GUEST BLOG: Vanessa Kururangi – No. I’m Not Green with Envy.

By   /   August 9, 2017  /   37 Comments

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I don’t believe for a second that she was thinking about becoming co-leader for a game changing political party. I can’t be convinced that she used a story about her situation back then as political leverage (she’s a smart cookie who knew the risk of this disclosure). I most certainly don’t feel she is unfit as a leader, or is an untrustworthy fraudster, nor do I feel ripped off – not by her at least. I feel NOTHING about this. Not a thing. I give no fucks that 20 something years ago, a person living as a pōhara, single parent, student, managed to get a few extra groceries by not declaring flatmates. It doesn’t even register on my richter scale of what is moral vs immoral.

When I think back to where I was almost 24 years ago, no one – especially myself could have predicted the kind of woman I have become. I never conceived that I would be blessed with an outstandingly loving son, that I would be a director and co owner of a business, that I would find the courage to speak up publicly on issues which need to be challenged. 20+ years ago I only had the glimmer of a dream of where I would be now – and my life is nothing like how I thought it would be. I never thought my simple life would allow me to cross paths with, meet, and sometimes even become friends with the amazing people who are now in my life. I have made too many mistakes to recollect every single one – yet the lessons learned helped shape me, my compassion, my empathy, and my determination to make things better.

So Metiria did what she felt she had to do to get by. So she carried that on her shoulders for all these years – never forgetting about it, but certainly using the memory of that situation to push herself into a better place. So she misled a government agency over 20 years ago. I’m satisfied that 24yrs or however long ago, all she wanted to do was study, graduate, and take care of her baby – and yes, she withheld information about flatmates to do it. Whoopty shit.

From experience I know absolutely that when you live as a poor student, you’re focussed on the day to day, and week to week issues… the next assessment, the next application for some student scholarship or fund that you’ve heard you might meet the criteria for, sometimes a resubmit, and of course, your whānau and how your studying affects them in that moment. That’s student life.

I don’t believe for a second that she was thinking about becoming co-leader for a game changing political party. I can’t be convinced that she used a story about her situation back then as political leverage (she’s a smart cookie who knew the risk of this disclosure). I most certainly don’t feel she is unfit as a leader, or is an untrustworthy fraudster, nor do I feel ripped off – not by her at least. I feel NOTHING about this. Not a thing. I give no fucks that 20 something years ago, a person living as a pōhara, single parent, student, managed to get a few extra groceries by not declaring flatmates. It doesn’t even register on my richter scale of what is moral vs immoral.

I am NOT (hastag) Metiria. Nor do I wish to be. I don’t wish to be the 20-something year old Metiria back then struggling to make ends meet. I don’t wish to be Metiria today being vilified and dragged over hot coals now. I can’t even agree that 20 whatever years ago she “made a mistake”. No. She didn’t. It’s NEVER a mistake to do what you have to do to keep a roof over your head, put kai in your bubbas belly, and keep your head above water while you work on leveraging yourself into better opportunities. That’s ballsy. That’s determination. That’s strength. That’s badass-taking-care-of-shit. It’s a lot of things, but it’s not a mistake.

I could start on Jacinda, and talk about how utterly stupid she was for playing the self-righteous-goody-two-shoes-daughter-of-a-law-enforcer-can’t-condone-Metirias-survival-techniques Ardern, but I won’t. Her “relentlessly positive” mantra has truly become “positively relentless” (not my words but whomever said it first pipped me at the post). Less than a week in and she’s already made some silly calls – not backing a decent, hardworking, wahine toa such as Metiria is one of them. When women don’t back woman in spaces such as this, the Jacinda effect becomes over exposed and yawn inducing very, very, quickly. Remember ‘Yoncé, Jacinda – “to the left, to the left”. The catchphrase “Let’s do this” has (again less than a week in) become the voice of Jacinda saying “let ME do this” as opposed to the intended collective “let US do this”. Anyway, enough about Jacinda. It’s only my opinion so I expect the usual pushback when I offer up my thoughts – fracturing the left and all that. I’m just saying, don’t underestimate what might happen if students, women, Māori, and beneficiaries all decide to back Metz. I mean, Labour having a Māori deputy (whose ego won’t allow him to see how having two Te Taitokerau M.P’s – him AND Hone – front bench is beneficial to his people) is not going to help anything. But hey, I digress. Back to the Greens.

I finally saw James Shaw as more than a numbers man. He actually stood for something and did it with conviction. Finally. Don’t worry about the two that resigned (kinda – how does one resign with retention of full benefits – is THAT not fraud? – I’m confused). The Greens have more than enough members hungry to take a step forward. It’s unbelievable that these men would pull this kind of shit when they know damn well that there are internal avenues they could’ve and should’ve taken. It’s also a bad move to put forward a “she goes or we go” ultimatum when they themselves have up and coming young talent nipping at their heels, yet they don’t seem to have contributed a whole lot in this campaign to justify their party listings. Their actions not only backfired, but they clearly weren’t expecting their point blank bullets to ricochet and hit them square between the eyes. Goneskies, and no one from the Greens is even looking back – nor should they with election day looming. I’ve forgotten their names already. Move on.

