If National would like to attack Metiria over her courageous admission and call it ‘welfare fraud’, we can just ask Paula Bennett

By   /   July 17, 2017  /   50 Comments

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If you are bitching about welfare fraud in relation to Metiria’s courageous confession you don’t understand the words ‘welfare’ or ‘fraud’. Stealing to feed your family, clothe and house them isn’t theft – it’s a spectacular failure of draconian social policy.

If you are bitching about welfare fraud in relation to Metiria’s courageous confession you don’t understand the words ‘welfare’ or ‘fraud’. Stealing to feed your family, clothe and house them isn’t theft – it’s a spectacular failure of draconian social policy.

If National would like to attack Metiria over her courageous admission and call it ‘welfare fraud’, we can just ask Paula Bennett.

Because there are all sorts of interesting allegations that look far less noble than need when it comes to Paula isn’t there?

Fascinating that Paula won’t call for Metiria’s resignation, why do you think that is?

Oh and where’s Todd Barclay? If you want to rage against corruption, surely those attacking Metiria will be in even fuller throated denouncement of that fiasco.

The Greens policy for welfare changes everything, those beneficiaries who have been shat upon and treated like scum for being vulnerable have every reason on the planet to vote Green.

The policy is as honest and courageous as Metiria’s admissions and she’s even offered to pay it all back.

As a political force, the Greens are back.

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  1. Red Buzzard says:

    where is Jacinda Adern on this?

    • CLEANGREEN says:

      Exactly Red buzzard!

      She is so quiet now isn’t she!!!!!!

      Blood y strange.

      Best not get on their case she must be door knocking!

  2. Siobhan says:

    Bennett was suitably vague and ‘wordy’ on RNZ when asked about her own record of honesty with Work and Income.

    Though, again, it is beholden to Labour to make a stand.

    How about changing the PATENTLY UNFAIR laws that hold beneficiaries and their partners to far greater legal account the white collar fraudsters?.

    Unless this happens beneficiaries are being treated third class citizens no matter who sits on the Prime Minister’s chair.

    While we are at it…why is no one talking about Income/asset-based fines?.

    • bert says:

      Yes SIOBHAN. It is interesting how Labour are going after Corporate fraud yet National are going after benefit fraud( unpaid parental payments).

      So I believe Labour are making a stand. Recoup taxes from corporates to allow for increases to benefits, whilst National go after beneficiaries, whilst making them third class citizens.

      And I believe Bennett using “vague and wordy” about her honesty is as dishonest as one gets. Thus Bennett has no leg to stand on regards Metiria’s openess.

  3. Tiger Mountain says:

    the Green policy is the first “main” party ever, since 1991, to advocate reinstating the Richardson MOAB cuts–they should be supported!

    those benefit cuts were the start of demonising beneficiaries becoming official govt. policy, the end of the old Social Security, the beginning of the sadistic punishment maze that is WINZ/MSD

    Labour should swallow some rats, join in and play to win this election, disrupt the narrative and go for it, the torys can tsk tsk over Metiria’s brave admission, but thousands know that reality!

    • WILD KATIPO says:

      … ” the Green policy is the first “main” party ever, since 1991, to advocate reinstating the Richardson MOAB cuts–they should be supported!”…

      … ” Labour should swallow some rats, join in and play to win this election”…

      HEAR , HEAR !!! – and so should NZ First !!!

      They should all be piling on top of this despicable evil remnant Richardson neo liberal garbage!!!

  4. mary_a says:

    Can’t see Natz calling for Meteria to account for her admission somehow. Might open a can of worms regarding one of their own MPs, who has an allegation hanging over their head, in relation to activities during their own benefit days.

    Then also there is the Natz MP who attempted to rort the system in regard to claiming a housing allowance for his own property in Wellington! PM Key at the time said although it wasn’t ethical, it was legal. So the result of that piece of deception was yeah nah, leave as it is!

    And then there is deBarclay still causing some tremors for the Natz!

    Natz won’t want to rehash all that now, with an election coming up!

