MUST READ: The Right Thing To Do: Metiria Turei Stands Aside.

By   /   August 4, 2017  /   41 Comments

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Responding to Kelvin Davis’s less-than-friendly comments on the AM Show this morning (4/8/17) she could have pointed out that the first Labour Cabinet contained a whole swag of radical activists whose youthful union activities in the Red Feds regularly involved breaches of the law. She could have pointed out that Labour’s second prime minister, Peter Fraser, had been jailed for sedition during the First World War.

CRUEL NECESSITY drove Metiria Turei’s decision to rule herself out of any ministerial role in a Jacinda Ardern-led government. Dramatic changes in the Left’s fortunes, initiated by Andrew Little’s resignation on Tuesday morning, presented the Greens female co-leader with very few realistic alternatives. For those shocked and angered by this stunning reversal of Metiria’s fortunes, a brief examination of those limited political options, may make her self-sacrifice slightly easier to accept.

The most tempting option must surely have been to double-down on her radicalism by throwing the condemnation of her quarter-of-a-century-old transgressions against WINZ and the Electoral Act straight back in her critics faces. Metiria could have challenged the politicians and journalists clamouring for her resignation to acknowledge the clear implications of their denunciations. To accept that if they are prepared to allow relatively minor legal infringements, committed many years in the past, to debar a politician from wielding executive power 25 years later, then what they are really saying is that no radical activist can be a Cabinet Minister.

Responding to Kelvin Davis’s less-than-friendly comments on the AM Show this morning (4/8/17) she could have pointed out that the first Labour Cabinet contained a whole swag of radical activists whose youthful union activities in the Red Feds regularly involved breaches of the law. She could have pointed out that Labour’s second prime minister, Peter Fraser, had been jailed for sedition during the First World War. Would Kelvin Davis have told Peter Fraser (or Paddy Webb, or John A Lee) that they had made their own beds and now they would have to lie in them?

The problem with this argument is that the transgressions of Fraser, Webb and Lee were committed in full public view and, like all acts of civil disobedience, undertaken in the certain knowledge that they would be met with an equally public official response. John A Lee, similarly, had made an open book of his juvenile delinquency by penning the largely autobiographical novel “Children of the Poor”. Had Metiria done something similar, her list of options would now be longer.

Upping the radical ante would, almost certainly, be a counter-productive response for another reason. With Labour in what looked like terminal decline, it made perfect sense for the Greens to stake their claim to its apparently moribund relationship with the poor and marginalised. If nothing else, it would at least ensure that one political party remained to defend these New Zealanders’ interests. Sure, it meant taking votes off Labour, but with the erstwhile socialist standard-bearer in the grip of what appeared to be a suicidal lethargy, wasn’t that a good thing?

With Labour led by Andrew Little? – Maybe. Under Jacinda? – Not so much. Formerly despairing left-wing voters, inspired by Labour’s new leader, have been swarming back to her party in droves. Moreover, with the heady scent of victory in their nostrils, they have – virtually overnight – become highly sensitive to anything and everything which might impede the progress of Jacindamania. Rightly or wrongly, Metiria’s youthful indiscretions have come to be regarded as an impediment to Labour’s expected electoral recovery.

Ignoring the rising clamour against Metiria’s indiscretions, or, doubling-down on them, is no longer the way to pump-up the Green vote. On the contrary, either course of action will now be interpreted as evidence that the Greens are deliberately hindering Labour’s chances. Were that perception to become entrenched, then the most likely consequence would be a decline in Green Party support. The in-your-face radicalism that drove the Greens’ numbers up, would end up dragging them down.

Not for nothing did the British Labour Prime Minister, Harold Wilson, observe: “A week is a long time in politics.”

The over-riding imperative for Metiria has been to keep alive the long-deferred but much-needed conversation about the material circumstances of New Zealand’s beneficiaries, and their appalling treatment at the hands of this country’s social welfare bureaucracy.

That conversation was ignited by Metiria’s personal candour and courage, but now, her best option for turning talk into action: for making sure that the Greens’ radical policies for alleviating poverty and empowering the poor become a Labour-Green government priority; is to make sure that the conversation about poverty is not reduced to a conversation about her.

That is what she has done – and who on the Left would dare not applaud her for it?

 

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41 Comments

  1. CLEANGREEN says:

    Sadly there will be a lingering dampening down of the swing voter towards the Green Party by about 2 or 3% but I hope I’m wrong here.

    Metiria would have been a great SW Minister for sure.

