My biggest regret about the Metiria meltdown, where the Greens must go now and shout out to James Shaw


The ever brilliant Tina Ngata and ever insightful Mike Treen have already canvassed the criticisms of the Green Party strategists and tacticians for not preparing Metiria or the Greens for the media and establishment backlash that was going to erupt from her honesty.

As someone who has done political consultancy, I haven’t stopped kicking myself at how personally frustrated I am that the Green strategists and tacticians didn’t reach out and allow me or one of the other left wing political consultants to have sat down and gamed through what was going to happen next.

I think in political party’s you can get into a bubble at times, and the Greens just didn’t see what was going to happen next.

An external perspective that is familiar with how brutal the establishment is could have highlighted the flaws and ensured they were cauterised before she ever made that speech.

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Regardless of the final result the Greens gain in September, there needs an urgent change of Green staff tacticians and strategists because this looked like amateur hour far too many times.

That said, I totally stand with the Greens for doing something meaningful about the cruelty of our neoliberal welfare state by boosting benefits and dismantling their moralistic rules.

You can not philosophically pledge support for clean rivers and then shrug off the social pollution of poverty.

So where do the Greens need to go now?


The Greens are the only political party who are genuinely offering the largest chunk of the missing million voters – beneficiaries – meaningful policy of $180 each week increases in welfare.

This means the Greens need to be outside WINZ offices, Prisons during visiting hours, Courts, and Housing NZ – everywhere beneficiaries are forced to congregate. The Greens need to enrol these voters and explain to them their policy. The Greens need to tap into this deep swell of support for them and for Metiria that isn’t registering from landline polls.

This is how the Greens stick it to the establishment, they awaken the voters 30 years of neoliberalism has done everything to destroy and sabotage.

Finally – I want to do a shout out to James Shaw.

I was not a fan when he was first elected, I felt he middle classed the party and watered down its radical agenda, but the way Shaw has stood by Metiria and fought back at every broadcaster who attempted to denigrate his co-leader was true political leadership.

He showed courage and strength without ever once being rude or discourteous.

His mana has shone over this sad chapter, and I have become a fan.

I honestly didn’t know who I would vote for this year, Metiria’s courage and James’ staunchness have answered that for me.


  1. Yeah I’m with you , Martyn.

    I kind of suspected Shaw at the time because of much of what I was reading, but hey !… he showed his grit in standing his ground in supporting Metiria and that’s good enough for me.

    When Labour was trailing in the polls, I stated I would vote Labour to shore up that vote. Well, Andrew graciously stepped down and Jacinda took the leadership… it was a very dignified transfer of power without rancour .

    And then Metriria announced Green party social policy’s and used her own example to underscore the 33 year old neo liberal war on the poor,… and those embedded neo liberal propagandists seized their chance…

    For me , personally?… those embedded neo liberal media voices own propaganda backfired against them. They stand to protect everything I have been against for three very long decades.

    My party vote is now going to the Greens.

    I am confident that Labour will hold their own. For that I am happy for them.

    But what you have stated , Mr Bradbury ?,… 100 % support.

    This is the time for an all out assault on the neo liberal Bastille to bring it down. This is the time to be where the people that are hurting are, show them you are present , show them that there is a way , a people that are willing and able to thrust the sword deep into the heart of the beast that has been oppressing them. To reach the ‘ missing million’ .

    And those people are the Greens.

    It is time to unite against the ugly , demonic neo liberal beast.

  2. I agree with much of the above, but the Greens are a balancing act within, as they have many middle class voters, those professionals in urban environs, and also others, including the fundamentalists and the liberals and the few running environmentally friendly businesses.

    Beneficiaries are hardly their core voters.

    Metiria tried to reach out to get them involved in greater numbers, to support the Greens, we know how she did it, and how it went wrong.

    So Marama has my full support in doing what she does, but I fear it will not be enough. We need a party that is without any doubt committed most firmly to serve the poor, working poor AND on benefits, all that did so before have been destroyed or betrayed.

    A robust fight is needed to bring change, as I see, it the Greens are only a temporary and insufficient answer.

    This country is so ridicuculous and hypocritical, selling the Kiwi Dream BS, that most will NEVER achieve or realise. Immigrants are sold the same lies, and I met many of them, who do anything to get the foot in the door, but most realise soon, they will NEVER be real Kiwis and NEVER own their own home here.

    We have to stop these lying bastards in government, they are ALL rotten to the core, and sadly, Labour as they stand up now, even they will not be the answer. Greens maybe more honest, but they are so weakened now, they will struggle to survive.

    This is so sick a country and society, but the better off continue to live in delusion and illusion, not realising they built a house of cards supported by a corrupt Nat ACT government, that does all to keep the cards stacked up.

  3. I go along with what you say but I’m afraid the resident Grinch in me says the problem with the Greens is that they are trying to be too nice.