    Natz will take one of their senior MPs advice and “zip it.” Something which they are obviously doing, because it’s all very quiet on the blue front! Not a dickey bird from them! Oh dear, maybe they are hearing the skeletons beginning to rattle in their dark closet of secrets and lies!

    • WILD KATIPO says:

      The Nats are over a barrel with this and they know it.

      They are paying the inevitable price for 9 years of abusing large sectors of the New Zealand public and there’s no way now they can ever try and come across and present the dorky ‘guy next door one of us’ Key persona anymore.

      Go home , stay home , National. You are being rejected hard core now.

  5. simonm says:

    Absolutely! Here’s some questions Paula might like to answer before the Nats get too ‘holier than thou’.


  6. Sam Sam says:

    Even if Materia doesn’t pay back any outstanding liabilities it wouldn’t matter a great deal with the Greens proposed $150k tax bracket at around 40% taxable income. So she’ll be able to pay it back through taxes. With a portion of new tax generated feeding back into the welfare system generating more wage inflation that should push people past the Greens proposed $150k tax bracket.

    People don’t always make as much money as the teachers but it doesn’t matter much because under the proposed $150k tax bracket no one will be losing money except for a few loan sharks ect.

  7. Whispering Kate says:

    We should be attacking the Socal Welfare which is provided for beneficeries – the Government should be taken to court for not providing the necessities of life to its vulnerable citizens. The paltry amount that is paid to them is not nearly enough to cover the bare essentials of life and it is deliberately set to be punitive and will sapping- a warm home, adequate nourishment to survive and employment so people can afford can look after themselves – nobody no matter how smart and clever they are could survive on the pittance meted out to them.

    It’s a can of worms this government will not be opening – too many rorting members in the house – its great that Metiria has had the guts to admit it was a choice no mother or father should have to take – to feed their kids.

    • WILD KATIPO says:

      … ” the Government should be taken to court for not providing the necessities of life to its vulnerable citizens ” …

      Grrrrr… if only.

      And not only NOT providing those necessities – but DELIBERATELY not providing them !!!

      I don’t know about you people, but I can sense UTU coming in the winds for 33 years of evil neo liberalism designed for and by the elite in this country …

      • CLEANGREEN says:



  8. janine says:

    If you have ever spent any time on a benefit you will know it is impossible to live off it medium term. It is designed that way.

    Everybody on a benefit has to get extra money somehow whether it is gifts from wealthier friends and family, doing some cash work, neglecting to tell WINZ you got a tax return, or maybe how many flatmates you have.

    The only alternative is to sink into debt or to turn to (real) crime.
    These are the cruel choices we put onto our most vulnerable people and families.

    Metiria is an honest politician it seems.
    Apparently a bit it of a shock to many in our sick and jaded society.

  9. Sam Sam says:

    Just cared a little less about the profits of hoteliers.

  10. Off white says:

    Based on the above comments. So it’s ok when the Meteria,holier than though, constantly calling for others to resign, green MP fleeces the NZ tax payer but it’s terrible when anyone else transgresses.

    I admire this woman for what she’s achieved, perhaps not the way she’s gone about it. But this just shows we’re all fallible, human and corrupt in equal doses.

    Meteria, the truth shall set you free. I just wonder what’s taken so long.

    • You are factually incorrect, Metiria wasn’t a “Green MP” when she “fleeced” the taxpayer.

      Which, if you think a bit deeper, you’ll understand the point of that distinction.

      • Off white says:

        I take your point Frank and am happy to be corrected. I guess it depends how you read the sentence. Metiria, green MP. Semantics.

        • Nope, not semantics, Offwhite. That would be a trivial point to make.

          No, what I meant was that Metiria wasn’t on the salary of a MP at the time she “fleeced” the system. She would have been barely surviving on a welfare payment that is clawed back for every silly little thing. Had Metiria been on a MP’s salary – or even a quarter of it – she would have had sufficient to live on. She would not have needed to “fleece” anything. (Though that hasn’t stopped other highly paid individuals from rorting expense accounts, tax, etc.)