    • Oh, the irony, Cleangreen…

      People whinge about our politicians being deceitful and untrustworthy.

      Well, we finally get one who is honest, warts’n’all… and the media abnd some public freak out.

      The Nats don’t have to put the boot into Metiria. That’s what the reactionary media are for. (Though John Campbell’s interview with her on Checkpoint, 4 August, was the most compassionate yet – whilst still asking questions. Campbell – one of this country’s treasures.)

      New Zealanders don’t want honest politicians. John Key is evidence of that.

      No, they prefer comfortable lies.

      I wonder where sheep think they’re being taken to, as they’re trucked to the abattoir?

      • Gosman says:

        How was she honest about the electoral fraud she committed? She didn’t volunteer that information. It was found out by the Journos.

        • So what?

          Maybe she forgot it. Maybe she thought it was too trivial to mention.

          Because it IS trivial.

          A 23 year old candidate for the McGillicudy Serious Party is not about to hold the Establishment in high regard are they, Gosman? The MSP took the piss. It’s what they were about. FFS, if that’s the most grievous “crime” young people committed, our prisons would be emptied in a flash.

          I don’t want to indulge in deflection (it’s not a style I particularly like when others use it), but I think $7 billion in tax evasion is somewhat worse than young people playing silly-buggers with the system. In short, there are much, much worse things that should focus our minds.

          (But that’s not your real point, is it, Gosman?)

          • Sam Sam says:

            I believe Metiria revealed to all that as forensic investigations into beneficiaries. Why jouro’s think they can do WINZ investigators work I have no idea. Maybe they looking for a public sector job. Just now journo’s are going through a period of restructuring. Isn’t that right goose-berry

          • CLEANGREEN says:

            Gosman,

            Pity the journo’s didn’t dig that vociferously amount all the corruption & vice that Key In’c carried out during the last nine years including “Panama Papers” eh?

        • Paul says:

          Have you persecuted tax evaders with the same virulence?
          http://thewireless.co.nz/articles/the-pencilsword-greed-vs-need

        • Marc says:

          How many electoral fraudsters in your party, Mr Gosman?

        • By the way, Gosman, are you aware how many tens of thousands of New Zealanders living overseas are still entitled to vote in their old electorates, even though they haven’t resided there for years?

          Tomorrow Martyn will be publishing a piece from me that might give you a moment to pause to think. Or not. Up to you.

      • CLEANGREEN says:

        100% Frank,

        She was the real face and character of “softness a human could be.

        In other words, a true warm hearted person like no other currently seen in our midst today.

        Labour must go back to the Helen Clark slogan and show it!!! as Metiria did and state again they will promote “a kinder, warmer inclusive, transparent government”- that she won the 1999 election with.

  2. XRAY says:

    Surgery has almost ceased to exist at Dunedin Hospital because it is so underfunded probably because the government is broke from tax cuts, we get wall to wall Metiria.

    Men wait 14 months, just for a prostate biopsy, do we hear about what the opposition are going to do? Fuck off, it’s more bloody Metiria news.

    National finally announce some sort of transport package and what does the news from the opposition produce, you guessed it, Metiria.

    I am over it, I am over the Green Party and their never ending own goals.

    This woman has become a black hole to anything opposing the government. National are cruising to victory because of Metiria. Joyce is laughing and I smell a giant rat. Turei is, after all a lawyer and a career politician and very much of the ilk of self preservation. Mea culpa, well sort of.

    But why the hell now? How convenient is this timing?

    Could it possibly be the Dirty Politics dept of a certain other party sent a little bird to whisper to someone that they had a dirt on a certain someone in another party? Did that person’s party’s strategist think, let’s turn this sows ear into a silk purse? Fucked if I know but someone please give Metiria one on one attention from now till election day or otherwise the bumbling Greens WILL ensure another 3 years of National.

    • Louis says:

      Good points Xray, hadn’t thought of those angles and the last thing anyone needs is 3 more years of National.

    • CLEANGREEN says:

      Yes XRAY
      At 73 I have still had no colorectal examination since 1993 when I had issues and a polyp removed in Canada.!!!

      Came home in 1998 and never had a check since.

      same for Prostrate examination my brother is in Australia and he gets regular examination of both “male Cancer risk” testing.

      In NZ the Government wants us to die simple as that.

