Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: A thundering clash of perspectives

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  • Dennis Frank, in reply to Mikaere Curtis,

    No stereotyping intended, Mikaere. Just reminding folks that plenty of us have clarity of thought & expression despite - or perhaps even because of - getting high often throughout life. You think he joined NORML for some reason other than the justice issue? I think he was operating from experience & solidarity with like-minded others.

    Your point about the relation of spirituality to green politics is vital. I've considered that relation essential since embracing it in the early '70s. While I was working intensively as activist & office-holder in the GP in the early '90s I was puzzled to encounter very few others who were motivated similarly.

    New Zealand • Since Jun 2016 • 292 posts Report Reply

  • keeaa,

    Leilani Momoisea has contributed this, which I feel we could all benefit by reading:


    Since Nov 2014 • 19 posts Report Reply

  • andin, in reply to keeaa,


    raglan • Since Mar 2007 • 1890 posts Report Reply

  • tussock,

    The people grieving Metiria's harsh exit see journalists as pursuing the poor, brown solo mum she was 20-odd years ago.

    Hi. Yes.

    It's the default assumption of so much of the media attention that Metiria must have ripped the system off for tens of thousands of dollars. Who the fuck thinks beneficiaries could take tens of thousands of dollars? How distant from reality do you have to be? And yet that's the story they chased.

    And when she said, publicly, that she didn't want her family dragged into this, the media seems to have delighted in hunting around the relatives to try and find what else she was "hiding".

    Local newspaper, 10th, day after retirement announced, front page.

    'Scrutiny' too much for Turei
    Poll shows Green vote collapsing

    So that's the national framing, right, that everything the brown woman says is a lie, and every rumour against her needs digging into for the real story.

    The real story here is the one Matiria told. That benefits are stupidly hard to live on and most people get lots of help from family and aren't completely forthcoming about every single thing with WINZ. If the media had investigated that for a second they'd find people living on the fucking street right outside their buildings. They probably fucking well pass them on the way into work each morning. That could be some questions worth asking maybe, is some of this "massive increase in freedom camping" thing that folk go on about actually a symptom of impossibly grinding poverty in this country.

    Then again, the last time I saw an investigation into living in poverty on the TV, the reporter ran out of money half way through the week, and had enough convenient assets and stores in the house to get by for the last few days anyway. Which is just colossally vacant, that's nothing like being poor, there are no backups, there are no convenient low-cost assets to fall back on, and the extended family is often not that well off to help out much.

    But still you'll never get it right
    'Cause when you're laid in bed at night
    Watching 'roaches climb the wall
    If you called your dad he could stop it all.

    You'll never live like common people

    I don't think people get it at all. I had support, I had wealthy enough family nearby to solve my problems if I asked or sometimes if I didn't, and thus I am not homeless today, but it was still impossible. The system is cruel, it assumes you are cheating and forces you to constantly beg for what the law says you must have, and to prove your innocence. Even if you're in a fucking wheelchair now they want you to prove you can't walk to a doctor on a regular basis, just in case your spinal injury went away while no one was looking.

    It's like that for everything, all the time, on top of there not being enough money for anything at all. People have to walk around collecting signatures now, to stay on the dole, and if you're one short they cut you off. How fucking terrifying that must be.

    It was quite a relief, you know, for me, getting kicked off the dole each time, because it meant a few weeks or months of being cold and hungry and bored out of my skull with nothing to do, but I didn't have to go into WINZ any more, not for a while, not if I stretched things out a bit. That was my early 90's. Life might've gone a lot better if I'd just lied to them all the time.

    Since Nov 2006 • 610 posts Report Reply

  • keeaa,

    The people grieving Metiria's harsh exit see journalists as pursuing the poor, brown solo mum she was 20-odd years ago. Journalists are obliged to see her as the Member of Parliament she's been for the past 15 years, as a would-be member of the country's governing executive.

    MP or not, she is still brown and a mum (therefore woman). These facts combined with this being about poor-person's lying, as opposed to middle-class lying (eg. tax cheating) has everything to do with the ferocity of the "pursuit" and how much it was likely to succeed.

    Gordon Campbell is the only white male writer with a regular platform I have found that seems to understand this:

    It goes to show the double standard in politics is alive and well. Which one, you may ask – the one where a different standard of behaviour is applied to politicians on the centre-left as opposed to those on the centre-right? Check. The one where far less is expected of white male politicians than brown female ones? Check. The one where benefit fraud gets treated far, far more harshly than tax fraud? Check. All of the above.

    "Journalists" were successful in "doing their job" here because of the presence of each of institutional classism, racism and sexism. The rest of them don't seem to want to acknowledge this.

