Some background info for Guyon Espiner




On Radio NZ’s ‘Morning Report‘ on 26 July, Co-Host Guyon Espiner interviewed Green Party co-leader, Metiria Turei on why she didn’t find a job to support herself at University and pay for the care of her baby. He was critical in her activities in the McGillicudy Serious Party and the Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party instead of seeking some sort of part-time employment.

The reason why any job seeking by Ms Turei during the early/mid 1990s would have been futile is common knowledge to those who remember the ‘Mother of All Budgets’ by then Finance Minister, Ruth Richardson;


Prime Minister Jim Bolger and Finance Minister Ruth Richardson make their way to the House of Representatives for the presentation of the 1991 budget. Richardson was from the radical wing of the National Party, which promoted individual liberty and small government. This was reflected in the budget, which severely cut government spending, including on welfare. Richardson proudly proclaimed her plan as the ‘mother of all budgets’, but such was its unpopularity among voters that it – along with high levels of unemployment – nearly cost National the next election.


Unemployment at that time reached levels not seen since the Great Depression of the 1920s/30s;

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Unemployment Rate



Unemployed Number of People



Nearly 200,000 people were out of work at the time.

There simply was no  work for thousands of New Zealanders who had lost their jobs.

In April this year, a well known journalist wrote this analysis of Jim Bolger and the extreme neo-liberal “reforms” of the early 1990s;

Bolger says neoliberal economic policies have absolutely failed. It’s not uncommon to hear that now; even the IMF says so. But to hear it from a former National prime minister who pursued privatisation, labour market deregulation, welfare cuts and tax reductions – well, that’s pretty interesting.

“They have failed to produce economic growth and what growth there has been has gone to the few at the top,” Bolger says, not of his own policies specifically but of neoliberalism the world over. He laments the levels of inequality and concludes “that model needs to change”.

But hang on. Didn’t he, along with finance minister Ruth Richardson, embark on that model, or at least enthusiastically pick up from where Roger Douglas and the fourth Labour government left off?

Bolger doesn’t have a problem calling those policies neoliberal although he prefers to call them “pragmatic” decisions to respond to the circumstances. It sets us up for the ride we go on with Bolger through the 1990s, a time of radical social and economic change.

Judge for yourself whether or not they were the right policies but do it armed with the context. Bolger describes his 17-hour honeymoon after becoming PM in 1990. He recalls ashen faced officials telling him before he was even sworn in that the BNZ was going bust and if that happened nearly “half of New Zealand’s companies would have collapsed”.

The fiscal crisis sparked the Mother of All Budgets and deep cuts to the welfare state. Some believe this was the start of the entrenched poverty we agonise about to this day.

That author was Guyon Espiner, co-host of Radio NZ’s ‘Morning Report’.

Either Espiner has forgotten the lessons of history, grimly recounted to him by former Prime Minister Jim Bolger – or he wilfully chose to ignore the dire circumstances that Metiria Turei, and thousands of other New Zealanders, found themselves in at the time.

Neither is an edifying prospect for a supposedly professional journalist with a wealth of knowledge to tap into. He should have known that he was demanding the near-impossible from Ms Turei.

The interview was one of a series throughout mainstream media where the scent of blood has been picked up by the journalist-pack, and they are in full flight of their quarry.

The circumstances of why she was forced to lie to WINZ is almost incidental.

The fact that she did lie to WINZ is of secondary importance to the Right; the mainstream media; and to the Establishment.

The real reason she is being pursued and vilified is because she dared to speak out. While the Establishment will tolerate benefit fraud – and occassionally make sport of anyone discovered doing it – they will not tolerate anyone from the lower classes stepping forward to tell their story.

Ms Turei’s grievous crime is not the money she took. It is her subversion.

That is the real threat to the Establishment.







