Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Metiria's Problem

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  • Alfie, in reply to Ian Dalziel,

    Espiner once again won't let people finish a sentence - in his myopic quest for one word answers - or just the answer he wants., irrespective.
    He is getting past his use-by-date.
    Fast becoming a Hosking-light.

    +1

    Espiner demanding a simplistic yes/no answer from Shaw while continually talking over him was just plain rude. Now RNZ is running "Shaw refuses to give answer on benefit fraud" as their top news headline this morning.

    RNZ can and should be better than this.

    Dunedin • Since May 2014 • 1381 posts Report Reply

  • Neil,

    What strikes me about this is how it highlights the difficulties of running a society.

    If a party of like minds and of high principle can so quickly fall into bitter factional infighting what hope that national politics could ever be smooth and easy.

    It's easy to identify problems, much harder in reality to fix them.

    And that mix of identity vs class vs environment is a potent brew.

    Since Nov 2016 • 346 posts Report Reply

  • william blake, in reply to Ian Dalziel,

    Fast becoming a Hosking-light

    Like a night light but really scary.

    Since Mar 2010 • 378 posts Report Reply

  • Angela Hart, in reply to Russell Brown,

    She was impressive – and showed a degree of grace that perhaps some of the party’s activists could take a lesson from.

    Hear, hear.

    Christchurch • Since Apr 2014 • 614 posts Report Reply

  • Rob Stowell, in reply to Alfie,

    Espiner demanding a simplistic yes/no answer from Shaw while continually talking over him was just plain rude.

    He seems to keep missing the point by miles. Moral decisions are seldom clear black and white.
    Is ‘lying to a public official’ generally a good thing? Probably not – IF you live in a fair and honest society. (To make the point in a highly exaggerated, but hopefully clear way, in Nazi Germany, if the public official is asking where your Jewish neighbours are, it’s likely we’d call lying heroic.)
    We need to ask: do we live in a fair and honest society, where public officials are there to help? And: is it possible that not reporting honestly to WINZ is wrong, but also on at least some occasions the lesser of two evils (the larger and more looming evil being unable to pay the rent, and thus not having a home?)
    Can public debate right now even begin to engage with this level of moral complexity? When the big question is simply ‘do you condone benefit fraud?’ and/or the assumption is ‘the Greens condone benefit fraud’ we’re shouting past each other, and no one is listening.

    Whakaraupo • Since Nov 2006 • 2090 posts Report Reply

  • andin, in reply to Rob Stowell,

    When the big question is simply ‘do you condone benefit fraud?’

    I wonder if there was any moral anguishing by the axeman as he stepped up to chop someones hand off for stealing bread to feed a family. Yes, that has happened in our not so glorious past as a species. This is a sort of Marie Antionette moment for a lot of people it seems. Cant see past their own moral uprightness.

    raglan • Since Mar 2007 • 1881 posts Report Reply

  • Dennis Frank, in reply to Rob Stowell,

    Yes Rob, quite right. That's why I supported her stand. Now that it seems the damage is greater than I expected, I'm becoming critical of her stand. It is a complex situation, multidimensional, in which the truth has many sides. Ultimately, losing control of the political narrative may result in no change to the govt at the election. A political leader polarising folks and thereby defeating her own side is incompetent, and the next polls may reveal this stark reality.

    New Zealand • Since Jun 2016 • 292 posts Report Reply

  • andin, in reply to Dennis Frank,

    A political leader polarising folks

    folks that it seems want to be polarised

    raglan • Since Mar 2007 • 1881 posts Report Reply

  • izogi,

    Has Turei actually come out anywhere saying she condones beneficiaries breaking the law?

    Maybe she has, but in the mess of so many people screaming that she has, I can't seem to find a clear reference.

    The most I've found with a moderate search is her saying that she doesn't regret saying she did it, which is a completely different thing.