    Since Nov 2014 • 19 posts Report Reply

  • steven crawford,

    blog at The Standard posted just after the shit started to hit the fan. Lots of commenters asking for Paula Bennet to be subjected to investigation by the MSM.

    Atlantis • Since Nov 2006 • 4442 posts Report Reply

  • keeaa,

    Doing the same to Bennett just repeats the offence.

    Since Nov 2014 • 19 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    blog at The Standard posted just after the shit started to hit the fan. Lots of commenters asking for Paula Bennet to be subjected to investigation by the MSM.

    Oh, fuck right off. I'm sorry, but the left-wing brometariat calling for another not-white woman to be hounded out of Parliament by another round of media beneficiary-bashing panty-sniffing moralism? That is missing the point to a distasteful degree.

    Hey, let's also ask Bennett if she's got any "baby plans" in her future and whether that means she can't do her job. That should put the crap cherry on the bullshit sundae.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • keeaa,

    Yeah, what Craig said, only mine was shorter.

    Since Nov 2014 • 19 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    Green party exec board says thanks but no to Kennedy Graham standing again.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19735 posts Report Reply

  • Rosemary McDonald,

    Time for a tune?

    Waikato, or on the road • Since Apr 2014 • 1346 posts Report Reply

  • steven crawford, in reply to Rosemary McDonald,

    If it's entertainment where after, Safran is on the Kim hill show.

    Atlantis • Since Nov 2006 • 4442 posts Report Reply

  • william blake, in reply to Craig Ranapia,

    Oh, fuck right off.

    Metiria Turei. Maori woman who owned benefit fraud to highlight issues of poverty.

    Paula Bennett. Maori woman who can't remember if she did benefit fraud, and lawyered up when challenged, who became minister for social welfare and recinded the educational opportunities that she had to get her out of welfare dependency and instituted sanctions on the poor.

    So no I won't fuck off.

    Since Mar 2010 • 380 posts Report Reply

  • rjal,

    Journalists may be obliged to see her as a Member of Parliament, but that does not mean that it’s open season on her private life or her family. That a story may be coming out anyway does not let anyone off the hook.

    It wasn't Metiria the Member of Parliament who was put on trial here, but Metiria the 90s beneficiary. It was Metiria the Maori women who was judged, judged not poor enough to commit benefit fraud, and not sorry enough about her crime.

    I have given some thought as to how this could have played out differently. And the story always ends up with Metiria being out of politics. Her story was never going be straight enough because people in her circumstances never have straight stories. People who have straight stories are ones who have never had to make a choice between obeying the law and protecting their child on a daily basis. People with straight stories have families without disfunction.

    This isn't just about Metiria, although on a personal level I'm gutted for her. This is about who gets to talk about poverty. And what's been brutally rammed home is that it's only people who have no experience of it that get to talk, that get to participate.

    I grew up as a child on the benefit in the 80s and 90s and my first gut level reaction to the news of Metiria resigning was "I don't to want vote anymore". It felt like a kick to the guts and that politics isn't for people like me.

    I'm incredibly disappointed by the response journalists to many of the criticisms made. The has been no engagement with any of it. Just "you're not a journalist, what would you know", "just doing my job", "I've done lots of other good reporting that you like" blah fucking blah responses.

    I would like to have some of them tell me what journalism is for. Are we better off now that Metiria is gone? What have we learned? What have we lost? Is this holding power to account? It doesn't look like it from where I'm sitting.

    Since Dec 2011 • 7 posts Report Reply

  • Dennis Frank, in reply to Sacha,

    "Yesterday the Green Party's Executive met to consider Dr Graham's request, but found he had breached the Party's Candidate Code of Conduct in a serious manner."

    It would be helpful if they told us precisely how he did so. The public info from those involved so far informs us only that he'd been objecting & the caucus had been discussing his objections ever since she made her stand at the AGM. The caucus is supposed to reach consensus, same as the membership. I led the process that got the decision-making rules adopted when I was Convenor of the Standing Orders Committee, but that was pre-MMP when we had no caucus, so I can't comment on the latter. Consensus was defined in the rules as either total or one or two dissenters registering their objection alongside the verdict while deferring to the majority will. Anything else had to go to a vote (as per democratic tradition).

    If, as I suspect, the caucus is merely operating as some kind of insiders' club, with no formal rules, then a breach of the code of conduct can be decided on the basis of the subjective impressions of participants. In a leftist caucus, closet-stalinism and the lynch mob mentality will then produce the outcome we've been watching, which has been entertaining nostalgia freaks right across the political spectrum.