Radio NZ:  Greens say household income report is damning

Te Ara – The Encyclopaedia of New Zealand:  The ‘mother of all budgets’

Trading Economics: Unemployment Rate

Trading Economics: Unemployed Number of People

The Spinoff:  Neoliberalism has ‘failed’ and the ‘model needs to change’






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  1. No doubt old Guyon was all fired up when he graduated from journalism school, he would set the world alight with his speaking truth to power, but you know, you grow up, get pragmatic, the mortgage won’t pay for itself, particularly in the leafy suburbs where any right thinking person would choose to live
    He’s a careerist now, and he knows which side his bread is buttered,its more or less obligatory to join with the spittle flecked hounds in running Metiria to ground.
    He’s not going to run against the pack, or goodbye all those great perks of privileged life.
    Hell, they might even turn on him!

    • A wasted sick profession

      Journalists drill into everybody – but never into themselves.

      They are the least trusted of any work group in any nation in the world.

      That’s why they come across as pompous nobodies writing and spitting out drivel day in day out. You only have to look at Radio NZ.

      Or the cynical NZ Herald.

      Collectively they spin an Irish world of elfs and fairies and little green creatures. Like children. They lack principle, justice or integrity.

      Which is why they find their natural home on the doorstep of the wealthy. The sick spineless creatures. And that’s just the women.

      The men don’t even know what a spine is. They are Armstrongs. Garbage.

  2. Yes, this faux outcry from the Right is excessive and utterly over-emphasized. There is far more happening than a reprimand. Fostering hatred of the poor, bene bashing, turning low wage workers against beneficiaries….. textbook Natz.

    • Hi Garibaldi

      It will be interesting if the Lying Cheating prime minister of NZ instructs his female colleagues to savage Metiria Turei mercilessly. He has already mercilessly written off Kiwi children and Youth as hopeless. From his own twisted mouth.

      Look how the Prime Minister cheated on his own Housing. Look how he denied knowing about silly little stooge Todd Barclay’ sick behaviour. English is a deceiver – through and through.

      But if his female colleagues Martyr their victim (who suffered under the penalisations of the wealthy Bulger and Richardson), the uproar of the population would drown out Billy and Paula for decades, if not centuries.

      The children of single 7/8 impoverished and starved and violated mothers would storm the whole of New Zealand from Reinga to the Bluff. The scratches in the National female caucus would turn completely and irreparably sceptic. National would never recover. Nor would we want it to.

      John Key and Bill English have turned the clock back to a pommy Dickens time set
      They have given us the highest crime rate outside the USA. The Highest suicide rate in the Western World. The most expensive Housing in the OECD. The Highest Rents. Pathetic wages. The greatest Homelessness. Struggling Health systems and delivery. The highest Drug use in our history.

      National despises New Zealanders. The Bastards.

  3. I don’t agree that Guyon should be lumped with all those other reprobates (Garner, Soper, et al). His job is to ask questions, particularly from the ‘other side’ of the debate, which is what he did in that interview with Met. He wasn’t making any kind of judgement or comment, and was pretty magnanimous in acknowledging that his questions would be tough and thanking her in coming in to face them.

    Contrast this with his interview with Key a few years back, you know the one: “…You’re not going to get away with that Prime Minister…” etc.

    • The SJW community would tear itself apart without a common enemy. Metiria may as well pay any arrears in full at the earliest.

    • Roy, we get that Espiner has a job to do. Does that include asking questions, multiple times, that are nigh on impossible to answer? How is that fair and how does that shed light on the issues?

    • I take your point, Roy. (Especially about not lumping Espiner in with the likes of Mike Hosking.)

      However, Guyon did press the point that Mettiria – a 23 year old at the time should have;

      (a) gotten a part time job at a time when 200,000+ workers were unemployed, post “Mother of all Budgets” and the recession that followed

      (b) not engaged in any ‘fun activities’

      (c) navigated the labyrinthine policies of WINZ more effectively, including wanting to know why she hadn’t availed herself to an amnesty at the time (which I can’t recall happening either)

      Your point that Espiner took on Key with the admonition “…You’re not going to get away with that Prime Minister…” (which I remember!) is fair. Espiner was speaking-truth-to-power. And you can’t get more powerful than a charismatic multi-millionaire leader of a country.

