Turei slaps Pakeha privilege in the face!

Metiria Turei's AGM admission has exposed the inequality, racism and meanness that thrives in New Zealand society.

There are few people who can look back at themselves as young adults (18-24 years) without remembering past decisions and actions that we wish could be replayed with our current knowledge and experience. Times when we badly mismanaged relationships; broke the law and got away with it (or not); impulsively squandered money or said or did something stupid while intoxicated.

We also know now that no matter how intelligent or educated a young adult is, their brain isn't yet fully developed until the age of 25. Until then impulsiveness and risk taking are common features of any early adults' behaviour. The internationally respected Dunedin Study revealed that more than 90% of young males will break the law in some way. Most stop their criminal behaviour, settle down and become responsible citizens who contribute positively to society and the economy.

However, this transition into adulthood can be very different depending on socio-economic background. Our society and justice system treats the risk and law breaking phase of young adults very differently depending on an individual's social status. Maori and beneficiaries are regarded as the bottom of the heap and Maori beneficiaries are even lower. A post I wrote some years ago about the racism that exists in our criminal justice system is still valid as the statistics remain the same. We still lock up young Maori disproportionately and destroy their ability to succeed later in life because a criminal record will substantially reduce options.

My Pakeha experience as a student and young adult, and that of my children, is one of privilege. A stable home life, financial support and having educated parents usually creates a helpful pathway to success. It is a much harder road for many young Maori. Unemployment, poverty, poor housing and few resources to support academic endeavours can be insurmountable barriers.

Metiria Turei is statistical outlier for young Maori women. Despite Metiria's childhood being dominated by hardship and her early adulthood involving sole parent responsibilities, she was able to gain a law degree and became a co-leader of the Green Party by the age of 39. Such achievements for Maori (who generally lack financial support from their families) are only really possible with state support. Paula Bennett's removal of the training allowance for solo mums effectively kicked away the ladder used by both Paula and Metiria to climb out of the low waged economy.

Most offending by young adults is hedonsitic stuff involving alcohol, drugs or thrill seeking, but Metiria's dishonesty was motivated by her responsibilities as a mother and loyalty to a friend. While there is no disputing that her actions were unlawful, they are considered at the minor end of offending and there was little profit to herself. It is also interesting to note that few politicians have come out strongly condemning Metiria. Given the intense scrutiny of her 25 year old offences I'm sure many would rather not have that same attention brought to their own early lives.

The strident attacks on Metiria are mainly from the right-wing media, who flock like sharks at the sight of left-wing blood (Todd Barclay has got off lightly in comparison from main stream media). I find the framing and intensity of the attacks, for historical offences that have been openly admitted, bordering on the hysterical.

More recent behaviours of National Government Ministers have been far more questionable in terms of morality and fiscal impact. Murray McCully's pathetic Saudi bribe cost the country $11.5 million and he was never held to account for his lies over this dodgy deal. The previous Prime Minister's support of New Zealand's tax haven status was also a saga full of conflicts of interest and lies at a level that should have brought down the government, if only it had the media scrutiny it deserved. Knowingly allowing money laundering and tax evasion, through a lightly regulated investment regime (involving billions of dollars,) makes Metiria's dishonesty pale in comparison.

For the Right, Metiria still represents everything they despise. To them she is still a young Maori solo mum living off 'good honest taxpayers' while promoting cannabis and poking fun at our sacred institutions. Stories of her heinous crimes are accompanied by shots of a dreadlocked Metiria with her baby, people smoking huge joints, and McGillicuddies dancing in kilts. The fact that she has worked as a commercial lawyer, is a Co-leader of New Zealand's third largest political party and has been a hard working and respected MP for fifteen years has been shamefully ignored.

Major fraudster and bully, Joanne Harrison, has had lighter media treatment than Metiria, which only the supports the evidence that white collar crime is considered a lesser evil than benefit fraud.

Personal attacks and abuse are nothing new for Metiria. She was cruelly criticised for wearing designer clothes (when such challenges would never be made to a Pakeha MP) and she generated much anger by daring to question PM John Key's ignorant view that the colonisation of New Zealand was nonviolent. The underlying racism is clear.

Metiria Turei has again spoken truth to power and slapped Pakeha privilege in the face. While Mike Hosking and Patrick Gower bristle with indignation from their right-wing media pulpits, there is a steadily growing crowd (from the marginalised and disenfranchised many) coming out of the shadows to stand behind Metiria. At last there is someone in Parliament who has walked in their shoes (and who still remembers) and is openly admitting what they never can.


