Metiria Turei's admission about past rule breaking looks to have cost her a ministerial position, even if the Greens are part of Government after September. That's a pretty heavy penalty for being overly silly some twenty-four years ago.

While I can’t go so far as to claim Metiria Turei as a full friend, she certainly is someone that I’m friendly with. I’ve been to a party at her home, through my wife’s work with a local sustainable energy trust. I’m certainly on happy-smiles-and-stop-to-chat-on-the-street terms.

So a friendly acquaintance, if you will.

That relationship (such as it is) then creates some awkwardness when commenting on her recent false-electoral enrolment kerfuffle. I’m inclined to think the best of her and view her actions in a not-unfavourable light because, hey, we want to like the people we like. But at the same time, she’s accused of breaching electoral law - my academic area of speciality. And given I talk publicly on so much else, I hardly can go silent and run deep when the issue involves someone that I personally know.

With that disclaimer on the table for you to keep in mind, let’s get straight to the heart of the matter. Turei almost certainly broke the law when she enrolled to vote at her child’s father’s address back in 1993. In her public statement on the matter, she said:

“I did not live at the same address as the father of my child. I was, however, enrolled to vote at the same address as him, which was in the Mt Albert electorate.”

And in an earlier interview with John Campbell on RNZ’s Checkpoint, she said:

“I wasn’t living in that house. And this will sound really dorky, and I totally understand that, but I put myself on the electoral roll there because at the time, the 1993 election, my best friend was standing for election in that seat, and I wanted to support her.”

Given that Turei clearly did not regard this address as being “her home by reason of family or personal relations, or for other domestic or personal reasons” – indeed, may never have resided there at any point – filling out an enrolment application listing it as her residence was a “false statement or declaration” under s.66 of the Electoral Act 1956 (as it was then). That offence then carries a notional punishment of up to 3 months imprisonment.

So much for the legalities of the situation. But how big of a deal is this really?

Well, as all the best political commentators say, clearly it is not a good look. An MP who admits she deliberately broke electoral rules, even if some 24 years ago, is on decidedly uncomfortable territory. Especially one who is busy trying to get young people to take the electoral process seriously, enrol to vote and then actually do so to change the Government.

And her reason for deliberately breaking the law – so she could cast a vote for a friend – hardly carries the same moral weight as her defence of claiming a benefit to which she legally was not entitled. Getting Mt Albert’s McGillicuddy Serious Party Candidate up from 194 votes to 195 votes is not really in the same ballpark as making sure your young child has enough food to eat.

So Turei might legitimately be accused of being somewhat feckless, as if she didn’t really need to bother with inconvenient laws that stopped her doing what she wanted to do. At a time, we might remember, when she was studying for her LLB degree (albeit only at Auckland University, so let’s not get too overexcited on that score).

Having set out the evidence for the prosecution, let me try and wind things back a notch. First up, although her actions were an offence, a 23-year-old student doing the same thing today almost certainly would not be prosecuted for it. In 2005, for instance, some joker who openly bragged to the media about deliberately enrolling his dog to vote simply was required to apologise to the electoral authorities for making them look bad.

And there is zero chance that Turei herself will be prosecuted for this particular historic action. Under a provision of the Crimes Act in place at the time, offending such as hers had a 10-year limitation period applied to it. Only if the Attorney General authorises a prosecution can one now occur – and this authorisation will never be given (even if asked for).

[Edit: As per comment below, the offence was a summary one, so the time limit on prosecution actually is six months after its commission ... .]

That then leaves the question of how much moral or political opprobrium to level at Turei for her actions. Well, I guess that depends how harshly you want to judge a late-40s person for the fun-at-the-time-but-dumb-in-hindsight mistakes made in their early 20s.

Treating the electoral system’s rules as a bit of a joke (she was in a political party called “McGillicuddy Serious”, for crying out loud) seems to me to be pretty much at the lower end of that stupid shit scale. It certainly ranks below “got pissed but drove home anyway” – a crime I’m pretty sure many of our current MPs committed in their youth, but you can bet will never ‘fess up to.

