Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Metiria's Problem

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  • izogi, in reply to Joe Wylie,

    Like Greg O'Connor, whose "progressive" attitude on drug law reform is touted as so compelling that we're encouraged to forget that given the chance he'd arm the police tomorrow.

    Yes but if you're trying to sell a Labour candidate to Ohariu, for which I'm frustrated to be a registered elector (legally!), it almost makes sense.

    I don't know what the rest of NZ's like, but National seems to have flooded Ohariu with its billboards compared with most other parties. A week ago I went to visit a friend in Woodridge, which is a dead-end suburb in the sense of there being only one road in and out. I must have counted 5 or 6 National billboards, in a very small space, all set up in people's properties.

    Wellington • Since Jan 2007 • 1139 posts Report Reply

  • Trevor Nicholls, in reply to izogi,

    National seems to have flooded Ohariu with its billboards

    It's the only electorate round here where National is likely to win the party vote, so it makes sense

    Wellington, NZ • Since Nov 2006 • 310 posts Report Reply

  • tussock, in reply to steven crawford,

    One of the complications with using the historic benefit fraud as a political gimmick, which it is (even when the outcome is intended to feed the poor), is that life on a benefit twenty fives years ago isn’t the same thing as it is now.

    In a lot of ways it was worse, early on at least, the recession was very strong, the thing that forced in the rent subsidies was the Meningitis outbreaks spreading from the rather common issues around three families living in a garage, in Auckland.

    We didn’t have the same housing shortages then, as we now do. In the mid nineties, it was possible to rent heathy accommodation in Auckland, and have a healthy diat, and do tertiary education whilst on a benefit.

    If you had family or friends who could chuck you an extra $20-$50 a week, or you never had to buy yourself clothes or shoes, had someone to drive you around, or someone to provide you with free childcare or whatever else. I studied on a benefit in the early 90's and part of me dropping out was I couldn't afford to feed myself after having the benefit occasionally cut and none of the regular bills stopping. Depression is fun like that, but of course getting diagnosed was impossible while I was still studying.

    I accept your anecdote that you knew people who did fine in those circles, maybe it was better where you lived, but it was pretty shit in my social circles, and it's not like I saw much of other beneficiaries given how rarely leaving the house was an option.

    And the thing is, it has gotten much worse again under National. The requirements they've put on people, the options they've taken away, it's resulted in a lot more people getting their benefits terminated. That's people with no money for weeks at a time and the bills still rolling in.

    I lived that at one point, it is not in any way pleasant, life just gets harder and harder every time that happens, and it's not like you could afford shoes anyway.

    Servival is what people who live on the street with mental illness do.

    That is of course, part of the conversation about how it's all too easy to get kicked off a benefit in NZ, even when you're obviously mentally ill and incapable of finding work or looking after yourself properly.

    But there's a lot of people living in cars now. It's not just the housing shortage, it's way more people than that. People who've had their benefits cut.

    It’s just going to feed the benefit bashing trolls.

    Fuck the haters, man, they are irrelevant to the conversation.

    Since Nov 2006 • 607 posts Report Reply

  • Mr Mark, in reply to andin,

    Dare I say it ? - find myself largely agreeing with Young Paddy Gower too

    "The Greens seem to be in pathological denial about the damage that Turei's benefit fraud admission is doing"

    http://www.newshub.co.nz/home/election/2017/08/patrick-gower-metiria-turei-is-causing-the-greens-to-self-destruct.html

    Becomes clearer by the day that the Greens attract a disproportionate number of wishful-magical thinkers - psychologically needing a protective bubble to escape cold hard political reality

    Metiria's damaged her party and possibly the electoral fortunes of the wider Left Bloc … reinforces Coalition of Chaos meme & reinforces ugly beneficiary stereotypes held by voters on the Right (& a large slice of the Centre)

    Most frustrating of all - the Metiria factor is potentially nullifying the Jacinda factor

    Green’s core policy on welfare ? = for the most part laudable (indeed long overdue)

    Turei’s PR campaign to promote that policy ? = clumsy, impulsive, self-defeating

    Blissfully unaware of wider public opinion - didn't bother to consult publicly available Poll data … If she'd bothered - they could've focused attention on vital issues around welfare, poverty, beneficiaries in far less counter-productive way for Left

    With the Greens – it’s like giving kids a box of matches to play with … & on the eve of an Election Campaign after 9 long years in Opposition !