Paranormal said…
And yet again the Greens show their died in the wool racism, lack of ethics and morals.

So MT being Maori makes what she did ok?

The truth of the matter is yet to come out. So far we have two helpings of fraud - social welfare and electoral. How do you know she has changed and not continuing her fraudulent ways on the Greens? She clearly had family support in raising her baby - she has admitted that. What else has she not told her ardent supporters.

She's clearly not what she's saying she is.
ChrissieMc said…
Paranormal: Surely family support is a good thing and it is not always a fianacial support. Family support is about being there, being supportive, loving, encouraging,helpful, interested and being present family support is not a crime. I am saddened and shocked by the vitriolic attacks on Metiria Turei. How easy it is to see the splinter in our sisters eye amd not the plank in our own. To borrow a phrase from the book so many of her self righteous attackers supposedly follow.
bsprout said…
Paranormal, you totally don't get it. Breaking the law is not OK, but the fact that so many young mothers feel forced to is the real issue. What young sole mothers need are wrap around services that make them feel supported and able to become independent of the state through maximising their potential. The current system is prying, humiliating, punitive and judgemental and actually traps too many into a life of poverty.

There are so many reasons for young woman ending up in those circumstances but the vitriol directed at them by our wider society is pretty appalling. Bringing up children on a benefit is rarely a choice and one of the hardest things for anyone to do. Sadly around 25% of our young children suffer under this regime as well.

Where's your compassion?

Paranormal said…
And look how you both frame up legitimate questioning of MT's probity.

MT has stated how she has profited from gaming the system and the support she received from the father and his family. This is not the story of poverty you are desperately trying to make it.

My own family has a similar story. A family member who decided to make a welfare driven lifestyle choice rather than working to achieve her goals. That is where the problem in society lays, not your alleged lack of 'compassion'.

Your brand of 'compassion' (tm) leads to welfare dependency, poverty, and crime. It is you who should hang your heads in shame suggesting that welfare leads to good outcomes where it plainly doesn't. There are now three generations of our family that are impacted by a poor welfare lifestyle decision.
bsprout said…
Paranormal, I would love to hear from you what Metiria gained from her dishonesty. I gather she was able to feed her daughter better and get a law degree. Most of Metiria's life has been devoted to the service of others and one could hardly say that she has ever lived a life of luxury. I would say that the state has had a good return from its investment and Metiria has paid for it in her service many times over. What she gained illegally pales against the 'legal' allowances and benefits that the likes of Bill English and Todd Barclay have received as MPs. Remember it was Metiria who made MP expenses public knowledge and has probably saved the tax payer millions. I have noted that some of the largest expense claims come from back bench National MPs with little responsibility. The sense of entitlement from some is disgusting.

You must know that very few young mothers ever remain on a benefit for very long. It is not welfare that traps people into ongoing lives of dependency, it is the lack of real support. Living lives in substandard housing, continually eating cheap crap food and forced to work in jobs paying beneath a living wage is the real trap. This Government believes that if you punish people for being poor and forcing them and their children to live in crowded homes, caravans, garages and cars then they should just aspire for better. However beating people with draconian welfare sticks just breaks vulnerable people and few see themselves achieving more.

What is wrong with giving struggling families decent warm homes and useful support that enables them to gain useful skills and qualifications. The best way to lift people out of a life of dependency is to provide practical support, education and build self-worth.

I have been door knocking as part of the campaign and I have visited home after home, in substandard condition, where young parents are doing their best to give their kids a good life but finding it really, really hard.

You should hang your head in shame to believe that welfare should be like a prison sentence, a punishment so bad that no one wants to go back there. That is the system that has given us one of the largest prison populations per capita in the world and the worst outcomes for child health and welfare.

Nine years of National's welfare management has not been good for families and children and we can do better.

Paranormal said…
You go Teresa. The fact you couldn't be more wrong is irrelevant for you isn't it?