So Turei has to live with what she did some 24-years ago – and as I have been typing this, I see she’s accepted the price of those actions includes forgoing a ministerial role in any post-September alternative Government. That’s a pretty heavy personal cost for her to bear, given that she’s waited some 15 years to have a chance at actually making the changes she wants for New Zealand.

And personally, I’m not sure her youthful crimes really warrant such a penalty. But then again, I am a friendly acquaintance. 

Comments (47)

by Ian MacKay on August 04, 2017
Ian MacKay

Awful to use "They did it too" but did Mr English enrol to vote in Clutha while clearly living in Wellington? Same for Mr and Mrs Key? If they did so should they also be publicly chastised?

by Chuck Bird on August 04, 2017
Chuck Bird

"Meterei Turei almost certainly broke the law when she enrolled to vote at her child’s father’s address back in 1993."

Andrew you would have difficuty getting a job as a prosecutor.  There is no certainy at all that she broke electoral law.  Have you considered the possibity that she has lied to WINZ about her registering at her child's father's electorate to claim she was not living with him while on the DPB a serious offence?  The woman is a pathological liar. 

It seems it okay when the left commit crime.  Barclay was about 24 when he may have committed a crime and David Garrett was 27 when he did something stupid for no financial profit.

by Andrew Geddis on August 04, 2017
Andrew Geddis

@Chuck,

Barclay (may have) broken the law as a 24 year old ... but is being judged on the fact he (may have done so) as a sitting MP. We judge an MP in their 20s at a higher standard than a student. But even so, should people still look at Barclay when he is in his mid-40s and judge his worth based on that one action? I'd hope not.

Garrett's particular form of stupidity impacted others ... the parents of the child whose identity he stole. Then he tried to keep the offence secret, sought a discharge without conviction and name suppression whilst campaigning on a "get tough on crime/open justice" platform. It was the coverup, not the original offence, that did him in.

So, it's not that "it okay when the left commit crime". It's just that not all crimes are the same.

by Andrew Geddis on August 04, 2017
Andrew Geddis

@Ian,

Different, I think.

English was entitled to enrol in Dipton as his "home by reason of family or personal relations, or for other domestic or personal reasons”. The fact he was absent in Wellington for long periods (as his job required) doesn't remove that entitlement.

Key owned property in Helensville and conceivably could have enrolled there intending to reside in that property. So you'd have trouble proving that he knowingly and willfully made a false statement at the time he enrolled at it (even if he never did subsequently reside there).

by Alan Johnstone on August 04, 2017
Alan Johnstone

“I did not live at the same address as the father of my child. I was, however, enrolled to vote at the same address as him, which was in the Mt Albert electorate.”

The problem everyone has is we're being asked to take this statement at face value and trust her work as being true. She repeatedly lied to WINZ over many years about her domestic position (her baby wasn't going to starve, none did) and she also at a minimum lied to about her residence.

How do we know she wasn't really living with the father of child? Did he really make no contributions to his daughters upbringing ? He's an awful man if it's true.

She’s a serial liar who has proven herself willing to say whatever best suits her circumstances. Butterfly on a wheel was used in the Jagger / Richards case, a true victimless crime, every single taxpyer here is a victim.

For some context, I'm a habitual Labour voter but I'd have gone to NZF if Jacinda hadn't ruled her out today.

 

by Peter Green on August 04, 2017
Peter Green

I would hope that electoral law is read fairly liberally, and so "other domestic or personal reasons" would quite probably cover "wanting to claim a very large housing allowance".

by Graeme Edgeler on August 04, 2017
Graeme Edgeler

Under a provision of the Crimes Act in place at the time, offending such as hers had a 10-year limitation period applied to it. Only if the Attorney General authorises a prosecution can one now occur – and this authorisation will never be given (even if asked for).

A little knowledge is a dangerous thing :-)

The Crimes Act is irrelevant. This was a summary offence, so the Crimes Act limitation provision doesn't apply. Instead, the Summary Proceedings Act time limit of six months applies instead.

by Ross on August 04, 2017
Ross

It was the coverup, not the original offence, that did him in.

But hasn't Turei covered up possible offending for more than 20 years?

