women in this country have congratulated them, or at least kept a dignified silence out of respect for their experiences.

Except you.
Perhaps you are a survivor. I don’t say that to take a cheap pot-shot, but because it’s sadly very possible. Perhaps you have lived in a world where surviving sexual violence is a shameful thing. You certainly do live in that world where we ‘do not speak of it’ and internalise it forever, and consider women who do speak out ‘attention seekers’ who better produce a police report, or they are deemed liars.
Well, I’m sorry, but a lot of us don’t live in that world – won’t live in that world – won’t be ashamed – won’t be silenced – won’t be told we’re victims. Some of us realise that the only good thing that comes out of sexual and family violence is the ability to ensure those without a voice know they are not alone, that people do care about what happened to them, that they have access to help, and that they can survive and thrive.
With true sincerity, which can co-exist with politics,



(Rachael Goldsmith is a 2x Green Party candidate, office holder & Policy Committee member who co-authored their Women’s Policy. She is also a sexual & family violence survivor, and an advocate for survivors of violence.)


  1. Kia ora Rachael 🙂

    If every time a woman was assaulted or victimised,all women protested on her behalf, such behaviour by men would be far harder to justify and maintain.

    However, no female National party ministers have come out with anything supportive. This can only be because they believe support for their party and personal status matters more than support for other women, especially the most vulnerable. The legislative achievements of these privileged women are riddled with outcomes that disadvantage and revictimise other women.

    We have in this country a certain amount of anti-female discrimination, which I believe pales into insignificance when compared with socioeconomic discrimination irrespective of gender.

  2. Michelle Boag is a woman but she is also a national party hag, through and through. Even if she personally believes what transpired takes courage, she will never admit it publicly as she is BLUE through and through …

  3. Thank you for this, Rachel. You are very gracious towards a travesty of a woman, does she even deserve to have that title? I can never get past her painted on eyebrows and the thick make-up. You might be right that there is something in her background, so much facade. But her attitude to those who have spoken out is deplorable, sadly it seems the way of Nat women, to busy trying to keep in with the guys, that they forget their sisters.

  4. It should be remembered that Boag is about money and power. Nothing else. She has no mercy, no love, no understanding, no values, no humanity, no empathy and unforgivably she has no class. She has no real interest in anything except self interest.
    She is the antithesis of what a politician elected by the democratic process should be.
    As are bennett, tolly, collins, parata etc etc.
    $-six figure plus entitlements parasites latched on to the public purse.
    But we know this right? Just how to get rid of the bastards ? They stick in there year after year like shit to a blanket doing ever more harm while building their power cliques and empires.
    After all’s said and done I strongly believe they can get away with it because they’ve learned how to train the voting public to look the other way.
    That’s why voting must be made compulsory. Good people who’ve otherwise given up must have people like boag shoved in their faces , to force them to make decisions and get rid of the bastards.

    • Congratulations CB on your restraint!!! When you look at that specimen and everything that goes with it – the ugliness (and I don’t mean in the aesthetic sense – but that too if you like); the sense of entitlement; the “I’m considerably richer than you” disposition; the level of intellect; the ‘us and them’; the troughing and ticket clipping; the ‘I’m so gorgeous I can’t look in the mirror’ – you did bloody well!!!!.

  5. Voting should never be compulsory unless you have an option that says ‘I don’t trust any of you to make a difference for the poor and dispossessed and the environment and to take significant climate change actions etc’. Why should people have to vote for those tossers who actually mostly don’t give a shit on either side of the house. People don’t vote because they feel absolutely powerless – not because they can’t be bothered.

  6. Well said!

    I am now convinced that the numbers of ‘survivors’ of sexual violence is actually a lot higher than we ever suspected. It is a very nasty, long-suppressed dark shadow than has been lurking beneath the surface of our society, and there are powerful forces that are determined to keep it that way.

    Carter’s ‘performance’, and the similar ‘performances’ of Key, Boag, and the rest of the ‘loony right’, is evidence that they are dedicated members of the ‘cabal of silence’ that is determined to keep a lid on this, and to make sure that all those victims remain voiceless.

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