BS, interesting that you rightly blame our high prison population on welfare, and yet you think more of it (welfare) is the solution.
Unknown said…
I see you have not even seen the Electoral Commission's statement about what you consider to be a fraudulent action by Metiria @Paranormal, because if you had then you'd know that many young people do it; even your beloved John & Bronagh Key are enrolled at an address they don't even live at. However given your myopic attitude I wouldn't be surprised if you're well informed. Another point is that there are many people on welfare because they are legitimately unable to work due to illness, injury, or disease and unfortunately for them they're forced through hoops for a pittance of support. It comes as no surprise that some are desperately forced into crime because they're unable to make ends meet. However there are politicians and voters such as yourself, who really should be indignant at the cruel injustices that the vulnerable in our society have to deal with but aren't. If you paid actual attention you'd also see that tax evasion is a much bigger deal, but is not nearly dealt with as stringently as what welfare fraud is, and is costing our country so much more, the people who are convicted of tax evasion can even get off from repaying the debt if it's proven that they'd enter financial hardship far less than what a welfare defrauder experiences. I don't see you expressing any outrage at National, even with John Key's 11 million dollars of tax payers money being donated to the Clinton foundation. There are many matters committed by the politicians of other parties that are far worse than what Metiria has done yet no one is doing anything about it.
Paranormal said…
For the record I have never voted for or supported National. I was a Green voter until I worked out you guys are all about entrenching poverty and welfare dependency because that means long term sustainability for you.

The sort of vitriol heaped on an individual here for just pointing out the obvious shows you are clearly not ready for anything close to being in government. Diversity for you is all about homogeneity.
bsprout said…
Paranormal, a major reason why we have a high prison population (costing $100,000 per prisoner per year) is because of under-investment in struggling families. You consider spending on welfare a drain of resources, I see it as the ambulance at the top of the cliff. While more money on benefits would help, we also need to boost the support we provide to those families that need it. Many of these struggling families come from the damaged people the state created through CYFs. The state abused (and continues to abuse through neglect) a good number of children in their care, then abandoned them at 17 to fend for themselves. A large percentage of them populate our prisons and form our dysfunctional families. You may wish to punish them further, I think they deserve decent support to right the wrongs done to them in their early lives.

bsprout said…
Paranormal, i have removed Teresa's comment that resorted to personal abuse. You are more than welcome to comment here, although you should expect pretty robust debate as I receive on blogs where Greens are the minority ;-)

Also not that the rises in child poverty tend to occur under national Governments. Ruth Richardson's Mother of All Budgets saw child poverty double and this government has facilitated something similar. Concerningly there has been a refusal to assess child poverty as other countries do now, so we can't make a comparison.
Paranormal said…
BS you also missed the fact that the majority of the prison population are illiterate-and that's after spending time in our one size fits all education system that also failed them.

I'm not a National supporter but the one thing they have done well is the dramatic plunge in the teenage pregnancy rate. That's a whole generation of children that will not have to live through the deprivation you want them to endure trapped in welfare dependency. That you want to turn this around will cost the Greens votes in well off suburban homes with teenage daughters.

Teresa's comment was indeed abuse and indicative of her intolerance. Robust debate is something Green supporters don't seem to understand.
bsprout said…
Paranormal, you make huge assumptions. Research shows that socio-economic background makes the biggest difference to academic achievement. Only 10% of a child's time is spent in school the other 90% of their time has the biggest influence. Remember that NZs ranking in education has plummeted almost 20 places in the 9 years under National.

The drop in teenage pregnancy could also be down to the education system ;-)

I have commented on a number of National leaning blogs and have found them very closed minded and you make big assumptions that all who comment here are Green supporters.

