Time to speak up for Metiria Turei! (Part Rua)

By   /   August 6, 2017  /   19 Comments

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It astounds me that several reactionary media “personalities” have demanded Green Party co-leader, Metiria Turei, to resign from Parliament because she was forced to lie to social welfare so her benefit would not be cut.

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from: Frank Macskasy <fmacskasy@gmail.com>
to: The Wellingtonian <editor@thewellingtonian.co.nz>
date: 5 August 2017
subject: Letters to the editor

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The Editor
The Wellingtonian

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It astounds me that several reactionary media “personalities” have demanded Green Party co-leader, Metiria Turei, to resign from Parliament because she was forced to lie to social welfare so her benefit would not be cut.

In 2009 then Deputy Prime Minister, Bill English was caught claiming a ministerial housing allowance for a Wellington property he already owned through a family trust. After public anger mounted, he was eventually forced to repay $32,000 to the taxpayer. (“Bill English buckles over housing allowance”, Dominion Post)

This despite his ministerial salary of $276,200 per year – plus perks, gold-plated super scheme, and free/subsidised air travel after he retires from Parliament. (“Key backs $900-a-week subsidy for English home”, NZ Herald)

Meanwhile, Metiria Turei, a 23 year old solo-mum, struggled to make ends meet and put food on the table. All this during Ruth Richardson’s infamous benefit cuts. Thousands of families were forced deeper into poverty, and the effects are still with us today with rising homelessness.

Despite this, the Establishment Media led by Duncan Garner, Mike Hosking, and Patrick Gower mount a nasty vendetta against her?

Their actions illustrate precisely why Ms Turei voluntarily disclosed misleading social welfare in the mid-1990s; the stench of double standards is stomach turning.

-Frank Macskasy

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from: Frank Macskasy <fmacskasy@gmail.com>
to: Sunday Star Times <letters@star-times.co.nz>
date: 5 August 2017
subject: Letters to the editor

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The Editor
Sunday Star Times

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Several media “personalities” are demanding that Green Party co-leader Metiria Turei resign from Parliament because she happened to register and vote in an electorate she did not usually live in?

How many thousands of New Zealanders live overseas and still vote in the last electorate they were registered in, prior to emigrating?

In 2005, then Opposition-leader, John Key, was guilty of the same “crime” Ms Turei is now accused of, as the media reported;

“National Party rising star John Key won’t be able to vote in the Helensville electorate he represents in the election this year… The former banker, who owns six New Zealand homes, said he made the change to clear up potential misunderstanding. Mr Key and his wife, Bronagh, are listed in electoral rolls for 2002, 2003, and 2004 as “residing” at a Waimauku address in the Helensville electorate, but have never lived there.” ( “National MP’s home away from home”, NZ Herald)

The matter of “multiple residences” did not stop Key from becoming Prime Minister three years later, and later knighted.

But if a poor, young, brown woman does the same thing, the Establishment Media goes crazy?

The Electoral Act 1993 is clear:

“A person resides at the place where that person chooses to make his or her home by reason of family or personal relations, or for other domestic or personal reasons.”

It is time for the media hysteria to stop and focus on the real critical problems confronting us as a nation. Enough fake news!

-Frank Macskasy

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from: Frank Macskasy <fmacskasy@gmail.com>
to: NZ Herald <letters@herald.co.nz>
date: 5 August 2017
subject: Letters to the editor

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The editor
NZ Herald

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Metiria Turei’s honest disclosure of her interaction with WINZ in the 1990s may have caused an unintended consequence.

In being upfront and honest about her indiscretions with WINZ, she has sparked a storm of hysteria from reactionary “media personalities”, right wing politicians, conservative commentators, and those who gleefully sit in judgement of others.

As a consequence, she has become a warning to other politicians that truthfulness, openness, and candor will not be rewarded.

Every other politicians will look at the witch hunt pursuing Ms Turei and double-down on keeping secret their secrets.

Politicians will become even more risk-averse to telling the truth.

The next time a politician is challenged to be more open, the fate of Ms Turei will cross their mind and serve as a grim warning; honesty is not well rewarded in politics. It is brutally punished.

So. Which politician would like to raise his/her hand to reveal some skeleton from their closet? Someone? Anyone?

-Frank Macskasy

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from: Frank Macskasy <fmacskasy@gmail.com>
to: Dominion Post <letters@dompost.co.nz>
date: 4 August 2017
subject: Letter to the editor

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The Editor
Dominion Post

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National as been very quiet over Metiria Turei’s admissions of neglecting to tell WINZ that she had flatmates, so her DPB would not be cut. In the early 1990s, welfare had been savagely cut in Ruth Richardson’s notorious “Mother of all Budgets” to a level where starvation and homelessness loomed to rising numbers of unemployed.

By the end of 1991, nearly 200,000 Kiwis were out of work as free-market policies were thrust upon us.