    Wellington • Since Dec 2009 • 127 posts Report Reply

  • simon g, in reply to Mr Mark,

    I'd say the "chaos" is mostly being perpetuated by people shouting "chaos". Some of them (like Patrick Gower) have a vested interest in the "chaos". (As I commented upthread, I don't think Metiria handled it well, but I don't feel the need to repeat that opinion daily as some kind of substitute for actual news).

    Oliver Hartwich speaks for me, and more eloquently than I can.

    Let's not lose sight of the real issue, which is of course that Brad Butterworth and Russell Coutts are disgraceful traitors to New Zealand, and we should all be furious, and have lots of reckons. Eh, who, what? Well, exactly.

    A story dominating media noise doesn't mean it's vital to the future of the country. The country will struggle to remember it soon enough.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1312 posts Report Reply

  • Tom Semmens, in reply to Sacha,

    "Metiria Turei's benefit fraud revelation was an act of political cannibalism that backfired both for her and the centre-left, writes Bernard Hickey"

    It seems to me the Greens are getting a lot of rather undeserved sympathy for this whole shemozzle. Lest it be forgotten, this whole affair and it’s aftermath was of their own creation, and boy what a nasty bit of creative work that was. Like an excited bunch of little political Italians, the hand that held the political dagger decided the time was ripe and tried to stick it into the back of its political neighbor and sometime ally Labour. The Greens - for whom Turei, do not forget, was riding point at that time - thought a clumsy power grab would make them look like a bunch of very clever clogs, triumphally marching to the head of the progressive army.

    Only the Greens, as is often the case with Greens, are not as half as clever as they think they are and they made the critical strategic error of basing their plans on the assumption their victim would conform to their plans and simply roll over and expire. Only Labour didn’t and it hasn’t, and now the whole damn lot has blown up in their face.

    So yeah, the Greens can cry me a river if they want any sympathy or even a bit of understanding. They gambled on a particularly craven stunt of political betrayal to try and win the day, and they lost hard and in being so inept they've also damaged the wider chances of the centre left of gaining power in six weeks.

    Sevilla, Espana • Since Nov 2006 • 2210 posts Report Reply

  • Shaun Scott, in reply to simon g,

    I’d say the “chaos” is mostly being perpetuated by people shouting “chaos”. Some of them (like Patrick Gower) have a vested interest in the “chaos”. (As I commented upthread, I don’t think Metiria handled it well, but I don’t feel the need to repeat that opinion daily as some kind of substitute for actual news).

    Absolutely agree- and to further highlight how a very hostile and lazy media are trying to perpetuate the "chaos" message, Duncan Garner on tv3 is just about to come back with "another candidate resigns- more on the chaos". This echoes a totally dishonest "fake news" approach to the news hutt candidate "Suzanne Ruthven is stepping aside. Stuff front page got into "more problems for Greens"- when all it is someone who was not likely to be elected (24 on the list) who has a job she needs to start. Paddy Gower now spinning that it _not_ being a deal to clear the way for labour shows how bad things are for labour and the greens.

    Dunedin • Since Dec 2008 • 88 posts Report Reply

  • Shaun Scott, in reply to Tom Semmens,

    So yeah, the Greens can cry me a river if they want any sympathy or even a bit of understanding. They gambled on a particularly craven stunt of political betrayal to try and win the day, and they lost hard and in being so inept they’ve also damaged the wider chances of the centre left of gaining power in six weeks.

    I really don't think it was craven- "contemptibly lacking in courage". I think it was a genuine attempt at raising an issue, and was the opposite of craven. It was personally courageous of Metiria given there was always going to be some personal attack- even if, as the over the top reactions by some means it was perhaps politically naive. And sadly, many of us on the left have been co-opted to the chaos around it all- the perceived need to defend (or attack) keeps feeding the beast.
    The good news stuff for Greens would seem to be the policies around transport that labour have now adopted (light rail), the Nats now talking about improving Water quality (whether or not the policy is significant enough), and that welfare and Poverty is (or was) being seen as an important election issue. (These are all things the greens - and on poverty, Metiria especially has been doing this for years- have been pushing well before the election campaign and they have shifted the discussion in those directions.