Unknown said…
At least she wasn't done for living in a relationship, something Paula Bennett is being investigated for, as many years later she is now married to the same man she is accused of being in a relationship with whilst receiving DPB. You, Paranormal, are closed minded and bigoted!You hide behind a fake facade, an assumed alias and its sad to see that narrow mindedness is still so prevalent in NZ. Why isn't anyone demanding her blood, after all she is part Maori? Oh no wait a minute, she's mainly European right, that puts her well and truly above the Metirias of the world. Pfffft.
Unknown said…
I lived in Australia till i was 19 and moved to New Zealand I had a everything I ever wanted and needed from the amazing support of my family. I becames a manager at Mcdonalds when I turned 18 was trained prior to that. With that said I came to New Zealand with awesome credentials Higher School Certificate, Certificate 3 in Business, 3 years experience of training and one year of management which I was groomed for since I was 16 at Mcdonalds. However that counted for absolutely nothing in this country, I was jobless for 9 months no support from WINZ my partner was heavily pregnant I was living with my inlaws. I found a job eventually with my business credentials and references that begged me not to leave aussie I became a forkhoist driver in a storage business Otahuhu (i lived in West Auckland) On minimum wage we were hardly in a position to raise a child.
I had applied for countless jobs signs out the front of stores in Westgate and Henderson said NOW HIRING - though when it came to the interviews or even speaking to the hiring manager it became clear that even hearing a maori voice put my job prospects in the drain and shame on those brand name stores.
Its been 6 years since then and I have worked in Auckland in different jobs and Wellington and now currently residing in Northland moerewa and all i have seen is the inequality of race not just maori and pakeha but all races. The judgement placed upon people because of colour and gender and how in these cities there are clear divides between the rich and the poor no longer is there a middle class.
The problem with this structure so many people are to scared naive or up themselves to address, is those children that are brought up in the poor homes who have lived poor for a generation or 2 most of the time cannot find the drive to be something more because people like You paranormal have nothing better to do but find the bad in people. I have been ill for 6 years been mediacally taken off work because the doctors cant find whats wrong with me and dont think coughing blood and blacking out is fitting for a job, but now my partner works from 8-630 everyday we travel 20-30 minutes to where she works, why because we are too poor to live any where else,only have 1 vehicle and my kids need to go to school. We had no choice but to move to a country town because its to dear to live anywhere else and that so called WINZ support that all the poor people get because theres so much of it cannot help me because my partner earns to much. on minumum wage
What I have to deal with is facing the fact I may not be able to wake up for my kids, I dont get government support my extended family in Moerewa are barely making enough for themselves so they cant help me.
So I understand the need for some to try and survive for our families, what she has done for her party up until now counts little because she chose survival of her family in the past.
And to those that only have bad words towards Metiria, for those that also have bad words directing to her lineage and to those who have bad words for the greens. GROW UP, DEAL WITH IT AND INSTEAD OF ARGUING AND BICKERING AND HIGHLIGHTING THE BAD FOR PERSONAL OR PARTY GAINS FIX THE SYSTEM because there are to many poor out there and its only getting worse.
bsprout said…
Hear hear, Chey!

It is really wonderful to have lots of people turning up at our temporary Invercargill office wanting to volunteer because they totally get what Metiria was standing up for. The system doesn't work and too many families and children deserve better!
Nzhalfcast said…
It gets boring hearing bout how hard maori have it, how bout the maori, tongans, samoans, chinese, and other cultures born n living here that are struggling just as much.....the fact that more maori are in jails can reflect there true nature. How about the mori ori who maori conquered wiped out the adult males and assymilated the women n kids into their ways and yet deny the mori ori were even a race before Maori. People black white or yellow are in dire need of help in all aspects. Put the racial manipulation aside and help each other out. Band together to rid the govt. People like the above named and paula bennit forget there beginnings. Good on turei for changing her ways of the past. People break the law all the time a vast majority but only a few go to jail.....breaking the law full stop makes you a criminal not going to jail. The Ngai Tahu iwi for example is richest iwi in nz but how many of the ordinary members still in poverty? Yet the iwi leaders are $100,000+ per year???
It happens in all cultures in nz not just maori the only difference is that you only hear about the maori side lets hear from the other sides.
bsprout said…
Nzhalfcast- Metiria was making a stand for all those struggling on inadequate benefits. Perhaps these posts may allow you to have a different perspective on the significance of Maori in our country and why their situation is different from migrant communities:



Unknown said…
Slaps white privilege more like aids white privilege.

Paul hartley the son Of Northshore Mayor Ann Hartley is babies daddy and she refused to name him on the birth cert because she didn't want him hassled by the IRD. Can we get child support from him please ?

PS just so you all know Ann hartley was part of the Labour lead govt that raised the penalties for women that didn't name the father of their child..

cool hey :(
bsprout said…
Chris, it is rather sad that after 25 years (and most of that time in service to the country) that Metirias early relationships and family details should need to be subjected to intimate scrutiny. '

This is the very thing that Metiria was making a point about and yet you enthusiastically join all those who just don't get what is wrong with that invasion of privacy.

Our elderly get a universal basic income with no questions asked. No one asks an elderly women who she is sleeping with and if a sexual partner provides income support. The state doesn't want to know if an elderly person is getting any cash supplement on the side. There is no prying around how many nights a friend may stay over and whether they are in a sexual relationship. It would be considered an appalling invasion of privacy.

At one time all mothers received a child allowance with no questions asked to ensure all children would be fed and clothed. Now few of our elderly live in poverty and are more financially secure than those in any other developed country. On the other hand 28% of our children live in poverty and many are deprived of basic necessities. Our ranking for children's welfare is ranked at the bottom of the developed world.