Perhaps National does not want to draw attention to Deputy PM, Paula Bennett, who was also on welfare at the time? Questions have been raised over Ms Bennett’s activities at the time.

Some in media have been less reticent. Certain reactionary “media personalities” have attacked her mercilessly. No doubt these same (predominantly white, well-paid, middle-aged male) critics lived saintly lives when they were in their 20s? Of course they did.

She was 23 when she filed an incorrect address so she could vote for a friend in the McGillicudy Serious Party. The whole point of McGillicudy was to take the mickey out of politics.

When did some lose their tolerance for youthful silliness to such a degree that, decades later a pack would be baying for her blood?

-Frank Macskasy

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from: Frank Macskasy <fmacskasy@gmail.com>
to: North and South <north&south@bauermedia.co.nz>
date: 5 August 2017
subject: Letters to the editor

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The editor
North & South

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Recent disclosures by Green Party co-leader, Metiria Turei, that she was forced to lie to social welfare in the 1990s has provoked the usual outrage from the reactionary Establishment media. Media “personalities” Patrick Gower, Duncan Garner, and Mike Hosking – all affluent white men – are baying for her blood.

However, this is not about so-called welfare fraud. This is about one gutsy woman speaking out against a broken welfare system. Since Ruth Richardson’s disastrous benefit cuts in 1992, thousands of families became mired deeper in poverty; creating worsening homelessness; hungry and barefoot children going to school; and a rise of poverty-related disease.

It is in this environment of punishing the poor and those who lost their jobs during the ideological re-structuring of our economy, that has pushed many to lie or with-hold information to WINZ. It is a matter of sheer desperate survival.

Not that Messrs Garner, Hosking, and Gower would know anything of surviving poverty. Their homes are warm; their beds comfy; their bellies full. When Fairfax political journo, Tracy Watkins joined the media feeding-frenzy, accusing Ms Turei that she “failed the most basic political test – the hypocrisy one”, it was probably written after a nice meal, with a glass of ‘cheeky pinot’ (or was it a Brown Bros riesling?) on her work-desk at home. (“Mad, bad or bold? Metiria Turei’s big gamble”, Tracy Watkins, Fairfax)

No cold, damp homes or empty stomachs for these Media Establishment journos, thank you very much.

Meanwhile, Deputy PM, Paula Bennett, has been noticeably low-key on this issue.

Herself a former DPB beneficiary, Bennett made full use of social welfare to obtain a free University education through a Training Incentive Allowance (TIA), and a Housing NZ grant to buy her own home. (“Bennett knows about life on Struggle St”, Fran O’Sullivan, NZ Herald)

As Social Welfare Minister, one of her first acts in 2009 was to terminate the TIA. No other solo-mum or solo-dad would have the same chance she did.

There have been questions asked about Bennett’s activities whilst on the DPB. Those questions remain unanswered. Unlike Metiria Turei, the Ministry of Social Development appears to show no interest in our Deputy PM’s past.

While Bennett keeps her head down, her “attack dogs” in the Establishment media are ripping into her opponant, Ms Turei.

After all, how dare she speak out about the grim realities of living on welfare?

Such is Ms Turei’s real “crime”.

-Frank Macskasy

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[address and phone number supplied]

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References

Fairfax media:   Bill English buckles over housing allowance

NZ Herald:  National MP’s home away from home

Legislation:  Electoral Act 1993

NZ Herald: Key backs $900-a-week subsidy for English home  (alt ref: The Indian Weekender:  Know your leaders – Bill English and Paula Bennett)

Fairfax media:  Tracy Watkins – Mad, bad or bold? Metiria Turei’s big gamble

NZ Herald:  Fran O’Sullivan – Bennett knows about life on Struggle St

Additional

NZ Herald:  Political Roundup – The Consequences of Metiria Turei’s benefit confession

Previous related blogposts

Hon. Paula Bennett, Minister of Hypocrisy

Tips from Paula Bennett on how to be a Hypocrite

Some background info for Guyon Espiner

Time to speak up for Metiria Turei!

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“Of all the preposterous assumptions of humanity over humanity, nothing exceeds most of the criticisms made on the habits of the poor by the well-housed, well- warmed, and well-fed.”

– Herman Melville, 1819 – 1891

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#IstandwithMetiria

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= fs =

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19 Comments

  1. Addendum to my piece above – I appreciate the trust several people have had, writing to me to tell their stories. Also those who have asked me to help draft letters-to-the-editor which they can modify if the wish, and then submit to a newspaper or magazine of their choice.

    Anyone else wanting such assistance is welcome to contact me.

    As usual, all communications is kept in strict confidence.

    #IstandwithMetiria

    #TohellwithNational

  2. Kim dandy says:

    You and Meteria are the real heroes of NZ. Thanks.

  3. Otto Mann says:

    Frank, you have mail. I’ve written something but it’s clumsy and poorly worded. Anything you can do to polish it up will be appreciated.