 

Metiria, kia kaha. Nevermind the media. Nevermind the resignations. Nevermind the naysayers. As a NON Green Party member, I believe YOU are exactly the kind of person – flax roots, resilient, sleeves-rolled-up, practical and intelligent, that I want to see representing us.

 

Vanessa Kururangi is a State House Tenant Advocate

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37 Comments

  1. “Metiria, kia kaha. Nevermind the media. Nevermind the resignations. Nevermind the naysayers. As a NON Green Party member, I believe YOU are exactly the kind of person – flax roots, resilient, sleeves-rolled-up, practical and intelligent, that I want to see representing us. “

    Precisely.

    The poor, the powerless, the downtrodden have waited a long time for a champion and she has taken on that challenge.

    The response from the reactionary, click-bait-driven, moralistic media commentators; Right-wing mischief-makers (which one or two notable exceptions); and other sundry uninformed hecklers – is predictable.

    The Establishment and conservative Moral “Majority” were never going to accept Metiria Turei’s criticisms of our broken welfare system. They were going to het back hard.

    And when they run out of issues to attack her on, willing acoloytes of the New Right like David Seymour will create rumours to smear her with.

    Kudos to Radio NZ this morning for deciding not to repeat Seymour’s unsubstantiated rumours.

    Metiria Turei is emerging from this, bloodied, but stronger. If she can survive this, we do indeed have a Wonder Woman championing the poor of this country.

    #IstandwithMetiria

    • Danyl Strype says:

      100% agree Frank. #IstandwithMetiria too. I would add that Jacinda needs to grow a spine if she wants to be anything more than a footnote in the history of the NZ Labour party’s decline into irrelevance.

      • Phil F says:

        Danyl, beneath the Pollyanna “Leader of the party? Who? Little ole me?” veneer, Jacinda Ardern is only interested in being PM.

        Principle doesn’t enter into her career path.

        The Blairism is palpable.

    • Phil F says:

      And that little prick Seymour is only in parliament by perpetrating an electoral fraud on the public anyway; and he has made hundreds of thousands of dollars out of it! What a little pimp. I bet he was the snitch in his class at school too.

  2. Don’t fret, I’m given to understand that SPECTRE is on its way out.

  3. David Stone says:

    This must represent the view of a large portion of the population. I doubt very much that the Green’s will loose overall support by this come september. They will lose some votes and gain others (so long as MT hangs in there).
    I wouldn’t condemn the two defectors out of hand though. Strict adherence to the law, if you believe in and are involved in, the exercise of a democracy is not an unreasonable position to have taken. They should be left with their respect seeing the matter has in the end been handled by the Greens in the best possible way.
    D J S

  4. garibaldi says:

    Thank you Vanessa. I hope there are many more out there like you.

  5. Cemetery Jones says:

    I’d find the pundit critics of Metiria more convincing if they reacted to those three words concerning Bill English (‘Ministerial Housing Allowance’) as they did to those three words concerning Metiria Turei (‘Domestic Purposes Benefit’).

    With this and so many other contexts to think on (I too will not digress toward the ‘Jacinda Effect’ here), the next round of polling will make for thoroughly interesting reading. I do hope to see National take the brunt of this.

    • Michelle says:

      don’t forget the 450 texts he cant remember Cemetry Jones. Gee! if he cant remember sending that many texts how can he remember all his election promises.

    • Phil F says:

      Agree absolutely with Cemetery Jones. And wasn’t English actually *caught out* – it wasn’t like his ‘conscience’ got the better of him and spontaneously owned up. Plus he was deputy prime minister at the time on a salary of a couple of hundred thousand dollars a year and married to a well-salaried person too.

      Typical moral hypocrisy from the middle class pundits, Labourites and upper class snobs like Kennedy Graham.

      Also interesting that while Labour’s little blairite princess put the knife in, Nats like Paula Bennett and even Stephen Joyce have not been on the denunciation bandwagon like Ardern.

    • Hopeful one says:

      I agree, although I was pleasantly surprised to read this Gower article about Bill English
      http://www.newshub.co.nz/home/politics/2017/06/patrick-gower-national-owes-the-taxpayer-for-todd-barclay-s-hush-money.html

  6. Daphna says:

    Great article Vanessa. I’ve never voted Green and was planning on not voting this election, but if the party holds fast and doesn’t bow to the vicious lynch mob they’ll have my vote for sure. I fully agree with your take on Jacinda. She and Davis played a key part in encouraging the frenzy by putting the boot in.
    The most positive thing I see out of this is a growing voice of people saying that poverty is a serious problem and who want genuine change.

  7. Francesca says:

    Everything you said Vanessa I wholeheartedly agree with
    I too had my doubts about James Shaw, but not any more,I’m full of admiration for them both,and gratitude.
    Finally there’s someone in the political sphere I can believe in
    Thanks for saying it in such a forthright gutsy manner

  8. Kim dandy says:

    Exactly @ Vanessa – mountain out of a molehill. That’s NZ MSM for you – excluding National course, they can do no wrong….

