The Green Party has entered an unprecedented level of chaos, and all the blame can fall upon their leader Metiria Turei.
Supporters of Turei, while well-meaning, are frankly in a state of denial right now. Some of them have gone on the attack and chosen to label critics as having a double standard and a bias towards the more privileged in New Zealand society. This couldn’t be further from the truth, and if anyone has a double standard here, it’s Turei.
This is the single worst week in the history of The Green Party and it also comes at a time when their friends at the Labour Party are in a state of rebuild.
After admitting to several counts of benefit fraud – Turei (an experienced MP who should know better) dug her heels in and refused to stand down from her position as leader of the Greens.
Since then, what has followed can be described as nothing more than chaos.
Two MP’s have decided to remove themselves from the situation, another has attacked the media for what she calls “media coverage that is completely disproportionate” to the actions of the Party’s leader, and New Zealanders have divided themselves over the question of if Turei is a victim in this situation.
With threats of the news finally being leaked to the media prior to the 2017 election, Turei admitted to her actions, and the whole fiasco has flipped into overdrive since.
There is no denying that the benefit system in New Zealand needs some fixing, and fast. But, don’t limit this to a conversation that shifts focus away from the actions of Turei. She’s known of her actions for several years, and with her experience in Parliament, she also knows exactly how the system works.
Would Turei have come out and made this admission if she wasn’t aware leaks were coming? Arguably not. But her defenders will overlook that reality and remain in staunch denial, and much like Turei herself, it’s a denial that will ultimately cost the election.