    Dunedin • Since Dec 2008 • 88 posts Report Reply

  • steven crawford, in reply to tussock,

    I accept your anecdote that you knew people who did fine in those circles, maybe it was better where you lived, but it was pretty shit in my social circles, and it’s not like I saw much of other beneficiaries given how rarely leaving the house was an option.

    People I knew on benefits at the time where not doing fine, in comparison to people of means. My social circles, where not always happy. Being on a benefit was a lot less than ideal, but it was less difficult to find a place to belong, IMO. That’s due to a smaller population leaving more breathing space in the built environment. And ironically, less wealth which has now enhanced the concept of privet property and that’s ever square foot of everything has a dollar value. My social circles worked like the railways (never on time) with major hubs like the Red House, the Big House* and for a spell, I was the fat conductor at above the Open Late Caffe. There is not a chance in hell that any low income people are going to be able to afford to run these public/privet hangouts.

    Isolation has always been a bad place for impoverished people to be. It’s not good for mental health. One of the less bad outcomes of the last financial crisis, is that unemployed in places like Spain was so huge that people got to spend more time hanging out together without needing to find the admission fee. They where/are in it together.

    * The Red House and the Big House where not jail and a brothel :-).

    Atlantis • Since Nov 2006 • 4163 posts Report Reply

  • izogi, in reply to Shaun Scott,

    a very hostile and lazy media

    Part of it's likely media, but she's also in an unenviable position from a small party where probably 85% of the electorate wouldn't have voted Green anyway. It shouldn't really be a surprise that so much of the coverage, whether traditional or social media or where they mix together, is around people looking for reasons to justify why others shouldn't vote Green.

    It's a contrast to when, for example, John Key had to explain away Dirty Politics. Media went crazy over that to try and attack National, but it didn't really work because at the same time there were a lot of people looking for excuses to justify not voting for what they probably saw as an unenviable opposition, right to the extent where saying "but everyone does it!", even if they didn't, somehow became an adequate defence. Winston faces this all the time: Lots of people despise him and are always looking for reasons to say he shouldn't be there, but he can still excel in his smaller bubble because he speaks to his support base and doesn't care about the rest.

    I find it really frustrating how all this superficial partisan horse race meta-crap eclipses the discussion about things like poverty and other issues, but maybe that's just me as someone who really would like the discussion to be about poverty, instead of anything but poverty.

    Wellington • Since Jan 2007 • 1139 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Young,

    I'm surprised no-one on the centre-left has picked up on the most optimal way out of this situation, which is to refocus public attention on the scale and magnitude of white collar corporate crime in New Zealand, whether it is adequately policed (I suspect not) and how its scale and effects dwarf the crimes of neccessity that underpin most benefit claim infringements. If Labour and the Greens now do that, they can fight their way out of this road bump. Quite frankly, too, aren't some of the anti-Turei headlines rather over the top?

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 542 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen, in reply to izogi,

    but maybe that's just me as someone who really would like the discussion to be about poverty

    Nope me too.

    And as an aside can people stop saying The Green stole Labour constituency by talking about poverty - because up until then Little had been largely silent. Essentially The Greens picked up a ball that Labour was trying very hard to ignore.

    Even now where is Labour's strong policy on social welfare, what exactly is Labour going to specifically do to lift up those who are really struggling. Sure we've heard about housing, which is part of it, and tax fairness, and general stuff that will indirectly help. But frankly right now I want to see some of my tax spent directly and specifically helping the very very poor and the only party willing to suggest that is The Greens.

    So hardly cannibalising anything even if Mr Hickey thinks it's a cool headline.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4449 posts Report Reply

  • steven crawford, in reply to izogi,

    I find it really frustrating how all this superficial partisan horse race meta-crap eclipses the discussion about things like poverty and other issues, but maybe that’s just me as someone who really would like the discussion to be about poverty, instead of anything but poverty.

