I have had a – I would not call it a love/hate relationship since it never reached either extremity of how I feel towards the participants – distorted view towards the leader of the Green Party Metiria Turei. I have always been more conservative than the Green Party, but what a dilemma she has thrown the beneficaries of New Zealand into.
After yeas of being in Parliament and nearly 9 years of straight forward election victories in heavy favour of National, Metiria Turei might have finally committed a fatal stroke as co-leader of the Green Party. Her coming clean on benefit fraud and admitting she has indulged in the lower end of the offending range for this looked like it just might pay off until about Thursday morning New Zealand time. At this point, Ms Turei went and played a card that will reverberate for a few years by announcing she used to do the ver thing that National and A.C.T attack people for: being on the benefit, justified or not.
There is one unfortunate truth now more than ever before that even Metiria Turei will have to admit to. Her career is in jeopardy. It was an admirable gamble to come clean on such an action as that which got her into this mess in the first place – admitting you have done wrong – even if it is somewhat historic – and signalling you are willing to take the consequences when you are in such a place as a New Zealand Member of Parliament, carries huge risks.
Metiria Turei knew that when she made the initial statement of guilt. Yes it opened up a can of baby rattle snakes – all of them poisonous! – by giving the Government reasons it could have only dreamed of, to launch an all out attack on the Greens
But when Ms Turei went one step further and said two days ago that she had used an address that she was not living at to justify her conduct, perhaps we should not be surprised that in the space of a few hours an audacious gamble has backfired so catastrophically. For many many New Zealanders that was just a bridge too far. Those that might have risen to her defence in the initial phase and said “Okay, she’s admitted to something daft, but we need her on board – can’t happen if she quits” – must now be thinking “Oh dear Metiria, but what the heck were you thinking?
I seriously wonder now, how much Ms Turei is regretting the sustained rage emanating from the front line of National defenders. Their calls for her head following this are not surprising in the least. Members who might have voted for her instead of Labour during its week period are now suddenly being forced to think whether N.Z. First is a viable alternative.
I seriously wonder if Ms Turei realises that she has torpedoed below the water line any chance of her ever holding a Ministerial portfolio. Labour leader Jacinda Ardern has said no. A.C.T. leader David Seymour want her gone.
I personally am not yet ready to see her go, but she deserves the election rap that I think is now a certainty to hit the Greens. If it brings a centre-left Government, Winston Peters and New Zealand First might not be such a bad vote to cast after all.