New Zealand Green Party co-leader resigns
12 August 2017
New Zealand Green Party co-leader Metiria Turei resigned on Wednesday amid a vicious right-wing media campaign over allegations of welfare and voter fraud more than 20 years ago. Turei blamed “unbearable” pressure on her family for her resignation.
Coming a week after Labour Party leader Andrew Little stepped aside to be replaced by his deputy, Jacinda Ardern, the resignation underlines the crisis wracking the political establishment. Heading into the September 23 election, all the parties are deeply unpopular, with no solution to the social disaster engulfing wide sections of the population or the looming threat of war.
At the Green Party AGM last month, Turei revealed that as a young single mother she had misreported the number of people in her household in order to receive a higher benefit to support her daughter. Like many others, she said, “I lied to survive.”
Her announcement accompanied the release of the Greens’ welfare policy, entitled “Mending the Safety Net,” which promised to increase benefits by 20 percent. Turei’s posturing was designed to establish her as the voice of beneficiaries and appeal to the growing numbers of workers and unemployed people who are sinking deeper into poverty.
The social media hashtag #Iammetiria immediately trended, with single mothers and beneficiaries describing the desperate means they used to survive on welfare. Endorsements came from the trade union-funded Daily Blog, extolling Turei’s “radicalism” and “courage.” Noting she was “facing a barrage of bile for speaking truth to the reality of poverty in this country,” the pseudo-left International Socialist Organisation (ISO) praised the Greens and called on students to…