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# 220160 28-Jul-2017 12:41
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Seeing as we have a shiny new "politics" sub-forum and there doesn't seem to be a thread for this - let's discuss it here.

 

For me, there are a number of dimensions to this story that merit consideration.  Some of them are:

 

 - Why has she confessed now?  (some 20+ years after the fact)  Was it political opportunism?  Was someone going to leak the story? Some other reason?

 

- How many different elements of non-disclosure were there?  She has mentioned the flatmates, but she has also confirmed that she refused to name the child's father.   (While at the same time acknowledging that she was receiving support from both the child's paternal and maternal grandparents)  Was the father possibly one of the "flatmates"? 

 

- What might the implications be legally?  (Benefit overpayments? Benefits for which she may not have been entitled? Risk of criminal charges?  Impact on potential future career as a parliamentarian, or as a practicing lawyer?)

 

- Her public support of others deliberately manipulating the welfare system in a similar manner today.

 

- Potential knock-on effects for the party that she co-leads?

 

...plus many more :-)

 

Discuss!


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  # 1832847 28-Jul-2017 12:53
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Perhaps we could merge it with the trampoline thread?

 

Here are some good online archives to help you make up your own mind. Was it benefit fraud, did she really need to do it to "survive"?

 

https://e-tangata.co.nz/news/metiria-turei-certifiably-smart/politics

 

http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=2197711

 

http://www.nowtolove.co.nz/news/real-life/metiria-turei-my-daughter-saved-me-5497

 

Something else that has just come to light is that one of her "flat mates" may have been her partner. This makes the fraud even more serious.

 

Metiria Turei won't say whether one of the flatmates she failed to tell Work and Income about was a boyfriend - saying the state has no right to investigate a woman's intimate personal life.

 

http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11895482

 

IMO nothing less than stepping down right now from the Greens is acceptable. Investigations into her benefit fraud starts next week. Once thats over she should resume her position if found not guilty. But lets remember, she has confessed to benefit fraud, so in my book she has admitted she is guilty.


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  # 1832852 28-Jul-2017 13:00
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- What might the implications be legally? 

 

 

Surely it should be in proportion to this


 
 
 
 




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  # 1832896 28-Jul-2017 14:06
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Wiggum:

 

 

 

https://e-tangata.co.nz/news/metiria-turei-certifiably-smart/politics

 

 

 

 

I just choked on my cornflakes reading this excerpt.

 

Yes. The baby was a year old when I started (studying). I thought I’d better pull my socks up. I realised she relied only on me. We weren’t going to rely on a man or the state to take care of us. So I tried out for law school and got in.

 

 

 

It's interesting now seeing Labour beginning to distance themselves from their MOU partner.


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  # 1832946 28-Jul-2017 15:21
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As a lawyer who defrauded WINZ of approx. $50k and admitted it to the world defies belief. Her political career has to be dead in the water and her legal career...assuming she was admitted to the bar she has to be debarred.

 

If the crown don't file for fraud its clear someone will take a private prosecution against her. But as someone has already stated she has already admitted guilt.


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  # 1832970 28-Jul-2017 16:13
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Pumpedd:

 

As a lawyer who defrauded WINZ of approx. $50k and admitted it to the world defies belief. Her political career has to be dead in the water and her legal career...assuming she was admitted to the bar she has to be debarred.

 

If the crown don't file for fraud its clear someone will take a private prosecution against her. But as someone has already stated she has already admitted guilt.

 

 

 

 

There is a statute of limitations.

 

This is a moral issue - not a legal one.

 

Even if there was chance for conviction, plenty of lawyers have section 106 discharge without conviction for mistakes they made in the past.


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  # 1833032 28-Jul-2017 17:20
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Legally there may be a statute of limitations on this (i dunno) but morally there is not. Either way, she should step down. 





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  # 1833043 28-Jul-2017 18:17
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I feel I should respond to this in some way because I have been in the thick of these discussions in other threads and I suppose people ought to know where I stand, if they care. The very real problem I am having is saying anything meaningful about this in a reasonable number of words. To my mind it is a big subject, with lots of ramifications. It has to do with honesty, morality, legality, social justice, and a whole lot of other stuff that must be worth at least a book or two.

 

To those filled with moral indignation, it is probably a fairly simple black and white issue. Metiria Turei admitted to taking benefit money she wasn’t technically entitled to, and she deserves to be pilloried to the full extent of the law. She shamelessly ripped off that ever-suffering hard working taxpayer we all hear so much about. She broke the law. She must be punished. End of story.