    Wellington • Since Jan 2007 • 1139 posts Report Reply

  • steven crawford,

    We need to ask: do we live in a fair and honest society, where public officials are there to help? And: is it possible that not reporting honestly to WINZ is wrong, but also on at least some occasions the lesser of two evils (the larger and more looming evil being unable to pay the rent, and thus not having a home?)

    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.

    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. Needing to commit benefit fraud to “feed a baby”, is complete bullshit. It might however be the case today, but it wasn’t back then. I know, I was there then, on a benifit, and I moveed in the same circles. The main reason to commit benefit fraud back then was to have a better home in a better street in a better nabourhood. Servival is not the word I’d use. Servival is what people who live on the street with mental illness do.

    I’m not judging anyone for having done that, it’s easily rationalised by people who feel disenfranchised. But I’m seeing a bit arrogant of entitlement in the “confession”.It would have been a little more paliable with a bit more humility, and um, honesty. The extra bit of accommodation, isn’t the difference between getting a law degree and not. And needing to feed a baby? Enough already, that’s emotive bollocks that’s not going to bring anyone who’s not already onboard, on. It’s just going to feed the benefit bashing trolls.

    Atlantis • Since Nov 2006 • 4306 posts Report Reply

  • steven crawford,

    We need to ask: do we live in a fair and honest society, where public officials are there to help? And: is it possible that not reporting honestly to WINZ is wrong, but also on at least some occasions the lesser of two evils (the larger and more looming evil being unable to pay the rent, and thus not having a home?)

    Whoops, I got so far into my rant, I forgot to anwser these questions.

    The anwsers are yes and no.

    having to keep a roof over the family’s head, definitely tests people’s codes of conduct. That’s also true of people who earn high wages and own there own million dollar homes.

    Atlantis • Since Nov 2006 • 4306 posts Report Reply

  • dave stewart, in reply to dave stewart,

    Gullible old me didn't pick up on the irony - but not surprising given some of the hysterical and spiteful nonsense being spouted about!

    Since Aug 2014 • 37 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart, in reply to steven crawford,

    Needing to commit benefit fraud to “feed a baby”, is complete bullshit. It might however be the case today, but it wasn’t back then.

    I was on a benefit with children in the nineties, and I can remember standing in the kitchen of our tiny ex-state-house rental crying because Plunket was on our case over our baby not gaining weight and I was already spending $20 a week on baby rice and steaming veggies to feed him and it was half our food budget.

    We had a panel heater in the bedroom our two kids shared that had a thermostat. I had it set to 12 degrees, because that was as warm as I could afford to run it, and yes it turned on, because the house was so cold. That's not warm enough to keep kids healthy.

    We didn't commit benefit fraud, but it wasn't out of ethics, it was out of pure fear. And we did not have enough money to keep our kids healthy.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4650 posts Report Reply

  • izogi, in reply to izogi,

    Just replying to my own comment, the most I've been able to find from Metiria Turei is along the lines of:

    "I will never condemn a beneficiary for working as hard as they can to put food on the table and a roof over their head."

    While Turei said she could not condemn those who lied to Winz to protect their children, she did not go as far as saying she would encourage beneficiaries to cheat the system.

    From http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11894932

    I still can't find anywhere where she actually condones people breaking the law, but plenty of people seem to be out there shouting that that's exactly what she's said.

    Wellington • Since Jan 2007 • 1139 posts Report Reply

  • Dennis Frank, in reply to izogi,

    That'd be because her political opponents are spinning that line. Human nature to misrepresent what others say. Interpretation is a subjective process. We interpret according to our social context, which is constituted by our niche in the ecosystem, our power relations, our origin, our education, and our values - which tend to arise from all of those put together.

    New Zealand • Since Jun 2016 • 292 posts Report Reply

  • steven crawford, in reply to Emma Hart,

    I was on a benefit with children in the nineties, and I can remember standing in the kitchen of our tiny ex-state-house rental crying because Plunket was on our case over our baby not gaining weight and I was already spending $20 a week on baby rice and steaming veggies to feed him and it was half our food budget.