What Turei hasn't mentioned is where she was living at the time she was claiming the DPB. The possibility exists that she was enrolled in two different electorates and may have voted in two different electorates at the same time. If indeed that is the case, I'd imagine that would be a fairly serious matter.

by william blake on August 04, 2017
william blake

Elephants in the room, white boys?

by Nick Gibbs on August 04, 2017
Nick Gibbs

And as I understand it, the father of her child never supported her or the child financially, yet was on positive enough terms with Meteria to collect her mail from the electoral office and join in on her fraud. 

by Tim Darlington on August 04, 2017
Tim Darlington

Who breaks a butterfly on a wheel?

Right-wingers, apparently.  If nothing else, current and future politicians are getting an object lesson in why you shouldn't be honest about any youthful indiscretions.  

This latest furore about Turei registering in an electorate she didn't live in smacks of the law forbidding the rich as well as the poor from stealing a loaf of bread.  If John Key wants to vote in an electorate he doesn't live in, nae bother pal - just buy a house there and suddenly it's "within the rules" (candidate for most-used phrase by Nat and ACT politicians).  23-year-old broke Maori wants to vote in an electorate she doesn't live in, on the other hand - gosh, what a serious crime, it mustn't go unpunished decades later.  

by Henry Barnard on August 05, 2017
Henry Barnard

Like Peter, I am a little puzzled as to what does and doesn't count as a "personal" reason for declaring a particular residence your home?  Could, for example, one say that one's "family" home is one's home? Could one declare a particular residence one's "home" because it constitutes ones turangawaewae, even if one has never lived there? Could one declare a particular residence one's home because its a way of supporting a friend (how much more `personal' can one get?)?
 

It would be helpful to have clarity on this.  Thanks.

by Chuck Bird on August 05, 2017
Chuck Bird

We may get to see what the the Court thinks of this fraudster now that Graham McCready is considering a private prosecution.

I am pleased to see today's Herald editorial.

Weekend Herald editorial: Second dishonest act makes Turei a liability

http://www.nzherald.co.nz/opinion/news/article.cfm?c_id=466&objectid=118...

by Henry Barnard on August 05, 2017
Henry Barnard

And a follow up to my earlier question on clarifying what the term "personal reason" might be in the context of the electoral act: if it is the case that it is a very "flexible" term, and that, in fact, she didn't even come close to any kind of `fraud', then wouldn't it be the case that those claiming she had committed electoral fraud be coming close to, if not actually, being defamatory?

by Robert Eddes on August 05, 2017
Robert Eddes

If the priviledged white men commenting about the  two decades old "crime" went after those who deliberately avoid paying child support they would save this country millions and probably lose all their friends.

There are many injustices in our system and Turei is not worth the time and effort which is no doubt about to be made to show everyone just how powerful the law can be against a single mother who's greatest crime appears to be (ironically) honesty.

by Dennis Frank on August 05, 2017
Dennis Frank

Polls will soon tell us if she has become a liability for the Greens.  Personally, I've always considered her one - next year it'll be half a century since I acquired the green outlook on life and I can see a pretender a mile off.  Those who jumped onto the bandwagon when the Greens got into parliament in order to have a political career while waving the green flag of convenience never had any credibility.

That said, I disagree with much of the critique.  Like Andrew, I'm sceptical that such behaviour in one's early/mid twenties is a good enough reason to consider her an unsuitable parliamentarian now.  The Herald editorial missed that point:  the sleaze factor operating in the Nats is happening now.  Comparing current behaviour on one side with historical behaviour on the other is feeble logic.  Moralising, posturing.  When your business is failing, go down with the ship by scrabbling up the mast bleating as loudly as possible.  It'll impress the audience.

Beneficiaries are a significant portion of the electorate.  They ought to have representation in parliament.  Have you noticed any other parliamentarian declaring their intention to represent them?  She deserves credit for volunteering.  If she toughs it out, she'll be a suitable rep for them (even if not for the Greens).

 

by Chuck Bird on August 05, 2017
Chuck Bird

"Beneficiaries are a significant portion of the electorate.  They ought to have representation in parliament."