    Keep up the good work.

  4. Im right says:

    Methinks you muchly over inflate your own belief that TDB has influence, it has approx 10-15 posters that chat amongst themselves and anything but ‘influential’ (usually posters consist of the childish and the sychophantic +100 or +1000% drivel) now if WO or Kiwiblog sent letters it would have way more weight as they are more widely read and known. Nice try though, will be already in the trash basket.

    • WTF?!

      What are you on about “Imright”?

      I don’t get what your point is. These letters are written and sent directly by individuals. TDB has nothing to do with it.

    • stand alone complex says:

      Wow. So… you are what vindictive and petty looks like. Congratulations.

  5. Sam Sam says:

    Protection racket.

    Protecting MSM right wing market share.

    One way to smash protection rackets is to take there money off them or ad revenue.

  6. WILD KATIPO says:

    #IstandwithMetiria

    #TohellwithNational

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    TO HELL WITH NATIONAL.

    Its gone on long enough. Them and their shit Dirty Politics and their shitting over other New Zealanders . Them and their bald faced lies, their shitty paid and bought attack media . Them and their shitty sycophantic officials covering up their scandals. Them and their subverting off our laws and our law officials.

    TO HELL WITH NATIONAL.

    I look forward to the coming change of government. But it doesn’t stop there. There’s unfinished business. There’s a backlog of corruption to be cleared up. We can start with Pike River and the Kim Dotcom affair then work back backwards. There’s enough corruption to have several investigations and court appearances going on simultaneously for several years. And several knighthoods to be recalled.

    TO HELL WITH NATIONAL.

    Their time is done.

    • mary_a says:

      And don’t forget WK, justice for little Fatima must be served. Natz also has a lot to answer for in the botched raids by Kiwi SAS in Afghanastan too, amongst everything else!

      Justice for Fatima.

  7. mary_a says:

    Excellent Frank. Many thanks. Be interesting to see what the responses are to your correspondence.

    #IstandwithMetiria
    #TohellwithNational
    #WatchingyouPaula

  8. OUCH says:

    Frank, you’ve moved from claiming that Turei lied to avoid starvation, to that she lied to avoid having her benefits cut, quite a difference.

    You’ve also changed from describing her in near saintly terms, to saying she’s no worse than Paula Bennett, Bill English or John Key, quite a comedown.

    Can’t you see that her position is untenable and her cause needs a more credible representative?

    She probably has a future in politics, but she needs to retire to the backbenches until any issues with WINZ have been resolved.

    • None of what you say is remotely true, Mr Ouch. Your ‘spin’ is not my position. (But feel free to own it for yourself.)

      Your real position is that you’re picking away to support your beneficiary-bashing. You appear to show no comprehension of what poverty is doing to this country and the dire consequences for families onb benefits and low wages. You’ve said nothing about that.

      So not only is her position totally tenable, she has done a remarkably good service to this country. The truth is, you’re asking the wrong questions.

    • Samwise says:

      So, Ouch to translate from your drivel, you don’t give a brass razoo for welfare beneficiaries, wish theyd’ go away, and Metiria is a bit of an embarrassment for your neoliberal dogma? Have I missed anything?

      She’s a hero, mate and you just can’t abide that can you?

  9. Steve King says:

    Good work, Frank. I shared my own perspective here https://www.odt.co.nz/opinion/not-prepared-criticise-privileged-position

    • Steve, that was beautifully written. If that doesn’t make people think twice before passing moral judgement, then I fear for their human capacity for empathy.

      Thank you for linking to it. (I’ll be saving it for future reference.)

  10. mosa says:

    Frank thank you for your work on this campaign to highlight the double standards at work here.

    I am gutted that Metria won’t be able to serve as a minister at cabinet in the next progressive government.

    She MUST NOT BE PRESSURED TO RESIGN she has contributed and has sacrificed her reputation in order to highlight the misery of the poor and destitute.

    Metria will still be able to have vital influence on Green policy and direction in a possible future government just not at cabinet level.

    And Frank thank you to offer to support anyone who is willing to have their voice heard and need to articulate that in a public forum.

    I emailed Metria two weeks ago to lend my support in her campaign and commend her honesty and courage in going public about her life on a benefit.

    My party vote will be proudly Green at this election.

  11. HC says:

    Maybe add to the media personalities also such commentators often seen and heard on tv or radio, such as Mike Williams, former Labour Party president and Stephen Mills, Nine to Noon commentator alongside Matthew Hooton, who have also been critical of Metiria and suggested she should also stand down as co-leader.

    Welcome to New Zealand Aotearoa 2017, the result of decades of neoliberal influencing, and divide and rule.

    A former Tony Blair supporter Jacinda Ardern gets the red carpet treatment, while others get thrown under the bus. The greatest hypocrite though seems to be one Paula Bennett, former beneficiary, who has conveniently forgotten her past.

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