    That’s where Metiria might have had a mistake. She started talking about her self at the wrong time. It’s only the timing not the intent.

    Elections are about personalitys no mater how hard we bang on with our demands that people look at the policy papers. We are electing people not paper documents. (not doubting your awareness of that).

    It’s always been inevitable that demographic elections would turn into contests of person popularity, inspite of not “focusing on the policy documents” apairing to be irrational. Human beings are way more complex than our educated thinking. Our careful consideration of “the issues” is cultural; it’s mearly what some of us have in our repertoire of tools. There are groups of people who vote according to there faith, which from my world view looks pretty flaky. But short of demolishing the civilised world and starting fresh, we just have to deal with it. We don’t get to smack our children into thinking like ourselves anymore, so there’s going to have to be another way of getting our own way. We the wealthy of mind must look out for the less fortunate.

    Atlantis • Since Nov 2006 • 4163 posts Report Reply

  • andin, in reply to Mr Mark,

    escape cold hard political reality

    " There must be some kind of way out of here said the joker to the thief
    Theres too much confusion here..."

    I seem to remember someone banging on about reality, as if only they knew what that was. But it was just a rhetorical flourish to belittle those they disliked and who criticised their actions

    wider public opinion

    That gormless beast that lifts its dead eyes to give a pointless look into its mindlessness every now and then.
    Uninformed and self-interested, pushed that way by unthinking politicians who jumped on some passing bandwagon of belief and expect everyone to go along with them. Just cause they think they know more than they do. Thats their reality.

    raglan • Since Mar 2007 • 1866 posts Report Reply

  • Dennis Frank, in reply to steven crawford,

    Actually that's a very good point Steven. Imagine if she had entered the new year thinking ahead to the election and how to play her part as a Green leader in the campaign. Realising she was running out of time to champion beneficiaries before her political career ended, she could have decided to do so last summer, got her caucus to endorse her strategy, explained her history and consequent motivation to them.

    If they then supported her going public on her past, the election strategy would have been initiated on a consensus basis. Instead, as Kennedy Graham explained to the media, he had been expressing his disapproval privately to the other Green MPs since she announced her stand at our party conference. That means she did not do what the situation obviously required: securing consensus within the caucus before going public with her disclosure. If so, extremely poor political judgment. Even worse, there seems to have been a consequent failure of the party leadership group to manage the consensus process in conformity with the party rules.

    I don't regret going online to support her stand on various blogs. I believe beneficiaries deserve to have someone representing them in parliament. I think the moralistic critique that she had received in the media lacks validity. Her substantial problem is that she's using the leftist parliamentary alignment to alienate GP voters in the general public. Gower said this morning that there'll be a TV3 poll tonight but it probably won't have been taken sufficiently recently to tell us how much her strategy has alienated the GP support base. We'll need to wait for another week for the next one to get insight into that.

    New Zealand • Since Jun 2016 • 292 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel,

    https://www.stuff.co.nz/entertainment/tv-radio/95561985

    Less than seven weeks to go until the election, and so far there doesn't seem to be one broadcast interview that's got the audience enthused and infuriated.
    But on Tuesday, Morning Report co-host Guyon Espiner's interview with Greens co-leader James Shaw raised a few eyebrows. Shaw appeared to be a little perturbed during the nearly 12-minute-long exchange on Radio NZ dealing with the kerfuffle in the party following co-leader Metiria Turei's admission of benefit fraud, which has led to two MPs getting booted from the party caucus.

    Susie Ferguson wasn't much better with Metiria this morning - let them finish their sentences!

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7866 posts Report Reply

  • steven crawford, in reply to Ian Dalziel,

    Susie Ferguson wasn’t much better with Metiria this morning – let them finish their sentences!

    That’s was happening when Espiner was interviewing the speaker of the house about why the report about the Auditor-General was not being released to the media now!. Espiner was so busy reprimanding the person that we almost didn’t become any the wiser. That interview style just informs me that Espiner might not be very good at his craft.

    Atlantis • Since Nov 2006 • 4163 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Tom Semmens,

    stunt of political betrayal

    There's an interesting tendency for some in Labour to regard left-leaning voters as theirs by divine right, to be 'stolen' by other parties.