Criminals are a significant portion of the electorate.  Should they also have representation in Parliament?

Someone should ask her if her child was going hungery

"Beneficiaries are a significant portion of the electorate.  They ought to have representation in parliament."

Criminals are a significant portion of the electorate.  Should they also have representation in Parliament?

Someone should ask her if her child was going hungry if she used cloth nappies which save a lot of money and are good for the environment – something the Greens claim to care about.

by Andrew Geddis on August 05, 2017
Andrew Geddis

@Henry,

The law relating to residence under the Electoral Act has some flexibility to accomodate people's various living arrangements, but it is not infinite. You can't just nominate anywhere as being your "residence". In particular, you must actually have "resided" at an address for at least a month before you are entitled to enrol at it. And there's no evidence Turei ever lived at ("resided" at) the Mt Albert address - she herself says she used it (knowing she wasn't really allowed to) simply so she could vote for her friend.

Here's what the Electoral Commission says:

You 'reside' at the place where you choose to make your home because of family or personal relations or for other domestic or personal reasons. Just because you may be occasionally or temporarily absent from that place does not mean that you do not reside there. Being absent from your place of residence because of your employment or education (or your spouse's employment or education) does not affect it either. The most important factor in working out where you reside is where you choose to make your home.

by Tim Darlington on August 05, 2017
Tim Darlington

The most important factor in working out where you reside is where you choose to make your home.

That would exclude John Key registering to vote in his electorate on the basis that he owned a house there.  It's pretty clear he chose to make his home in Parnell, not his electorate.  Perhaps the Weekend Herald's editorial writer can only identify electoral fraud when National's spin doctors are pointing it out for them.

by Stephen Todd on August 05, 2017
Stephen Todd

Tim, as I understand it, John Key was/is registered in Epsom and votes there.  He was never registered in Helensville (he didn't/doesn't live there) and didn't vote for himself there.

by Alan Johnstone on August 05, 2017
Alan Johnstone

@Robert

Do you really have to bring race into this? What possible relevence does it have ?

by Daniel Laird on August 05, 2017
Daniel Laird

@Stephen Todd, your understanding would be incorrect:

"The former banker, who owns six New Zealand homes, said he made the change to clear up potential misunderstanding. Mr Key and his wife, Bronagh, are listed in electoral rolls for 2002, 2003, and 2004 as "residing" at a Waimauku address in the Helensville electorate, but have never lived there."

http://www.nzherald.co.nz/helensville/news/article.cfm?l_id=400&objectid...

 

by Dennis Frank on August 05, 2017
Dennis Frank

So, the Herald reporter wrote that Key never lived at the Waimauku address that the electoral rolls of 2002-4 specify as his residence.  If this is true, it puts him in the same false declaration situation as Metiria Turei, doesn't it?  Andrew implied above that Key may have declared the intent to live there, and subsequently changed his mind.  So, to get off the moral hook, Metiria just needs to explain that she had intended to live there with the father of her child when she made her residence declaration, but later changed her mind.  Just like Key.

by Dennis Frank on August 05, 2017
Dennis Frank

Hmm, the plot thickens...  "Otago University law professor Andrew Geddis said a person could only enrol at a place where they had been a resident for at least one month and they must enrol at the place they last resided at."  That implies that Key broke the law, doesn't it?  I found this quote from an RNZ report here:  http://www.noted.co.nz/currently/politics/metiria-turei-admits-enrolling...

Even if so, no big deal because we now have a bunch of laws that we can't fund prosecutions for.  Fake laws - appropriate for a society feeding off fake news, eh?

by Stephen Todd on August 05, 2017
Stephen Todd

Thanks, Daniel.  I stand corrected.

I am no apologist for Sir John, but I have no doubt he made an honest mistake, especially given that he arrived back in New Zealand about 2001/02, after many years away, and quite possibly was not only ignorant of the law, but "his people" neglected to point out that what he had done was unlawful (if they realised it).  (I know, ignorance is no excuse, etc., etc.)

