John Roughan on Metiria’s confession: “Not so bad”

Credit: John Stringer

Last Sunday Q+A asked Metiria Turei if she thought she could be a minister of social welfare after what she had done. Yes, she replied, because she would be in a government that would change the system so that poor beneficiaries like her with a tiny baby would not need to lie to Winz to have enough to live on.

So they asked her the same question again. And she gave the same answer at greater length. So they asked it again …

They (the interviewer and the producer in her ear) had obviously decided this was the hard question they would pin her on. She of course answered it as easily as a competent politician always handles these pre-conceived, predictable, “tough” questions on New Zealand television.

There are of course much more sensible questions that Metiria Turei never got asked.  Questions like, did you live with the baby’s father during the period you defrauded the taxpayer?   How come you had time to campaign for political parties when you were nearly on the bread line?   Who was looking after your child when you were away for extended periods?  Did you receive support in dollars or in  kind from anyone else?   

Turei sounded determined in her speech to abolish, “the sexist, punitive section 70A which cuts women’s benefits if they can’t or won’t name the father of their child”. Sexist? That section is designed to make fathers face their responsibilities.

Turei wouldn’t name the father of her child because she did want him to be “harassed”. She says he was giving her support. She won’t say whether he was one of the rent-paying tenants she did not declare.

The Greens propose to allow sole parents to live with an income earner without losing any of their benefit until they marry or have lived together for three years. The only requirement would be that the beneficiary informs Winz when they enter such a relationship. They would have no reason to hide it if they stood to lose no benefit.

But how is that fair to two-parent families living on one earned income? Shouldn’t the non-earning parent get the same benefit? These are among the questions Q+A could have asked.

The Greens co-leader has owned up to a deception to attract attention to “a broken safety net” but neither the deception nor the safety net sounds so bad.

Interesting that John Roughan doesn’t think what Metiria did was bad.  Because almost half of the Green voters do think it is bad.  Which means there is going to be some political blood on the floor in the Green caucus room.

James Shaw will be highly frustrated, but also can’t believe his luck.   James Shaw and Chloe Swarbrick will be the absolute media Dream Team.   They could sell oil to the Arabs.   Well, you get my point.


– NZ Herald

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