          But she didn’t.

          The reality is that welfare is insufficient to barely survive on, and only those who’ve had to experience it fully understand how desperate it can be. Desperation, Offwhite, is difficult to describe until you’ve been there. But we all know that desperation forces human beings to survive by whatever means available to them. Which forces beneficiaries to look at every way to cut back expenses, and maximise every opportunity to earn a little more.

          She has. You haven’t. That’s the difference.

          • Off white says:

            Frank I’ll break it down for you. Regarding my first comment, holier than thou and why has it taken so long to come clean?

            • Because, Offwhite, the welfare system forces people into modes of behaviour that may be questionable to privileged people like you, but is perfectly logical and necessary to those facing desperate circumstances. That desperation, and the measures needed to survive, forces people to behaviour they may not be proud of.

              You do not seem to understand this.

              • Off white says:

                And you don’t seem to understand. She could have come clean sooner. I understand everything you are saying. Hence why I expressed admiration.

                If leaving school at 16 and studying/working for 4 years, planning ahead and busting my arse for the past 17 years is privileged then I am guilty of being privileged.

                • I’m sure you did “bust your arse”. So have many others such as Metiria. Plus she had a child to provide for.

                  We “bust our arses” is many ways, and yours may have been as tough as hers and vice versa. One doesn’t take away from the other, Offwhite.

    • bert says:

      What should we do about this fraud then

      “Todd Barclay picking up 3000 dollars per week to go on holiday”

      Remember he is “not” on holiday. Is this any worse than what Metiria and Bennett has done, with Barclay in “hiding”?

  11. Nitrium Nitrium says:

    I think this “courageous” is a massive miscalculation. So much so, that I suspect Metiria is either completely clueless, or she knew that this information was coming out anyway. She has admitted to fraud, and there is nothing the electorate likes more than to punish abject corruption (particularly if they haven’t benefited from it from themselves, which they haven’t in this instance). While I personally don’t give a single fuck about it (it’s not like the rest of our “leaders” are any better), this won’t play well for the middle class that the Green’s are trying(?) to court.

    • Off white says:

      And therein lies the crux of the discussion. It’s not like the rest are any better.

    • Red Buzzard says:

      +100 NITRIUM…seems to be an odd disjunction somewhere

      • CLEANGREEN says:

        WILD KATIPO,



    • WILD KATIPO says:

      Wherever there is poverty around the globe, – whether it was the old Soviet Union , South America, North America , England , Asia,… people will do what they have to to survive… and even then , for most people within reason.

      It is an inbuilt innate human quality that kept our species alive. If it was the killing of a stock animal on someone else’s farm to feed their kids or having to not admit the full circumstance to ensure your children eat and are warm… people will do it.

      And THAT is less a reflection on those who are forced into that position and more a reflection on current conditions – more often than not – political decisions of an out of touch and elitist minded government such as the one we have endured for the last 9 years.

      MOREOVER , – it is a DIRECT symptom of this anti sovereign , anti citizen anti compassionate post 1984 neo liberalism we have had to endure under.

      The whole neo liberal edifice should be banished from our political vocabulary and replaced with the original social democracy based on Keynesian economics that we once enjoyed in the most prosperous era this country ever witnessed post World War 2.

    • Francesca says:

      Nah bullshit
      Metiria’s honesty is going to strike a chord with heaps of people disillusioned by politics , who don’t feel any politician has any understanding of their plight.
      The centrist vote is over competed for.Its the votes of the poor and disenfranchised that haven’t been sought. Metiria is honest and genuine,I would have done exactly the same thing for my kids
      The true scandal is that the solo parent benefit was set at 20% below the rate considered to be a living wage
      Go Metiria and a pox on all you mealy mouthed apologists

    • Francesca says:

      Metiria’s admission came with policies that most definitely aren’t courting the comfortable middle classes

    • bert says:

      I tend to disagree.
      If all the Dirty politics of the right, all the ponytail pulling, all the rich donor backing, all the foreign purchasing , the destruction of mental health services, all the “paid for” N.Z. citizenship, all the homelessness and low home ownership, had little impact on middle class kiwis, then I sure as hell don’t believe for one moment that this will have any impact on middle class voters.