  9. Dave says:

    loser

    • patricia bremner says:

      And you of course are a winner Dave?

      I guess you’re a troll?

      Many of us see the over reaction to Metiria’s story as BS, designed to detract from Bill’s BS.

      • Michelle says:

        what do they say about trolls Patricia “they live in holes” and he
        (Dave) can crawl back into his hole where he belongs a…whole

        • Sam Sam says:

          Meh. Don’t mind Dave. Vennesa’s personal wealth is way above Daves. Or Dave would have to be the bitchiest police academy drop out in the world.

    • bert says:

      Dave, be careful calling Bullshit Bill a loser, you of all people should know that he’d get the GCSB onto you.

  10. aom says:

    You make a great point Vanessa when you say, “how does one resign with retention of full benefits – is THAT not fraud?” Doubt if Metiria took somewhere north of $30,000 from the taxpayer way back then, as these two will by being paid until election day.

  11. Michal says:

    Great stuff, thanks for your blog Vanessa.

  12. G.A.P says:

    Totally agree Vanessa, as the party i have supported all my voting life no longer stands for my beliefs, i am open to new ideas if the green party continue to support MT. I to was pleasantly surprised by James Shaw’s stand, and it completely changed my ideas of the man. Good to see a rational summary of events instead of the rich white entitled hysteria.

  13. mikesh says:

    I also am with Materia in this. Her disclosures took a lot of courage given that her ¨transgressions¨ would, in all probability, never have come to light had she said nothing. I hope it serves to highlight the plight of benefiiaries at the hands of this draconian government, and that this is what we all remain focused on.

  14. LizzieC says:

    What a wonderful eloquent article. You have voiced ideas in a way that I responded to with yes, yes, you are saying exactly what I feel and think. The media rage and public trolls are all so cruel and so self-righteous. THANKYOU so much!

  15. Jpo73 says:

    There you go hating on Labour again. 75% of NZers think she was wrong (Neswhub). Labour needs to get some of those people to vote for them or its 3 more years of status quo. You are aiming at the wrong target.

    • Phil F says:

      JP073: I’d say Labour’s stand on this is disgraceful, except that implies they might be capable of better. But, in reality, Labour are part of the problem, not the solution. Them in power is every bit as much the status quo as National in power. In fact, on a bunch of issues Labour is *to the right* of National and their Blairite little princess is not going to change that.

      All that a lot of Labour supporters care about is having their capitalist management team in government instead of the other capitalist management team. Most of them haven’t got the spine or the integrity to stand up for a principle – like the rights of the poor.

      This is a reminder that Roger Douglas may be gone, but his spirit lives on in that party.

    • kd says:

      75% of NZers who watched and then voted on Newshub, not 75% of all NZers, I didn’t watch or vote on Newshub and I don’t think she was wrong, I think Meteria is brave and honest and if she doesn’t speak for you, don’t vote for her, but she speaks well and true for me and I will be voting for her. That is democracy and you should stop making her the target of YOUR frustration, take your own advice. Voting Green supports Labour, attacking them (like you are doing) hurts Labour. Jeez, YOU are aiming at the wrong target!

  16. Ovicula says:

    James Shaw has been a pleasant surprise on this issue.
    Those condemning Metiria are implicitly saying that there is nothing wrong with deliberately paying people 20% less than they need to survive. For Jacinda, that probably would have just meant going home to mum and dad for dinner a couple of days a week. She doesn’t have a clue.
    Kia kaha Greens. I stand with Metiria.

  17. ELAINE says:

    A great article Vanessa.

    I think Jacinda may have shot herself in the foot by not supporting Metiria over this.

  18. Gosman says:

    All very good until the polls start heading south.

  19. Gerald says:

    Heard Miteria being “interviewd” on National Radio this morning, it was a disgusting attack by the “interviewer” no sembulence of impartiality or even letting her getting her point across just constant attack. Would like Bill English to be subject to the same grilling over his double dipping and getting $900 a week that he was not moraly entitled to.

  20. mjh says:

    I can’t stand the “Let’s do this” slogan! Do what? Change the government? Change policy — and if so, which policies, and in what way? It is contentless and glib. I cringed when, the day after her rise to party leadership, JA said (paraphrasing) “we’re changing our image and style.” Sorry, not good enough!

  21. Dave says:

    I am amused by those who accuse me of being a troll simply because I have an opposing view. She has gone. Good. Both Labour and the Greens can now focus.

  22. LOSTRELIC says:

    It’s precisely the problem that the “left” are not willing to challenge the status quo, because they don’t want to jeopardise their own chances at grabbing the conch, and thus end up siding with those in power. Metiria’s admission was bold, and set a challenge to the neoliberal establishment’s chipping away at the social security net – you’re not supposed to do that, you’re supposed to smile, nod, and go quietly. We need not less of what Metiria did, but much more of it. The risk is that the downtrodden might become roused – Metiria’s admission was an act of disobedience, and the reactionaries have set the pitbulls on her for it.