Metiria's situation is quite different.  Back when she was young, silly (in my view), and probably had little or no clue about the relevant electoral law (and possibly cared even less), she registered in the Mt Albert electorate, to vote for a friend, while living (I think) in the Eden electorate.  Quite possibly, she felt she that was hardly a crime, if only because the father of her daughter owned/lived at, the address she registered at, and, let's face it, because she probably spent at least some time/the odd night, there.

She also probably did not register at an address in New Lynn, where she stood as a candidate - so she could vote for herself, if that is what she wanted to do, which it would appear she didn't, particularly - because she had no real association with any address there, and probably would have felt at least uncomfortable (from a legal and/or personal point of view) in doing that.

Yes, given her admission that she did it to vote for a friend, it could be said she committed electoral fraud in 1993.  In the greater scheme of things, today, it is a non-issue.  (And it was probably a one-off, unlike, I now see, with Sir John.)

I imagine Metiria will need to explain to WINZ exactly where she was living, and with whom, during the period she was in receipt of the DPB.  If it turns out she was living with the father of her daughter at any point during that period, then she may well end up having to resign from parliament.

Dennis: Given her admission last week that she registered in Mt Albert so she could vote for her friend (K Julian; E. 9 publication), changing her mind as to her intention then, is hardly an option now if she wishes to retain any credibility at all.

by Dennis Frank on August 05, 2017
Dennis Frank

Stephen, the flaw in your logic lies in your assumption that people only ever have a single reason for doing something.  In real life, they actually often have many reasons for taking a particular action, or making a decision.  I've noticed that at times in the past when asked to explain why I did something or decided I intended to do something.  It's a confluence of factors that operate in the causation process to produce the output.

You may object that she only mentioned one reason.  That too is human nature.  We tend to recall the motivation that sticks in our mind - the other motivations that applied drop off our radar.  And you know how keen the media are to reduce complex answers to a single simple point.  Politicians learn to keep their answers short enough to fit in the standard seven second sound-bite, a formula standardised during the decade I spent editing stories in the TVNZ newsroom.

by Henry Barnard on August 06, 2017
Henry Barnard

Dennis, my reading of the news report about John Key's `residence' status between 2002 and 2004 is that "private legal opinion", electoral officials and the Clerk of the House, Dennis McGee, QC, all said that it was perfectly OK for him to "deem" his property in Waimaku as his residential address even though he had never actually resided there ever.

So, I am even more confused: what has now become of the requirement to have "resided" at the address for 1 month? John Key didn't and yet all these folk seem to think it is perfectly OK for him to register it as his home for electoral purposes.

 The only reason given for changing to Epsom is to `clear up confusion'.... and nobody seems to have been pursuing this matter much as an issue of `electoral fraud', just `breach of electoral regulations'.  I do wonder what happened to the `complaint' supposedly lodged by Mike Williams. 

by Stephen Todd on August 06, 2017
Stephen Todd

Dennis:  Hmm, in this particular case, is my "logic" really flawed?  She may well have had two or three reasons for registering in Mt Albert, but to go back on the one given (only a few days ago), would surely damage her credibility, irreparably.  Isn't that just a statement of fact?

You said, "So, to get off the moral hook, Metiria just needs to explain that she had intended to live there with the father of her child when she made her residence declaration, but later changed her mind.  Just like Key."  It's too late for that.

If she were to say that at some point in the near future, not only would she would be roundly ridiculed, but she would lose the support of her parliamentary colleagues (because she would be admitting that she was, in effect, intending to defraud Social Welfare by living with the father of her daughter, even if she didn't go through with it), and, consequently, would surely have no choice but to resign her seat.

Also, it would not be "[j]ust like Key."  The circumstances surrounding Sir John's need to clear up "potential misunderstanding" (as reported in the article Daniel brought to my attention) are vastly different to the one now necessitating Metiria coming up with an alternative reason ("I intended to live there, but changed my mind.") to the one given - to vote for her best friend - to get off a "moral hook" 24 years later. 

All I'm really saying is, that in respect of the false electoral address issue, it's hardly something that should "hang" her now.  By way of comparison, surreptitiously recording the conversations of people who work in, and visit, your office, is far worse, especially when the potential damage to those people of doing such a thing is taken into account.