    I’m sorry to have coursed offence. I know different people have different resources available. I was blessed with having good social networks. The same as Metiria Turei. I don’t doubt people had it tough in more isolated situations.

    Ps: And I used the accomodation supplement to help pay the mortgage when I was on a student allowance. I was strongly motivated to claim the maximum, by being a parent of a young child.

    Atlantis • Since Nov 2006 • 4306 posts Report Reply

  • 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"

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19680 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz,

    Just to say that (as noted previously) I was toying with the idea of voting for TOP or National (I'd never vote Labour) but now I'm firm on voting Green, provided Mets is still leader at the election, just out of solidarity with her for staunching it out.

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 5550 posts Report Reply

  • steven crawford, in reply to Rich of Observationz,

    Your the man! I'm still floating:-)

    Atlantis • Since Nov 2006 • 4306 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel, in reply to Dennis Frank,

    A political leader polarising folks and thereby defeating her own side is incompetent, and the next polls may reveal this stark reality.

    They stand to lose a lot more by resiling from the position they have taken so far.
    There is a lot of clamour, and shouting from the usual suspects and the commentariat, but that is still a very small number of people.

    In the immortal words of Donald Trump "time will tell, time will tell".

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7886 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia, in reply to Russell Brown,

    She was impressive – and showed a degree of grace that perhaps some of the party’s activists could take a lesson from.

    Perhaps a lesson that could be taken by Kennedy Graham who was all over the media telling party activists to "stop inflaming" a fire he started and plenty of others have been cheerfully pouring fuel on. There does come a point where clutching your invisible pearls when you get exactly the reaction you're fishing for just isn't credible.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Campbell,

    To me the issue is very simple, if the law let's children go without food, for any reason, the law is an arse, and needs to be changed

    Metiria is shining the public spotlight on this ugly corner of our society at risk to her own future, that makes her a step above those people who are guarding their precious status quo and quietly sweeping the hungry and homeless under their rug of mediocrity

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 2605 posts Report Reply

  • Rob Stowell, in reply to steven crawford,

    In the mid nineties, it was possible to rent heathy accommodation in Auckland, and have a healthy diet, and do tertiary education whilst on a benefit. Needing to commit benefit fraud to “feed a baby”, is complete bullshit.

    What you seem to be saying is the ’91 benefit cuts had no impact on poverty. That’s a big claim that needs a bit more than anecdote to back it up. Runs counter to eg research cited in this Brian Easton paper.
    It’s also hard to remember now how high unemployment was in the early nineties. Close to 12% – it really wasn’t that easy to find a job, and if you did there was someone else not getting it.
    It wasn't an easy time.

    Whakaraupo • Since Nov 2006 • 2090 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen, in reply to Paul Campbell,

    Metiria is shining the public spotlight on this ugly corner of our society

    The problem as always is a lazy, under-resourced, inexperienced media.

    It was always much easier to chase after the "Meteria story" than to dive into the morass of our welfare system and drag the problems into the light.

    Even now places that promised better journalism (The Newsroom) are far happier talking about the politicians and politics than actually looking hard at the issues Ms Turei raised and the policies that created them.

    You can proclaim all you like that "it was always going to be about her" but that is just accepting the Garners and Gowers as normal and right.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4450 posts Report Reply

  • izogi,

    This evening's Checkpoint sent Mihingarangi Forbes to Manurewa today to ask people what they think about Turei and benefits. There's a strong contrast in that coverage to what I'm seeing in much traditional and social media.

    Ref: http://www.radionz.co.nz/national/programmes/checkpoint/audio/201853999/manurewa-voters-have-their-say-on-turei-s-benefit-fraud

    Wellington • Since Jan 2007 • 1139 posts Report Reply

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