      But at the time Metiria was a young woman, jobless; coping with benefit cuts; unemployment that was around 11%; businesses going under (including my own in late 1992); and with a child to look after. That’s nearly as powerless as one can get. Next stop: homelessness.

      My question is; would Espiner have been so hard on another 23 year old solo-mother being interviewed on the same issue who is not a current member of Parliament?

      • I mean nah. Guyon would never interview, let alone ask anything of any 23 year old in any capacity, ATM. Why would Guyon ask multiple 23 year olds during election cycles when he could make a few clicks more in ad revenue by click baiting sweet nothings.

        It is impossible for mainstream media to ask anything, of any one, because the general public will go off script. So it has to be carefully choreographed against the weighted opinions of lobyest for hire. So Hotton and the other right wing conspiracy hacks can comment, and for there purposes only.

        Just as a quick example. Cannabis reform and Climate science has huge support over 60% support. But we’ll still have no less than 50% right wing nut jobs drive by lobbying.

  4. This is well written and I absolutely agree with this blog. We need to change the government and if Labour wants to be taken seriously they need to unite with eh Greens on this, not try to vilify Metiria or pretend to play the moral higher ground. They are also guilty of beneficiary bashing in the 2000’s.

  5. Frank Macskasy: “The fact that she did lie to WINZ is of secondary importance to the Right; the mainstream media; and to the Establishment.”

    Indeed, Frank. And smoothly glides over the fact that the Establishment has lied to us about the deleterious consequences of neoliberalism, which were already becoming obvious by the time Bolger became PM. Shysters, the lot of them!

    • Indeed, D’Esterre. I believe that the effectiveness of a person’s attack on the neo-liberal system can be directly measured by the verbal assault attacking that person.

      Metiria’s assault on the neo-liberal system has hit an exposed nerve – and the screams of rage show how effective she’s been.

      This election I will be doing my bit; helping with Green Party billboards and taking people to voting stations on Election Day.

    • Yes, this post is raising matters that the media and wider public either has forgotten, or has never heard of, that we had very high unemployment in the early 1990s, when benefits were slashed.

      And WINZ was not even known then, it was the old DSW that was in charge of helping people get by on benefits.

      Yet the stupid, or misleading journalists talk about ‘WINZ’ having paid Metiria benefits.

      It shows us that all these modern day media journos do not deserve their jobs, because they do not do their jobs well.

  6. Paula and her historic involvement with WINZ regarding her claims and payments would have been a more interesting story for our nation.

    Will that ever surface again? Maybe she lawyered up and scared the whistleblower off.

    • Yes Grouch, my thoughts exactly.

      “The real reason she is being pursued and vilified is because she dared to speak out.

      I haven’t heard boo from Paula, does she dare not speak out?

    • My thoughts exactly,a National member of parliament has been accused of more than a little dishonestly and where is the community watch dog,the media,chasing a left of centre politician.
      Big double standard, the media is nothing more than a National party mouth piece and lacks any form of professional integrity.

  7. The agenda of the international capitalist empire is to strip the commons of resources and convert them into waste for short term profit and to exploit the populace.

    National Radio is just one of many thousands of organisations in NZ (including city and district councils) which are dedicated to serving the international capitalist empire by misreporting, failing to report, highlighting the trivial and ignoring the crucial, and by generally promoting fascistic business-as-usual which leads to greater and greater wealth disparity and a continuous lowering of the quality of life as time goes by.

    Why anyone would be disappointed by performance of National Radio or any of its staff still staggers me, since it is abundantly clear whose agenda NR promotes.

  8. I heard Espiner’s interview with Metairie turei and was appalled at his line of questioning. Did he really think it was fair to expect a young woman to know the intricacies of the whole welfare department? This wasn’t about holding truth to power it was a snide attack and totally ignored the issues as to why people are forced to fort the system.

    Meanwhile Apple, Google, and Facebook pay neglible tax despite earning billions in revenue.this is the crappy set of values we have now in our media

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