As I said above, what "Metiria just needs to explain" (to WINZ) is exactly what her personal circumstances were while she was receiving the DPB.  The false electoral address issue is neither here nor there.

by Dennis Frank on August 06, 2017
Dennis Frank

Fair enough, Stephen.  The merit in your reasoning is based on how folks will tend to perceive her behaviour.  They can only guess her actual motivations at the time.  Perception trumps reality, particularly in the minds of the younger generations of voters.  I agree with your conclusion (and re Barclay).

But I'm with Henry in seeing the equivalence of her situation with John Key's.  So far, strikes me that equivalence derives from reality more than perception.  The accusation of electoral fraud being aired by the media could equally have been levelled at Key.  Perhaps he wasn't accused because the media and politicians take it for granted that rich white male leaders are above the law and poor brown female leaders aren't?  If so, that answers Alan's question to Robert, above...

by Stephen Todd on August 06, 2017
Stephen Todd

Thanks, Dennis.

Yes, there is an equivalency there, but as neither Metiria nor Sir John are going to be prosecuted by the Electoral Commission, let's leave her to explain her circumstances at the time to WINZ, and Sir John to get on with his life.

The one-month residency requirement is an aspect of the law, though, that perhaps Andrew could discuss/clarify, with particular reference to these two cases.   

 

by Andrew Geddis on August 06, 2017
Andrew Geddis

The one-month residency requirement is an aspect of the law, though, that perhaps Andrew could discuss/clarify, with particular reference to these two cases.  

A person is only qualified to register in an electorate if it is "the last in which that person has continuously resided for a period equalling or exceeding 1 month". So if you have never continuously resided in a given electorate (say, Mt Albert), you simply cannot legally register to vote there, full stop.

If you have continuously resided in a given electorate for at least a month, you may then continue to be registered there even if you physically move somewhere else ... as long as you continue to regard the place you have moved from as being the place that you "choose to make [your] home by reason of family or personal relations, or for other domestic or personal reasons". Hence, Bill English remained enrolled in Dipton well after his professional life took him to live in Wellington because that's where his family farm is and (he'd claim) it's his real "home". 

So, as I understand things:

(1) Turei never lived at her child's father's address, so she could not qualify to register in Mt Albert. She knew that at the time. That's what renders her signed enrolment form false - which she herself effectively has admitted.

(2) Key owned property in Helensville which was never his family's primary home, but we don't know how much time he personally spent at it (i.e. did he stay there a few nights a week while campaigning to first get himself elected as a local MP?) Because as long as he can show some form of "residency" at this address for at least a month, then that gives him the right to enrol at it ... and if he then says he thinks of that Helensville address as being where he "chooses to make his home", he keeps that right. Also note that the offence isn't being enrolled in the wrong electorate ... it is deliberately making an enrolment application that you know to be false ... so even if Key was wrong in thinking he had the legal right to enrol (and remain enrolled) in Helensville based on his property there, he hasn't committed the relevant offence.

All of which is highly technical and legalistic, which I am sure is why Key switched to Epsom once the issue was raised (because he'd look like a right tool if he said publicly that "my family may all live in Parnell, but I think of my true home as being in Helensville"). However, if the issue is "was the law broken?", then matters tend to get technical and legalistic pretty quickly.

by Chuck Bird on August 06, 2017
Chuck Bird

Andrew, can you please explain why you believe that Turei never lived at her child's father's address?

by Stephen Todd on August 06, 2017
Stephen Todd

Thank you for taking the time to respond, Andrew.  Very much appreciated.  That's good enough for me.

Chuck: Andrew "understands" that Metiria "never lived at her child's father's address", no doubt because that is what she has said.  He is taking her at her word.  

by Chuck Bird on August 06, 2017
Chuck Bird

Stephen, I am sure Andrew will like you speaking for him. 

Turei is a confessed liar and welfare cheat.  She did confess to help others on the DPB.  That is another one of her many lies.  She confessed as she suspected she was going to be outed. 

