Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Metiria's Problem

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  • Matthew Hooton,

    Perhaps we’ll all become more forgiving in the future.

    I expect we'll have to be. Or else almost no one will be able to become a political leader, judge, company CEO, or dog catcher. But the things we'll forgive will be more impulsive stupidity, not decisions and acts that unfold over several years.

    Auckland • Since Aug 2007 • 182 posts Report Reply

  • andin, in reply to Sam M,

    I don’t think human nature will change

    This thing we call by many names, our nature is the most malleable capability we have at our disposal. History has ample examples of that, sometimes for good, other times, despite what some positivists say, pretty fucking bad.

    And this, choosing our representatives business, is like watching a parade of the would be manipulators pretending they have never ever done anything they later regret or would change, Metiria challenged that.
    While Hypocrites like Bill English who profess a belief in a god but will ignore a main tenet of his chosen belief ...forgiveness when it isnt good for business.

    Its cognitive dissonance writ large, but hey!
    Its fucking human nature

    raglan • Since Mar 2007 • 1648 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    My friends on Twitter demanding that the Labour leadership rides in on a horse to defend its coalition partner are dreaming. This wasn't Labour's political gamble to take and two thirds of its own voters told a Newshub poll they didn't approve of her deceit (not to mention an even greater proportion of the parties it wants to take votes from and fully half of Green voters).

    That's at least partially directed at me, so may I retort? Yes, it wasn't Labour's "political gamble" to take but let's not pretend they didn't make a political decision -- and exactly the kind of "poll-driven fruitcake" Helen Clark once said she wasn't willing to eat.

    And I'm straying out of my competence, but that poll? How you construct the frame (i.e. the wording of the questions) goes a long way to determining what the picture looks like. And I'd say Newshub and Reid Research know that.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12352 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel,

    If the Government wants to take Metiria fully to task - they should also reveal the full report into the (now ex) Auditor General, or are they just after transparency behind a two-way mirror?
    What did go on?
    Ineptitude or mis/malfeasance?

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7426 posts Report Reply

  • Simon Sjorn,

    Can someone politely explain how the Prime Ministers transgressions where he paid back 32000 dollars last year (I think) effectively admitting his own fraud ( was this apparent crime also committed while in office?) is much different and if it's not then why he also didn't fall on his sword or maybe give up something of the same nature. Or at least explain why the media hasn't gone into a similar fury - I remember some stuff about it in the media but not the same kind of bloodlust.

    New Zealand • Since Sep 2013 • 39 posts Report Reply

  • mark taslov, in reply to Simon Sjorn,

    None of those things are important Simon, the transgressions themselves are deemed academic. All that matters is this hegemonic narrative being framed and reinforced by members of the establishment.

    If you’re going to confess, even for the purpose of opening an important debate, you’d best not be selective about the messy bits.

    that’s the colonial line we’re sticking to, K? Just stay focused on the Pakeha morality play, and of course the quislings - thanks. Does anyone have a European Classical reference we can throw in here?

    Te Ika-a-Māui • Since Mar 2008 • 2117 posts Report Reply

  • Grant McDougall,

    Turei's made the same mistake Andrew Little did when he talked about offering his resignation to senior Labour MPs after those bad polls: she thought out aloud when she shouldn't have.

    Also, while her wanting to feed her child, etc, is understandable, when it comes to politics and this sort of thing, well, two words: Caesar's wife.

    Dunedin • Since Dec 2006 • 743 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Craig Ranapia,

    That’s at least partially directed at me, so may I retort? Yes, it wasn’t Labour’s “political gamble” to take but let’s not pretend they didn’t make a political decision – and exactly the kind of “poll-driven fruitcake” Helen Clark once said she wasn’t willing to eat.

    Damn right it wasn't Labour's gamble. And last week they had nothing to gain and a fair bit to lose from it, but they tempered their response. The new revelations changed things. Ardern will have hated making that call.

    And it wasn't just the polling. Did you read Kiri Allan's tweets about this? It was a genuine, principled objection to telling East Coast kids it was okay to break the law. It should be possible to have a nuanced view without being slated as some sort of traitor. My own initial response was not to judge because I've been in the position where the consequences of fully declaring were prohibitive. But in the end, the Greens opened a narrative of which they lost control – and that's on them.

    Also, "poll-driven fruitcakes" was Lange.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22182 posts Report Reply

  • izogi, in reply to Rosemary McDonald,

    Has someone raised the idea that perhaps Turei was tipped off that enemies were going to spill the beans about her 'past', and she chose/was advised to 'confess' and try and extract a bit of political mileage in the process? Dark, dirty politics.