  12. crissie says:

    I think she should now arrange to pay it back as it was deliberate at the time. Paula Bennett also needs to come clean and not use her play on words – ignorance is no excuse in the eyes of the law.

  13. crissie says:

    She needs to arrange to pay it back now as it was a deliberate act. Paula Bennett needs to stop her play on words – ignorance is no excuse under the law.

    • WILD KATIPO says:

      I’m sure something will be worked out.

      However this was a brilliant tactical move to create a massive backdrop to the absolute and unmitigated viciousness of this and preceding neo liberal governments – particularly sparked off under Ruth Richardson’s arrogant Mother of all Budgets that deliberately targeted the unemployed, and the working people . ( And was topped off and completed with the Employment Contracts Act )

      I remember the brilliant speech by Gareth Hughes, the eloquence , the blunt truths , the honesty. It is one of my favorites. Its only 5 minutes – yet it is pure gold.

      Gareth Hughes on the Prime Minister’s poor leadership, 11 Feb 2016 …
      Video for gareth hughes speech john key▶ 5:04

      I will be voting for Labour simply to help swell the numbers to hopefully create a working broad base… but I like many of the policy’s of both the Greens and NZ First . But most definitely … these are the sort of people we NEED in government.

      We need to stomp all over the head of the neo liberal beast and make sure we kill it.

  14. Mike the Lefty says:

    I seem to recall something a few years ago when Paula Bennett admitted in an interview that she hadn’t been 100% truthful with information when claiming a benefit as a solo mother, or something to that order.
    Perhaps that is why she has been silent on this, she doesn’t want to invite any scrutiny on her.

  15. rugged says:

    Not declaring your true living situation to receive more money is fraud. I guess the argument is if the government is not providing enough support is that fraud justified?

    • WILD KATIPO says:

      Well , you could frame this whole thing another way …

      If a person did not supply adequate food , water , shelter and warmth for a dog , leading to ill health and death … that person could conceivably be done for animal cruelty and thus prosecuted for it.

      Yet somehow a government deems it perfectly acceptable to deny human beings the adequate funding to have the necessary basics such as – food , shelter , clothing , medical assistance , warmth…

      And then try and make an issue out of it when that individual takes measures to sustain life , and even more so – that of children.

      There is no defending this at all.

      In fact , it is now a situation whereby that same government should be questioned as to why not ?

      A classic situation of ” Please Explain” …

    • J says:

      Rugged: Two words – Todd Barclay.

      The govt is providing him with heaps of support, but he’s not looking after a child, etc. to deserve it; $3000 a week, according to Bert, earlier. So that’s fraud isn’t it, according to your suggested framing of the discussion?

      • mary_a says:

        @ J … Fraud it definitely is. Much greater than any beneficiary could ever attempt!

        English & Co … that’s Bennett & Joyce as well, being senior government MPs, need to be investigated as well, along with Barclay for allowing this situation to arise and to continue as it is!

        All as crooked as they come. I include Key here as well because this issue occurred on his watch!

    • Andrea says:

      The punishment for not declaring is usually excessive. It also ensures that the poor creature undergoing punishment will take years to pay off their hideous ‘crime’, if they ever can.

      There Is No Escape for most in this invidious situation. It’s savage and spiteful. ‘Good dogs’ given ‘bad names’.

      Meanwhile the lads from Bridgecorp and other rip-off financial advice ‘services’ get to keep assets, could be re-employed, have a complete bag of tricks to start over – and those unpleasant little people wrecked the lives of dozens to hundreds of people who had lived prudent lives, saved providently for a faintly comfortable old age and are now left skint.

      Show me the benefit fraudster who has harmed so many.