Her actions are going to hurt the people she claims to care about as the vast majority of the public was will be calling for more checks and asking beneficiaries personal questions.

Please tell why believe a petrological liar.  Is it because you are a Green voter?

by Stephen Todd on August 06, 2017
Stephen Todd

Oh, dear, Chuck.  Somehow, I just knew this would be your response.  Can you not just discuss issues with people?  Must your every comment in response to others be a "killer blow"?

It's not so much that I was speaking *for* Andrew - he certainly doesn't need *me* to do that; more that I was simply taking the opportunity (of thanking him) to correct your use of the word 'believe' in place of 'understanding'.  Anyone could have done that; I chose to.

The rest of your response is just supposition and/or your opinions.  I have no interest in responding to them.

by Chuck Bird on August 06, 2017
Chuck Bird

Stephen, Andrew is one of the contributors to the blog or forum.  He wrote a piece that is trying to make a case for Turei’s offending to be insignificant this goes against the view of even Green voters and more so Labour voters.  He is trying to act in a similar way to a defence lawyer.  That is okay but he should base his case on logic not that he has met Turei a few times and thinks she is a good person.  It probably help he is close to her political views.  That would cut no ice a judge or a jury.

Now you say you anticipated my response.  You could have thanked him and I would have not responded to you but you addressed me when my question was to Andrew.

What do you think the purpose of this blog is to try and claim the Labour and Green MPs are honest except when they have to lie and that the others are dishonest?

I honestly do not know the full extent of Turei’s.  Probably only Turia does.  It will be outrageous if she and any others involved are not thoroughly questioned to find inconsistences.  The difference between her and other MPs or former MPs is that she is trying claim she was justified in offending.  That is why I and many others say she is not a fit person to be a law maker.

by Stephen Todd on August 06, 2017
Stephen Todd

Okay, Chuck, a reasonable response, so I'll give you a couple of reactions.

In my assessment, Green voters (51%?) are not happy with her deceiving Social Welfare.  The alleged electoral fraud is, as I maintain, neither here nor there.  She was young (23); silly (but in a nice/good way, in my view); anti-establishment(?); standing for McGillicuddy Serious (in an electorate in which she probably had no association, at all); having fun/a ball; kicking about with her friends; doing her thing. 

Are you saying I can't respond to a question on a public blogsite, because it wasn't put directly to me?  Wow, that's pretty tough.  Have you always held yourself to that standard (particularly at that other blogsite)?  You cannot deny you used the word 'believe' when Andrew actually said 'understand'.  This time, speaking for him (overtly, and without his permission), I have no doubt he has no more idea as to whether or not Metiria Turei lived at the address in question, than you or I do.

As I have said several times (here, and elsewhere), she must explain herself to WINZ.  But, as a politician, she is perfectly free to claim her alleged DPB offending was justified, given her circumstances.  If people - such as yourself - disagree, they are free to vote for a party other than the Greens.  That's democracy.  Your disapproval of Metiria does not necessarily mean she is unfit for office.

In that regard, can you not accept that right-wing, white males, in their seventies, such as yourself, might well have a different view of life than many - almost certainly most - other people?  And that, even though you may not like it, that's the way it is, and that you're just going to have to suck it up?  Just asking.   

by Dennis Frank on August 06, 2017
Dennis Frank

Middle-aged people almost never get judged on their behaviour as young adults.  Using cocaine as a young adult didn't stop Bush Jr becoming president, and there are plenty of other notable examples around.

Andrew did make his case using logic:  the amount of time elapsed, the reluctance of authorities to prosecute, short time limit for prosecution.  How long since anyone got sent to prison for doing what she did?  I suspect many years.  Cops rarely bother investigating burlaries because they're so common now.  Burglary often has a devastating effect on peoples' lives.  Registering at the wrong address doesn't.