    Are you sure you'd not be jumping to conclusions? I'm all for getting annoyed at Dirty Politics stuff which I find generally distressing, but so far I can't see any obvious evidence of that here. If Turei had been blackmailed somehow into acknowledging this, she doesn't seem to have given any indication.

    To me it seems far more likely that she just chose to talk about her past because it was in line with the Green Party message, possibly not fully considering the consequences. She probably thought she remembered everything well enough, and didn't expect consequences beyond a grilling from WINZ and paying things back.

    The electoral fraud stuff probably came completely unexpected, but if you're an investigator trying to forensically confirm where a person was living to identify what they were entitled to, reviewing the electoral roll makes complete sense and it's most likely standard practice. So suddenly the whole thing looks much more messy than was ever considered.

    Wellington • Since Jan 2007 • 1070 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to mark taslov,

    __If you’re going to confess, even for the purpose of opening an important debate, you’d best not be selective about the messy bits.__

    that’s the colonial line we’re sticking to, K? Just stay focused on the Pakeha morality play thanks.

    And I'm sure Māori greatly appreciate you telling them what they think.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22182 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to izogi,

    To me it seems far more likely that she just chose to talk about her past because it was in line with the Green Party message, possibly not fully considering the consequences. She probably thought she remembered everything well enough, and didn’t expect consequences beyond a grilling from WINZ and paying things back.

    The electoral fraud stuff probably came completely unexpected, but if you’re an investigator trying to forensically confirm where a person was living to identify what they were entitled to, reviewing the electoral roll makes complete sense and it’s most likely standard practice. So suddenly the whole thing looks much more messy than was ever considered.

    Yep, this is pretty much what I think. There's no conspiracy, just some sincere but ill-advised actions. The great virtue of Metiria's opening up was that she told the truth about herself to open an important issue. That starts to break down when it turns out to not be the whole truth.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22182 posts Report Reply

  • mark taslov, in reply to Russell Brown,

    And I’m sure Māori greatly appreciate you telling them what they think.

    I’d have to disagree with that take Russell, I doubt many appreciate the type of politically motivated reductionist homogenisation you're touting there. Which is why I don’t, but frame it as you feel necessary.

    Te Ika-a-Māui • Since Mar 2008 • 2117 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart, in reply to izogi,

    The electoral fraud stuff probably came completely unexpected

    So I totally understand why people have Issues with this, but it's not electoral fraud. Not according to the Twitters of the Electoral Commission and Phil Lyth of the Electoral Commission, who is my go-to on this stuff. As long as you're only registered to vote in one electorate and you only vote once, they're good. Remember, even homeless people can vote. Nobody cares that they're not actually living at the address they give.

    A note for some of the rest of this stuff. My son is a beneficiary, and he lives with his mum. Who is also a beneficiary. It's so not an issue that even WINZ don't care, and yet somehow this is a Thing? Really?

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4613 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    It's been an odd experience on social media today, stuck between right-wing dumbasses howling for Metiria's resignation from politics (David Seymour needs to go away and have a think about himself) and (some) Green supporters yelling class treason.

    Again, it's really sad that this has happened. I like Metiria personally and respect her a lot. But this is politics, and the Greens made a political call that has gone badly wrong.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22182 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to mark taslov,

    I’d have to disagree with that take Russell, I doubt many appreciate the type of politically motivated reductionist homogenisation you’re touting there.

    I honestly don't think I'm the one homogenising here.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22182 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen, in reply to Emma Hart,

    So I totally understand why people have Issues with this, but it's not electoral fraud.

    Huh?! That's odd. I just assumed you'd have to vote in the electorate of residence and I guess that's wrong.

    So does that mean we could all register and vote in Epsom?

    Asking for a friend?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4335 posts Report Reply

  • Tom Semmens, in reply to Russell Brown,

    and (some) Green supporters yelling class treason.

    Hahahahahaha! The Greens wouldn't know class if it bit them on the backside. Typically self-righteous of them though.

    Anyway, I think Ardern has played the politics of this right. Above all, she has been decisive, and the voters lap that stuff up. Pretty adroit instinctive politics so far.

    I think Metiria just has to concentrate on living to fight another day. She should survive if the heat is allowed to go out of the whole thing and there is little doubt that she can be rehabilitated eventually over the next few years.

    Sevilla, Espana • Since Nov 2006 • 2118 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    I just assumed you'd have to vote in the electorate of residence and I guess that's wrong.

    https://twitter.com/philiplyth/status/893203423243497472

    "NZ law is fairly flexible around *where* people enrol. As long as they only enrol, vote once, all is good."

