Listen: Barry Soper debates Metiria Turei

Barry Soper writes

The Greens are on a mission and woe betide anyone who tries to deviate from their message, even though the conclusion for some of us is unavoidable: It’s okay to break the law if you’re struggling to make ends meet.

The champion of law breaking Metiria Turei was sizzling on the media grill on her way into Parliament’s bear pit when she beamed about the support she’s got since admitting ripping off the system as a solo mum, illegally supplementing her meagre welfare cheque with secret flatmates. She’s been mobbed in the street with well-wishers, not a word of complaint.

Apparently it is only some in the media that are upset with her, because Metiria herself has had nothing but support from the public.

She then dropped another bombshell, telling the story about a flatmate of a solo mum who told her the young mother was doing exactly what she did as a young woman – but rather than seeing her as a lawbreaker, Turei said she was doing the best she could for her child.

Mistake number one, asking her whether she was going to dob the woman in. It was as though the apocalypse had arrived as the visible shudder went through Turei’s support team at her side, including her co-leader and fellow conspirator, James Shaw.

It’s about time some journos ask the tough questions.

Worse was to come though at the end of the ten-minute grill, during which time Turei frequently used the word choice, suggesting the miserly welfare system doesn’t give its recipients any choice but to break the law.

Judging by the reaction of the Greens surrounding her, I was as bad as the former Prime Minister Gordon Coates telling a group of unemployed people to eat grass.

Metiria has seniority and is running the show.   Some in the Green party, for now, are faking unity.  But they know this has been a mistake.

James Shaw will be fine with it either way.  He knows this is Turei’s swan song.  All of it can and will be pinned to her post election.

It was put to her that she seemed to be saying you can make a choice to have a baby but then it’s okay to go out and rip off the system. She blanched, and a bit like a school ma’am, told me it was a terrible notion and suggested that I should know that.

When you’re out of answers, attack the messenger.

The Greens will have their worst election result for some time.  And it will require a public whipping girl to pin the blame on before she’s flushed out the back into obscurity.


– Barry Soper, Newstalk ZB

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As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story.  And when he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

They say that news is something that someone, somewhere, wants kept quiet.   Cam Slater doesn’t do quiet, and as a result he is a polarising, controversial but highly effective journalist that takes no prisoners.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

Love him or loathe him.  But you can’t ignore him.