    • Siobhan says:

      “I am over it, I am over the Green Party and their never ending own goals.
      This woman has become a black hole to anything opposing the government”

      .erm…isn’t the reason we are getting wall to wall Metiria, exactly so National and their press lackeys DON”T have to talk about the hospitals…if its not Metiria it will be something else…
      maybe even how nice Jacinda is…I think the press like
      that narrative more than, you know, investigative journalism into SHITTY REALITY.

  3. Does Chris Trotter endorse Dirty politics?

    We really are living in the era of Dirty politics…Metiria T is sure coming under sustained attack from the Right Wing media rip-off drones. I wonder when Seven Sharp hop head Mike Hoskings will come up with information relating to Metiria’s school days and how she cheated on the netball court.
    In the eyes of Hoskings, she represents all the things he can’t stand. She is a woman!
    She is Maori!
    She is a lawyer!
    She is even educated!
    She cares about the poor!
    She is not a fan of John Key and she doesn’t even pull young males pony tails.
    And no doubt in eyes of Hosking she is not rich!

    We used to be able to compare Hoskings with Henry as to who was the biggest idiot now only one idiot is left on TV…Hoskings. For how long will TV One fail to ease the pain for TV One viewers? When will they stop his crap opinions? I’ve stopped watching Seven Sharp.

    • Paul says:

      She threatened the neoliberal establishment.
      That was her crime.
      And Hosking is paid an undisclosed large amount of money to defend and promote that system of privilege.

    • Louis says:

      Yep ^^ this @ Peter Wheeler

    • Richard Christie says:

      We used to be able to compare Hoskings with Henry as to who was the biggest idiot now only one idiot is left on TV…Hoskings.

      We still have Gower.

      Arguably the worst of the trio.

  4. WILD KATIPO says:

    … ” The over-riding imperative for Metiria has been to keep alive the long-deferred but much-needed conversation about the material circumstances of New Zealand’s beneficiaries, and their appalling treatment at the hands of this country’s social welfare bureaucracy.

    That conversation was ignited by Metiria’s personal candour and courage, but now, her best option for turning talk into action: for making sure that the Greens’ radical policies for alleviating poverty and empowering the poor become a Labour-Green government priority; is to make sure that the conversation about poverty is not reduced to a conversation about her ” …

    Sad but possibly true.

    But I might be tempted to take unction on a few points about things done in private when we compare Bill English’s devious taking of around $32,000 in tax payer govt housing allowance WHILE he held a senior Ministers position in John Keys cabinet.

    English hardly did that for any noble social cause nor did he exactly shout it from the rooftops.

    And while both paid / are intending to pay back those monies, – the glaring difference was one was a senior cabinet member in an incumbent govt , – the other was a solo mother with a small child.

    Who has the greater income , the more powerful connections and the ability to use those connections to submerge their deeds ?

    And unlike Bill English , – who only received a small telling off from Prime Minister John Key at the time , did not have to resign his portfolios ,- let alone resign from the party and be expelled from parliament.

    Whereas Metiria Turei has had to endure the full assault of the media who conveniently have a collective amnesia and in many cases , – an obvious and extreme bias towards National , – so much so that she now finds the only recourse she has left to ensure social justice of any sort is to personally abstain from being any part of a Labour led govt and not hold a Ministerial position.

    It may be advantageous for Labour to adopt the position they have at this time,… but we all know the REAL REASON why National was until now so silent over the issue.

    And that reason is precisely and exactly the same reason why the current Prime Minister has aptly been since 2009 dubbed by both the media and the public as the Double Dipper from Dipton.

    Just for the record and lest we forget :

    ………………………………..

    Of course, English has had his own personal moral failures. Principally, the one that earned him the nickname “The Double Dipper from Dipton” that has stuck to him like glue. He won it in 2009 by having nominated his primary residence being in his Clutha-Southland electorate when his real family home had for many years been in Wellington. That way he could claim substantial taxpayer support to pay for his “out-of-town” Wellington accommodation. English backed down eventually, conceding it was “not a good look”, but it took a lot of political agitation for him to accept he was in the wrong.

    Consequently, we are all going to struggle to keep a straight face when he (and, no doubt, Paula Bennett) inevitably get on their high horses about the virtues of self-reliance and getting beneficiaries’ noses out of the taxpayers’ trough.

    ………………………………..

  5. Marc says:

    Yes, many a politician has in the past stood aside, for a while, but once the waves calmed down, they re-entered their earlier roles. Problem is, the MSM is making a fest of this persecution, and it is likely to stick in people’s minds longer than even that passport fraud by one David Garrett (former ACT MP).