    The two turncoats (Graham and Clendon) should’ve been hung drawn and quartered for their treachery, and initially Shaw admitted as much. But of course the next day Shaw wanted to be ‘nice’. (Neither of the traitors were particularly ‘nice’, but still…)

    Both Turei and Shaw being interviewed by Guyon I smell blood Espiner on RNZ smiled sweetly at his increasingly hectoring questioning justifying it with “it’s his job”.

    They could have demanded to know where these hectoring questions were when the cutbacks were being made but they didn’t; they played ‘nice’. Espiner certainly didn’t play ‘nice’…

    Being ‘nice’ is irreversibly middle class and does absolutely nothing to convince beneficiary scum such as myself that the Greens can possibly achieve anything politically. And history would tend to endorse that view.

    So when was the last time you saw the Natz being ‘nice’?

    Or ACT, or the Maori Party, or even Labour…

    Please, PLEASE get real Greens.

    Otherwise my vote for you will be wasted…

  4. Look Shaw should have dropped the ” be nice to the media and they will be nice to the Greens ” line and got stuck in to the shit Gower was mouthing on Saturday morning i can’t believe Shaw let him get away with it after standing by Metiria over the last three weeks i just don’t get it.

    But my vote is with the rest of the Green caucus and Metiria for her guts in standing up for destitution and misery of the poor in this country.

    When we get a change i want the Greens and their policies at the heart of the next progressive government……….they and we have waited long enough and i hope that a sound media -broadcasting strategy is put in place to safeguard democracy.

    • I just commented this on Open Mic, sorry to repeat, but it is needed, given my worry:

      “Saw this also on The Standard, it is a fuck up, sorry, a dry fuck up:

      If you want to win votes and keep your ten or more percent, this is NOT it, this is a total failure, to be totally honest, a total let down for the talent that signed up with the Greens, James, as much as you stood up for Metiria and are honest, you are NOT the capable and right leader to bring the change that is needed. Go back to accounting or the corporate world, thanks. ”

      You will be damned lucky to stay in Parliament, but James, you will NOT inspire or deliver, and Russel is needed back, or someone more outspoken, thanks.

  5. I don’t know that the Greens have the resources or membership to connect with beneficiaries in a personal way other than exceptions like Marama. This has to be a long term plan that goes over numerous election cycles. I’m also not sure how many beneficiaries are politically motivated, at least in the semi-rural region where I live, and who will have taken note directly of the Green Party’s stand for them. They certainly don’t read blog sites like The Daily Blog and their main source of media is the main stream media, if they follow the news that much anyway. The biggest impact this may have is on the Green Party itself and its future direction, loosing some of its voter base for now and gaining a stronger social responsibility direction in the future. I felt the party went for the easy option when it chose Metiria over Sue Bradford as female co-leader and ironically it has arrived back at almost the same point if it had chosen Bradford in the first place. Perhaps this is its true destiny.

  6. Good plan Martyn, hope the Greens Faithful will go canvass outside WINZ, it may generate the cut-through into the media they need.

    Perhaps someone should also go with a shopping cart to see how high the real prices are going now to as Labour did years ago???

  7. Im curious as to what advice you would have given MT personally and/or the Greens as a party Martyn? MT stood down because her ‘story’ of a starving child V’s telling lies about her circumstances. What could you (or anyother) PR consultant have done for it not to have gone down yhe path that it was always going to go down when the family (her daughters fathers family) were ashamed about the fact they didnt help a starving kid? Which they generously did it seems.

    • Well for one thing perhaps not all beneficiaries are equal. Just as in life. So Metiria had the support of the father and the child’s grandparents. Isn’t that a good thing for the child, for Metiria, for the father and grandparents and especially society as a whole? And Metiria didn’t have to go cap in hand to WINZ asking for more handouts. Another positive outcome? SO now we don’t have another child who has become an ‘hereditary’ beneficiary, but someone who is able to contribute those almighty tax dollars to government coffers. Positive outcome right? I could go on and on about the positive outcome of a loved and cared for child. Who hasn’t ended up in prison or in slum street because of the love that was showered on her at a particularly vulnerable time for her and her mother. I for one call that a victory.

  8. Still parrotting that right-wing spin, Imright? But you just can’t come straight out and declare where you stand on this country’s broken welfare system?

    Your criticisms of Ms Turei is an attempt to shut down the debate by painting her as a beneficiary-bludger. You just can’t bring yourself to say it. Because that would discredit you entirely as just another selfish opponant of the welfare system.

    You can start by acknowledging that benefits were cut by around 20-25% in 1991/92 by Ruth Richardson, designed to make people go hungry. Ms Turei wasn’t telling lies – she was living through Richardson’s attack on the welfare system and those surviving on welfare.

    • Frank,

      I think the right have a continuous taping of policy that is feed to trolls like IMRIGHT.

      Seems as though this IMRIGHT is just another android of the right.

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