    Not saying this is what happened. Just pointing out it's as viable an interpretation as the one the caucus wants us to believe.

    New Zealand • Since Jun 2016 • 292 posts Report Reply

  • Dennis Frank, in reply to Dennis Frank,

    Sorry, typo, replace `latter' with `former' in my second paragraph..

    New Zealand • Since Jun 2016 • 292 posts Report Reply

  • steven crawford, in reply to rjal,

    I know, It sucks to feel unrepresented in parliament. Matiria Tareis Wikipedia page has been updated lightning fast. I see gave it her all while in the house. Unfortunately, she her first two privet members bills where defeated.

    In 2009, Turei's Misuse of Drugs (Medicinal Cannabis) Amendment Bill was drawn from the member's ballot.[8] The bill received a conscience vote at its first reading, but was defeated 84–34.[9] Later that year, her Liquor Advertising (Television and Radio) Bill was also drawn, but it too was defeated.[

    Which I'm gutted about, becous I think advertising alcohol on TV is very bad, and medical marijuana is important.

    Then the attempt to save the dolphins was stymied.

    In July 2009 Turei's Marine Animals Protection Law Reform Bill, which would strengthen protection for dolphins and other marine mammals, was drawn from the member's ballot.[12][13] The bill was defeated at its first reading later that month.

    And there is the casino laundry bill.

    In October 2012 her Criminal Proceeds (Recovery) Act 2009 (Application to Casinos) Amendment bill was drawn from the ballot. Before its first reading however, National, ACT and United Future said they would not be voting for it.

    Her main achievement was that She was the leader of the Greens Party. Matiria quite her job at one of New Zealand's largest commercial law firms when she made it into parliament on the list. Which if you think about it, was a major sacrifice.

    Atlantis • Since Nov 2006 • 4442 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Dennis Frank,

    An MP going to the media without caucus approval is unlikely to be forgiven in any political party.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19735 posts Report Reply

  • Dennis Frank, in reply to Sacha,

    True. That does indeed put the procedural question aside somewhat. The question of the extent to which any politician has a right of free speech is a murky one in our governance system.

    Given that Ken & Dave explained themselves in their RNZ interview in terms of conscience, one wonders to what extent caucus rules prevent a parliamentarian acting in accord with his/her conscience. I've disagreed with their rationale in prior online comments - I'm just exploring the nuances of the situation.

    From an ethical perspective, the validity of the caucus decision hinges on any recording of consensus being reached, and when, and if the rebels then acted in breach of that agreement. If they did breach it, they owe party members an explanation above and beyond the one they gave RNZ.

    New Zealand • Since Jun 2016 • 292 posts Report Reply

  • izogi, in reply to Dennis Frank,

    I don't have the specific ref, but I recall James Shaw in one of his RNZ interviews soon after they left (Morning Report?), he said there was meant to be some notice period of anyone leaving --- I think something like 48 hours --- so that the exec could discuss issues and, if necessary, prepare. I think he alleged they'd given almost no notice, thus seriously harming the campaign, and this was the fundamental problem which perhaps some are unlikely to forgive.

    Whether this is the actual state of things is another question entirely. I presume Kennedy Graham and David Clendon would have their own version of events. Probably neither really matters, by now, to a public which has largely already made up its mind.

    Wellington • Since Jan 2007 • 1141 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel,

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7948 posts Report Reply

  • simon g,

    Everybody relax, she's gone, we're safe. Meanwhile ...

    These people are not Maori mothers on a benefit.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1330 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    NBR resurrects the spectre of the Greens' successful previous comms advisor Andrew Campbell in its analysis. This part is what irks me most too:

    One Green Party insider tells NBR the key problem was that the current comms team did not “war game” what would happen after their co-leader confessed to beneficiary fraud at her party's July 16 AGM.

    There was an effort to anticipate reaction from the media, and other parties, but it was not carried out by election-hardened staffers, or in enough depth (Mr Campbell’s lieutenants left around the same time he did).

    The insider thinks that while maintaining a relative silence publicly, National did its own research, which it passed on to various media.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19735 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel,

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7948 posts Report Reply

  • andin, in reply to Ian Dalziel,

    Its an opinion piece so throw in a few cliches, slag off an easy target, show irreverent support for the status quo, like you're a right wing rebel with a cause. And Stuff will put it up on its website to fill in a few hours of clickbait
    Fucking tossers, media at its laziest. Damien Grant can fuck right off too another useless white male sucking off the teet of those he sucks up too. And he has the gall to call others bludgers.

    raglan • Since Mar 2007 • 1890 posts Report Reply

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