Friday, August 04, 2017


A couple of weeks ago, Metiria Turei confessed to not telling WINZ everything about her living arrangements when she was a poor solo mother on the DPB in the 90's. Since then there has been a relentless barrage of hate from the dead white male establishment commentariat, outraged at the thought that a mother would do whatever she had to to keep her kids from starving. Yesterday, it emerged that - shock! horror! - in 1993 she had enrolled in a different electorate from the one she lived in (something which was fine for the PM and fine for his predecessor, because under NZ electoral law you live where you say you live, provided you only live in one electorate at a time). The hate intensified. And so today, Metiria fell on her sword and ruled herself out of any Cabinet position if the Greens were lucky enough to be involved in a government.

This is utterly ridiculous. Legally, its not clear that there was any offence, and even if there was, it is so long ago and so minor as to be utterly trivial (seriously - its on the same level as the standard protest charge of disorderly conduct. And can you imagine the palpitations those establishment political commentators would have if it emerged that Turei had ever participated in a political protest?) This is not the sort of thing that should rule anyone out from a political or Ministerial career. But Metiria's real crime wasn't stopping her kid from starving, or voting in the "wrong" electorate: it was putting the issue of our society's weaponisation of poverty front and centre, and standing up for the poor and downtrodden. And it has now been made crystal clear that that is absolutely intolerable to the establishment, and so she has been crucified for it. Which kindof proves her point, neh?

We desperately need change. Political change and social change. We need a political system where people who have escaped poverty are allowed to seek power. And we need a media where people can talk about the experience of being poor without being denigrated for it or treated like a criminal. And the first step to that is to change the fucking government.