    This Greens policy announcement being over-personalised is not good politics, and it would certainly have cost Labour some votes on both edges but I doubt that was some cunning dastardly intent. More of a cock-up.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19661 posts Report Reply

  • Katharine Moody, in reply to Craig Young,

    Action Station put up a Facebook post along those lines, pointing out:

    Do you know what's robbing the tax payer? Spending nearly $50 million on benefit fraud investigations, uncovering $24 million and only recovering $5 million.
    Yet, tax fraud investigations have uncovered $1.2 billion, spent $169.77 million and recovered $362.8 million.

    Put another way, for every dollar we spend on investigating welfare discrepancies, we get $0.09, and for tax fraud, we get $6.07!

    If you were the Minister of Finance or Revenue, where would you focus your efforts?

    And linked to this article;

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/dominion-post/news/88924330/Benefit-fraud-v-tax-avoidance-why-is-one-dealt-with-more-harshly-by-courts

    Wellington • Since Sep 2014 • 797 posts Report Reply

  • izogi, in reply to Sacha,

    There's an interesting tendency for some in Labour to regard left-leaning voters as theirs by divine right, to be 'stolen' by other parties.

    In Ohariu last year I remember people being distraught that all those Tane Woodley (G) voters hadn't voted for Anderson (L) and kicked Dunne out, but there's arrogance in presuming that others should think like you just because they dislike someone you also dislike. It's not like some National supporters don't do it too, though. It's just less of an issue presently because National seems to be the only significant party in that region. ACT and UF are both, more or less, National's puppet parties who exist at National's pleasure for the purpose of cheating proportional outcomes towards the "right" result (to which National is entitled)... or at least that's the narrative.

    But as soon as it looks as if either large centre party might need to negotiate with a smaller party, the whole thing becomes about the tail wagging the dog. "How DARE a smaller party be allowed to influence the entity that's most entitled, by right, to govern!! Greens should stick to the niche of environmental policy!! They should all be relieved that we speak to them at all, but instead they're trying to dictate what we do."

    Wellington • Since Jan 2007 • 1139 posts Report Reply

  • dave stewart,

    This whole shemozzle may be a blessing in disguise: TOP might now pick up just enough extra votes (than it otherwise would have) to get to that all important 5%, and save TOP votes from being wasted votes. My biggest worry about this election is that a whole lot of TOP votes will probably just get flushed down the toilet - which would advantage the incumbents more than the line up for change? Although just like NZF, TOP could swing either way? Complicated!

    Since Aug 2014 • 37 posts Report Reply

  • izogi, in reply to dave stewart,

    a whole lot of TOP votes will probably just get flushed down the toilet - which would advantage the incumbents more than the line up for change?

    Would it necessarily? Lost votes, sure, but advantaging the incumbents? I've seen assumptions that TOP's getting so much support from traditional Green voters but I know at least one steady National advocate who's now seriously considering switching to TOP, and I've wondered how many others there might be. In that case I guess it depends on why a former National voter was voting that way previously, and I bet there are any number of complex reasons for people voting as they do.

    Wellington • Since Jan 2007 • 1139 posts Report Reply

  • Tom Semmens, in reply to Sacha,

    This Greens policy announcement being over-personalised is not good politics, and it would certainly have cost Labour some votes on both edges but I doubt that was some cunning dastardly intent. More of a cock-up.

    Oh come now, you surely don't believe that? The timing, the content and the target made the intent unmistakeable.

    I don't think Labour has a God given right to the votes of the left, but that wasn't my point. My point was the Greens made a power play - one that involved trying to shiv Labour, there supposed political ally - and it has backfired on them. The Greens assaulted their gaoler and got a baton across the face for their troubles, but they are behaving as if they are victims of the brutality of the system.

    Sevilla, Espana • Since Nov 2006 • 2210 posts Report Reply

  • andin, in reply to Tom Semmens,

    Far too many analogies going on there.
    People can be brutal. And whats the constituent parts of the system you speak of?

    raglan • Since Mar 2007 • 1866 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Tom Semmens,

    trying to shiv Labour

    Please provide any evidence beyond your reckons that this was their intent.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19661 posts Report Reply

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