As regards the other issue for her - failing to report income from flatmates to WINZ - we have the suitable comparison in how the current PM resolved his equivalent failure to report the correct information and thereby profiting from his false testimony.  He repaid the money after his misbehaviour hit the headlines.  Didn't stop him continuing to serve as cabinet minister.  When she repays what she owes, there'll then be no valid reason she can't become one - despite her past misbehaviour.  There's a principle of equivalence here.  And a principle of rehabilitation.  We expect parliament to operate on a principled (not just legal) basis.

by Andrew Geddis on August 06, 2017
Andrew Geddis

@Chuck,

Because that's what she's said. But you think she's a "pathological" liar. So in the absence of any other information, I don't see how the conversation really can go any further.

by Megan Pledger on August 07, 2017
Megan Pledger

What if you lived in a family home in Wellington Central.  You move to Rongotai to go flatting, your parents sell the house and someone else (unknown to you) moves into it (and your parents move out of Wellington), do you still put your old Wellington Central residence that has someone else living in it as your residence, some other house that you have a connection to in Wellington Central e.g. a friend's house, or is it now hard luck, your only option is Rongotai?  (This isn't particularly related to MT, it's just an interesting problem - we may have all sorts of people laying claim to residing in our homes).

by Chuck Bird on August 07, 2017
Chuck Bird

Andrew

You and some other far left supporters may believe Ms Turei.  However, we will see if IRD and the Electoral Commission does.  Graham McCready has made official complaints on Friday.

Even if she is still in Parliament on 23 September there is no way Winston will accept her as part of a coalition if he is will to accept and of the Green MPs.  If Labour stick to their word and refuse to have a binding referendum on the Maori seats there will be no coalition in any case. 

Labour let alone the Greens are in no position to make bottom lines.  NZF is.  National is smart enough to realise this.  That is why they have not categorically ruled out the re-entry of Pike River or a referendum on the Maori seats.  

by Dennis Frank on August 07, 2017
Dennis Frank

The situation is in flux:  breaking news on TV1 & TV3, Kennedy Graham & David Clendon have both resigned as MPs due to Turei's refusal to resign as co-leader.  Both are senior long-serving stalwarts.  I expect that their reasoning will become public in interviews tomorrow.  I hope that the leftists who still control the party have not succeeded in extracting a pledge of silence from them! 

Andrew, I wonder if the party list created for the election legally applies already?  Perhaps our electoral law binds the Greens into using the old one from the last election until the next election happens.  The media will likely assume the new one already applies and will report the entry into parliament of Chloe Swarbrick & Gholriz Gahraman (http://www.kiwiblog.co.nz/2017/05/final_2017_green_party_list.html).  If the law doesn't permit this, could be embarassing.

by Dennis Frank on August 07, 2017
Dennis Frank

Ah, now looks like the resignations will not take effect until the election, so no legal issue. I'm getting the impression so far that they resigned due to their perception of voter disapproval reinforcing their personal disapproval.  If so, seems premature.  Solidarity on the basis of caucus consensus would have been preferable...

by Gareth on August 08, 2017
Gareth

Andrew,

If Metiria had no more than two "flatmates" and they were contributing towards food, then they would have counted as boarders to WINZ which would not have affected her benefit.
It's possible that this whole event has been about her admitting something she thought was a crime but where she hadn't actually done anything wrong.

https://www.workandincome.govt.nz/map/income-support/core-policy/income/...

by Gareth on August 08, 2017
Gareth

@Dennis
The party list can be withdrawn and a new one posted anytime before noon 28 August.
It's not final until noon 29 August.

by Dennis Frank on August 08, 2017
Dennis Frank

Thanks Gareth.  I presume the Greens will do that sometime soon (with the two names removed).

by Megan Pledger on August 11, 2017
Megan Pledger

In the end, it might be that she did nothing wrong.   She might have thought she did something wrong but that might be more to do with it being 23 years ago and her not really being that au fait with the details of the regulations around flatmates/boarders and electorate residency.  

If she's not leadership material because she didn't see how terrible all the RWNJs would be about this issue then that acutally says more about the RWNJs then about her.  And that's really just a justification they make to themselves so that they can pile on.  

Under those conditions, John Key assaulting and harrassing a waitress, should have disqualified him from leadership as well.  That's a level of carelessness and stupidity that shows zero leadership ability.  But in that case the RWNJs didn't go after Key, they went after the waitress.  And the media abetted them in that case too.

 

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