Something is really wrong with our society!

Paranormal said…
No BS - something is seriously wrong with the Greens that you don't 'get it'. There's a complete lack of morals and ethics that the voting public are recognising.

The fact you Greens have castigated the two caucus members with morals who stood up and spoke truth to power is telling. It brings into sharp focus Green hypocrisy and quickly destroys the brand you've tried to build up over the last 30 years.

The scrutiny was brought about when MT threw her family under the bus by saying if she didn't rort the system her child would starve. That was a bare faced lie. The fathers family provided significant financial, emotional and practical support. How do you think they are feeling after what MT said about them by implication?

If you want to see how the Green brand is being destroyed look no further than Jackie's comment above. We don't know if Jackie is a Green, but she is posting in support of Greens on a Greens affiliated blog. Clearly she doesn't understand that calling me a bigot because of her assumptions of my ethnicity and political grouping actually shows her, and by association the Greens, as nasty bigots.

That's a significant point to note here - nothing I have said is about race, but you and a number of your commenters have wanted to make it all about race. So who are the real bigots?
bsprout said…
Oh dear Paranormal, you seem to have been captured by the hateful spin. This is a direct quote from Metiria's speech:

"I had a great case worker at what we now call WINZ, who treated me with respect. I had the training incentive allowance as a grant to help me pay my fees and childcare. I had great support from my family and my baby’s dad, and his family too."

Metiria has always admitted she had great support but it still wasn't enough. Remember this was just after Ruth Richardson's 25% cuts and Metiria was also using childcare before the free hours. How you can make such certainty about her actual financial situation is beyond me and a little worrying.

I have provided plenty of references and links in past posts to support the racism that does exist in our society and Metiria has suffered this many times as an opposition MP.

The two MP's were not castigate because of their belief but because the manner in which they tried to force a decision that went against the agreements they had signed and the party processes. Any other party would have done the same in similar circumstances.

Given all that National MPS have done through manipulating the system and ignoring conflicts of interest you are on shaky ground when discussing morals and ethics ;-)

Paranormal said…
Are you sure it's racism MT has suffered or just a reaction to her as an individual?

How can I be so sure about the family support she received - simple, the family have contacted the media to say they supported her to the tune of $20k per annum. This is at a time when the starting wage was about $7k. Why are the family contacting the media? It's because they are hurt by being thrown under the bus.

Sooo - Clendon and Graham are guilty of not 'following orders' rather than standing up for what they believe in and speaking truth to power? Have a look at what you are saying and try to actually think about what it means. Suggesting they were out of line for not following party processes when they were clearly following their consciences just makes you look even worse.

Why would I give a damn about National MP's? The Greens are supposed to hold themselves above that sort of behaviour, but as soon as you're found wanting you're not owning it but saying 'look over there, they're much worse than us'. Keep on going, you are just digging a deeper hole.
bsprout said…
Oh dear, Paranormal, personalising politics is a dangerous road you seem keen to embrace. I note that you just loyally repeat rumour and spin and provide no links to support your charges. A little like National's claim that under Labour's water charging, cabbages will cost $18 each. So much nonsense.

The Greens are not an authoritarian party, no orders just principle and agreements and decisions following democratic process. Following ones conscience is fine but there are ways of acting on that too.

Paranormal said…
Keep defending the indefensible. Seems I'm not the only one that doesn't get the Green brand of 'democratic process'. Certainly looks authoritarian from the outside.

As for your 'loyally repeating spin'. I was repeating what long term Green friend John Campbell was accurately reporting on state radio. That's why the public have lost faith in the Greens. See if you can work out why.
bsprout said…
You can imply I'm a liar if you like, Paranormal, but as a member of our executive I was part of the democratic process and I can tell you emphatically that we manage our party democratically and consult our with members for important decisions.

I'm sure we could have handled some stuff better but you have to admit that compared to the debacles and lies involving foreign trusts, bribing Saudi businessmen and manipulating housing allowances, the attacks on the Greens have been bizarrely extreme.
bsprout said…
This sums it up: http://www.nzherald.co.nz/bay-of-plenty-times/news/article.cfm?c_id=1503343&objectid=11903920

Popular posts from this blog

The US is actually unique for not valuing life!

Composting - the circular economy starts at home.

NZ now ranks at bottom of developed world