  16. CLEANGREEN says:





  17. Im right says:

    What everyone seems to be missing is that the DPB was initiated to help solo mothers, not solo mothers doing a law degree. Her sob story about having to deceive WINZ to pay rent or feed her baby misses out the salient fact that she was studying for a law degree. Now im sure there could have been extra money available on top of DBP for studying expenses, but its easier to just take the rent money from an extra 2 or 3 people weekly for a year, 2 years,3(?)years and not ask the father for assistance? and keep quiet…

    • WILD KATIPO says:

      … ” What everyone seems to be missing is that the DPB was initiated to help solo mothers, not solo mothers doing a law degree ” …


      I’m not exactly fluent with all of the nuances in Paula Bennets case , but I seem to recall she was on a DPB or similar and doing a degree. She received a recognized benefit designed to enable her to study. The public outrage was that she not only did her study’s but when DSW Minister cancelled that scheme and denied the same for countless other thousands.

      And consigned many others to work in fast food outlets and dead end jobs after the children went to school. Which is a colossal waste of human potential.

      Your viewpoint is simplistic. You know as well as all of us that when the DPB was first introduced , tertiary participation by women was far less, jobs more plentiful and far better paying.

      How bad it is if someone has had a bit of time to collect their thoughts, taken on child rearing then , are held back forever from reaching their potential by the bloodyminded ( and spiteful in Bennets case ) temporary policy’s of any one government.

      Both my parents were denied that opportunity when they were teenagers growing up on the tail end of the Great Depression / World War 2 ,- as were thousands of others who went straight out to work in factory’s to help support their family’s. That was because the mechanisms were not in place to do so unless you came from a wealthy family.

      Similar to how it has become today.

      And yet on observation , both of them shared a certain type of pragmatism and work ethic , good mathematical , written and oral language skills , broad general historical knowledge , political insight… and if were given the chance , – probably the both of them would have gone on to become professionals in their chosen fields. It constantly amazes me to this day just how sharp the both of them were /are.

      That didn’t happen because of the era they grew up in.

      What you are suggesting is a return to those days. Well,… you have your wish. They have arrived under Paula Bennett. You should not complain.

      You ASSUME that DSW would have a top up for tertiary study expenses. But you do not state any specifics or whether it would be anywhere near enough to cover expenses even if there was. And then you proceed to try and make your point as if it were fact.

      Obviously for her and thousands of other students who are on a study allowance , – and that have been demonstrated through media , govt dept’s and NGO reports time and again , – the abject poverty under this government to the point of inhibiting efficient study ,… demonstrates that current payments are not even nearly adequate enough.

      Thanks to the piratical avarice of privatization under neo liberalism.

      You seem to like the idea of relegating large numbers of the populace and their children to being cannon fodder for menial work and poverty. Why ? . Are you mentally ill and have some form of sociopathy ? Or self hatred issues ?

      I can only deduce that is the case yet you try to score your political points because A ) you have a vested interest in having a large pool of the poor to feather your own nest and B ) it serves those interests best to keep on supporting the corrupt political party that created those conditions.

      As a footnote before you leave , … do you realize that benefit fraud accounts for 30 million dollars worth per annum , – while tax evasion accounts for over one billion dollars per the same time period?

      I’ll bet you were not aware of that , were you? And even if you were , – you would never have mentioned it because it would have immediately undermined your narrative….

      Benefit fraud vs white collar crime « The Standard

      Courts tougher on benefit fraud than tax dodging – study | Newshub

      Benefit fraud v tax avoidance – why is one dealt with more harshly by …

  18. Im right says:

    The error in the Greens welfare policy,from voters point of view, is removing the need to prove to the govt. That you are actually seeking employment, or having meetings to see if your circumstances have changed…watch the Greens water this policy down over the next few weeks to show that once you sign on..its a benefit for life with no checks and balances. If this doesnt get changed then they will be looking at 7-9% only at election.

  19. WILD KATIPO says:



    You would think that now , wouldn’t you.

    NEXT !