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4613 posts Report Reply

  • mark taslov, in reply to Russell Brown,

    I honestly don’t think I’m the one homogenising here.

    Well you’re the one who brought Māori up, and you’re the one claiming surety about what Māori greatly appreciate. I can only walk you so far with that.

    Te Ika-a-Māui • Since Mar 2008 • 2117 posts Report Reply

  • simon g,

    The basic question before making a tactical move is always "Where will this go, and are you prepared to go there?". It's Politics 101 really - think a few steps ahead.

    For example, Metiria could have decided 'When it gets predictably nasty, I'll get nasty back", and be ready with various allegations - or at least questions - about other MPs' past lives. I don't think that would be smart (it might be a good fit for Winston, but not the Greens), even though I ask myself those questions, and rail against the hypocrisy of her critics, and the feebleness of a media that only "reveals" things when a politician offers them on a plate. But I can rail - Metiria can't.

    If she didn't think this through (and I doubt that stepping aside as she has today was ever the plan) then she has shown poor judgement, and even though it doesn't change my vote, it is her own fault. And I'm annoyed, because she's smart. This wasn't.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1177 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Interesting column by Patrick Gower.

    His angle is that Metiria took one for the team – that is, ruled herself out to deprive National of the campaign ammunition.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22182 posts Report Reply

  • Mikaere Curtis, in reply to Russell Brown,

    The great virtue of Metiria’s opening up was that she told the truth about herself to open an important issue. That starts to break down when it turns out to not be the whole truth.

    Totally different things. I can't remember if kept my electoral roll address up to date with my various flats.Not that it really mattered because I was enrolled in Northern Maori and probably never outside its boundary (probably, who knows? never checked).

    What we have here is a) a young mother in a desperate situation trying to feed her baby and get herself out of benefit/poverty trap(and by the way, her mother really did have the status of flatmate, I saw it for myself) and b) a young person making a stupid yet meaningless decision around which safe Labour seat they would vote in.

    FFS, none of this shit is anything like the knowing bullshit that Bill English pulled to contort that his family lived in Dipton whilst somehow spending all their time in Wellington.

    I get that Jacinda had to get into damage control mode around this, fair enough. If she can do that, then she can (after a reasonable amount of time in government), declare that Metiria has done enough time in back-benching penance and allow her into Cabinet in the same way that disgraced Ministers Nick Smith and Judith Collins have been.

    Are you sure you’d not be jumping to conclusions?

    Totally jumping to conclusions. I've know Metiria since 1992 (correction from my previous post - I recalled some flat/event interpolations) and she's not the type to put up with that shit.

    Tamaki Makaurau • Since Nov 2006 • 520 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to mark taslov,

    Well you’re the one who brought Māori up, and you’re the one claiming surety about what Māori greatly appreciate. I can only walk you so far with that.

    Sorry, I misunderstood your reference to a “Pakeha morality play”. And my point was precisely that a range of views have been expressed by Māori. I took in what Kiri Allan said at the time, when it certainly wasn’t the perspective du jour. Even though I didn’t entirely agree with it.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22182 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Mikaere Curtis,

    I get that Jacinda had to get into damage control mode around this, fair enough. If she can do that, then she can (after a reasonable amount of time in government), declare that Metiria has done enough time in back-benching penance and allow her into Cabinet in the same way that disgraced Ministers Nick Smith and Judith Collins have been.

    I really hope that's the case.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22182 posts Report Reply

  • izogi, in reply to Emma Hart,

    "NZ law is fairly flexible around *where* people enrol. As long as they only enrol, vote once, all is good."

    Thanks for that. I'm still trying to understand this in the context of the Electoral Act, though. 83(2)(c) says you're required to provide your place of residence "in respect of which registration is claimed". Earlier, section 72 has a heap of rules about determining a person's place of residence. I'll submit to legal expertise and may have mis-read, but I cannot see where the flexibility is. 72 says your place of residence is where you make your home for family or personal relations, or for domestic or personal reasons. Section 83 then says you have to provide that place of residence when you register.

    To be honest the whole thing seems like a storm in a teacup to me given the circumstances. The circumstances imply there was no serious intent to manipulate the system or vote multiple times or anything. Meanwhile, I can see who she is and what she's doing, who for, and which values she's standing up for in modern times. It doesn't bother me personally to see her as an MP and I think it'd be a loss if she had to go over this.

    It's hard to deny that she did it, though, and then it becomes a political thing. Logical comparisons with anything else be damned. Politics is both cruel and polarised right now.

    Wellington • Since Jan 2007 • 1070 posts Report Reply

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