Ignorance and discrimination against welfare class shamefully alive and well in NZ

13 Aug 2017


In response to “Honesty is the best policy” (10 August 2017) and so many other letters berating Green Party ex-Co-leader Metiria Turei: let me get this straight, because it’s really important that everyone understands.


On the one hand, a National Party, white, male, married Prime Minister conducts himself in the most morally corrupt way, affecting the whole country, concerning…well, take your pick: a ‘false flag’ referendum (costing NZers $24m); massive fossil fuel corporate welfare (equivalent to, over the years, hundreds of millions in revenue that should’ve gone to health, education, housing…); a climate crisis emissions reduction response so pathetic it’s been internationally berated AND been handed the right royal smack-down in the High Court by a young law student; treasonous TPP negotiations that would sell our nation’s sovereignty down the toilet; establishing NZ as a tax haven, including billions of NZ revenue lost in financial institution tax ‘discounts’ (more corporate welfare destroying NZ’s reputation for transparency and honest dealings)…and the consequence? He gets a Knighthood, and on his way out the door kicks NZ in the guts again by channeling even more millions to the shady Clinton Foundation.


And current National Party, white, male, married Prime Minister Bill English is just as bad: as the Minister of Finance, being responsible for the creation of record-setting child poverty in NZ (what price for our kids’ wellbeing?); exposed in 2009 for fraudulently claiming housing allowances forcing him to pay back $32,000; and now with ‘text Gate’ cover-ups and lies about his role in Todd Barclay’s criminal situation in which the Prime Minister’s parliamentary budget (i.e. significant taxpayer money) was used to help pay a secret settlement to staffer Glenys Dickson. His reward?  He continues happily on as Prime Minister (and a title of ‘Samoan chief’ cherry on top).


By contrast, a  brown, female, then solo parent on the benefit (now Green Party) voluntarily confesses about lying 20+ years ago to a Government Agency so she could (a) provide for herself and her baby, (b) get a tertiary education so she has a better prospect of making it in the world, and (c) raise critical, long-overdue awareness of structural violence and oppression of the WINZ system.  Value of the lie?  A few thousand dollars (which she immediately agreed she’d pay back).  Consequence? Ruthless public demonization of not just her but her extended family, and the end of her political career. Way ta say “Thanks, New Zealand!"


To say the optics look bad on the utterly astounding and sickening level of hypocrisy and ignorance of some New Zealanders right now is being ultra-generous.  I know in NZ there’s always been a deplorable underbelly of the perverse, false narrative that white / male /rich is good and brown / female / poor is bad – but since when has it ever been OK to let that hateful narrative reach such shrill levels in a nation of otherwise decent and compassionate people?


At Friday’s “Meet the Candidates” event, Mana Candidate Hone Harawira hailed Metiria as a wahine toa (heroine) – and I fully agree.  How oppressive does a system have to be, before anyone with basic human rights is morally entitled to exercise their duty as a responsible citizen and rise up against it?  Metiria’s was an act of justified civil disobedience.  Is she perfect?  No!  But show me any politician without ‘sin’ in politics: compared to the rest of them (National especially), she’s downright Angelic.  And you better believe we need more like Metiria in these times of oppressive, corrupt Governance to keep our elected public servants and “the establishment” accountable. 


Remember that, citizens, when you’re voting at the polls this September.

(post-script: this letter made it to the "letters to the Editor" of the Northland Age, 17 August 2017).


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