    And re this:
    “Formerly despairing left-wing voters, inspired by Labour’s new leader, have been swarming back to her party in droves. Moreover, with the heady scent of victory in their nostrils, they have – virtually overnight – become highly sensitive to anything and everything which might impede the progress of Jacindamania.”

    Are the supporters actually true ‘left wing voters’, I wonder?

    It seems Jacinda has a following simply for the fact of being known, being relatively young, appealing to youth and females, not so much for the policies of Labour, as I note.

    And what will victory mean and lead to, if her government may not be able to deliver more than any other Labour led government under given circumstances, where the Nats neglected infrastructure and many services so badly, people are dying on waiting lists for operations now?

    I fear if Jacinda’s campaign will lead to Labour leading the new government, it may be a one term government, and if she cannot deliver, it will damage Labour even more, and that may have consequences for decades to come.

    • Louis says:

      Frankly I dont care about 3 years from now, I care about getting rid of the National government in 2 months time.

      • Marc says:

        My point is, to achieve something, a Labour led government with Jacinda and Kelvin at the helm must deliver something of substance and set the country on a path of determined change, for the better, including also taxes for the high earners and rich, or else we are wasting our time, as National will come back with a vengeance.

        It pays to think long term, not short term, as I understand many are of course very desperate right now, and want a change on 23 September.

        There are high stakes here to consider, very high stakes for the future of the whole of New Zealand.

        • Louis says:

          The stakes are that National has to go and we only have 7 weeks to achieve that outcome. No point in thinking long term at this juncture. We wont know anything unless we get a new government in 2 months time anyway, so its just supposition.

    • CLEANGREEN says:

      100% Louis,

      Now is not the time to be complacent folks.

    • Marc says:

      New Zealand is in a true mess, due to a casual, irresponsible government, that relied heavily on ‘growth’ only or mostly based on growing the population, immigration that is.

      We face massive costs now, immense expenditure is needed, and high investment, while Auckland is already on the brink, it cannot borrow more, the Council, as it would lead to losing its credit rating.

      There is no easy money and solution, and in the meantime the Nats have still left the immigration tap open to run, as without it, the economy will ‘stall’, they say.

      So we have no quality growth, no real growth per capita, we are hooked on immigration, and the next government will face a challenge that is incredibly difficult to manage, perhaps we should let Nats ram the train into a train wreck scenario, as then people will truly wake up and be ready for change.

      At present, the liberal minded centrists, the middle class think, oh yeah, we can continue as usual, we just get a few more trains, and more electric cars, and reduce plastic bags, and allow immigration to continue to ensure growth, so I can carry on with my waste and burn life style, never mind. We are falling for fads and appearances here, I reckon, forgetting substance and the real hard facts we have to deal with. Feel good stuff will never solve the major challenges like lack of resources, climate change and more.

  6. Jack says:

    Great Jacinda can make the public swoon but can she also frighten them when required. Also what does she do when that tired old chestnut the gender card is played.

  7. Louis says:

    Those were sure different times and circumstances back then and I thought the media were being a lot more unfriendly than Kevin’s put on the spot remarks. Is Paula safe from scrutiny? I also thought Jacinda Ardern-led government was a funny turn of phrase Ardern Labour led coalition government has a more inclusive ring to it and Metiria did say in a very good short interview with John Campbell that she spoke of a price having to be paid weeks ago. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UnBjWgP3Zow

  8. Louis says:

    One forced “circuit breaker” after another for the left but what of National and it’s partners?

  9. Zack Brando says:

    She was thrown under the bus by Labour. Call it what you want, that’s the truth.

  10. frank says:

    It may be grossly unfair (life can be and (dirty) politics even more so)…however it should not greatly impact the Greens recent poll lift….the opposition strategy remains the same but with greater chance of success due to an apparently popular Labour leadership change….the Greens target of the disengaged will continue and the soft centre have no reason not to gravitate to Labour…..game on.

  11. […] Chris Trotter has written about how leftwing politics used to welcome more law-breakers. He thinks that Turei was right to withdraw from Cabinet contention. But he also outlines the other point of view – that law-breaking shouldn’t rule politicians out from being in government: “Metiria could have challenged the politicians and journalists clamouring for her resignation to acknowledge the clear implications of their denunciations. To accept that if they are prepared to allow relatively minor legal infringements, committed many years in the past, to debar a politician from wielding executive power 25 years later, then what they are really saying is that no radical activist can be a Cabinet Minister” – see: The Right thing to do: Metiria Turei stands aside. […]