 

To those inclined to a more nuanced view, she did what she had to in order to get by and care for her child. By cheating an unfair system she was able to get ahead and be in a position today to help others in a similar situation. She did what she did at the time in order not to succumb to a system stacked against people like her. Because of that, she was able to climb out of the hole she was trapped in. Most others don’t. By admitting it now and opening herself up to the consequences of that, she is performing a brave act in order to bring the issue into the public consciousness and the political arena.

 

I don’t know if either of these versions is true. I personally don’t care that much. Even if Metiria Turei took the money without actually needing it and spent it on the pokies while her child waited outside in the street, I wouldn’t feel particularly outraged. I would be annoyed with her, and maybe disappointed if I cared about her at all, but I wouldn’t feel the rage that others here so clearly do. So she’s a cheat and a liar. So what? By any standard her theft is peanuts. I get a lot more hot and bothered by the much, much bigger ‘legal’ thieving built into a system that is inherently unfair. In saying that I know I am opening a can of worms but it would take too many words to explain what I mean so I will just add that compared to most other places, New Zealand isn’t bad at all. But it still isn’t fair. People who start out disadvantaged in life get a very thin slice of the pie.

 

Before people start pounding me about shoplifting and tax fraud and armed robbery and stealing from charity cups of blind little old ladies, just let me add that yes, theft is wrong, yes, it is a crime, yes, people who steal should be punished. I agree with all that. But I also know and believe that it is almost never that simple and straightforward, and those who think it is are fooling themselves. There are almost always extenuating circumstances and simply lumping every dishonest act together into a vat of outraged opprobrium with no attempt to make any distinctions is itself a crime. It serves only to fill the outraged with a self-satisfied ooze of moral crème brûlée.

 

I don’t know what should happen to her. I don’t think what she admitted to should be ignored. There should be some kind of sanction. But I wish a little of the howling condemnation would also be aimed at the injustice she was trying to highlight. People in need are not particularly well-treated in this country and that is unfortunate.

 

 





I don't think there is ever a bad time to talk about how absurd war is, how old men make decisions and young people die. - George Clooney
 


 
 
 
 


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  # 1833082 28-Jul-2017 20:27
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Fred99:

 

This is a moral issue - not a legal one.

 

Even if there was chance for conviction, plenty of lawyers have section 106 discharge without conviction for mistakes they made in the past.

 

 

It's the moral aspect of it that worries me. Could care less if there's a legal case to answer.

I chewed on the idea that it was genuinely something that had preyed on her mind... thinking of others in the same boat - until she had to come clean.
But it tastes more like a brash - and short sighted - ploy to attract attention to Green policy. The cynic in me says she's over-shared in an effort to gain 'martyr points' and misjudged public opinion. 

 

Perhaps all politicians should be required to attend one 'Truth & reconciliation' type hearing where they could confess - with just public shaming/voter loss as a penalty- past misdeeds that would never have come out otherwise.

 

I don't know why I feel so disappointed Metiria's come out with this.
I've probably justified holding politicians to a higher standard than the rest of us in the past. And maybe I did expect that of the Greens.
I'd have respected her decision to speak publicly about it more if if she'd first quietly paid it back, and had seemed to genuinely regret the situation in the first place.

 

 


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  # 1833093 28-Jul-2017 20:44
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Sidestep:

 

 

 

....................... Could care less if there's a legal case to answer.

.....................But it tastes more like a brash - and short sighted - ploy to attract attention to Green policy.

 

 

 

 

What do you mean by Could care less ............? Is that the same as could NOT care less?

 

Ploy to attract attention to Green policy? I agree 100%


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  # 1833102 28-Jul-2017 21:11
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The reason she went public as I understand it was because she was about to be "outed" by one of her tenants at the time.

 

She not only had tenants without telling WINZ, but one of them was her partner which is quite serious in itself as she would have signed a declaration stating this was not so.

 

She has also openly said that this extra income (approx $50k) allowed her to not only attend university or further her political ideals by supporting crackpot political parties, but it also allowed her to socialise like the other students. She in fact would have been able to lead quite a good life for a student.

 

The sad part of all this is that what she is on about at the moment is quite correct. The last few years benefits have risen by about 1% per annum where as the over 65 years olds has increased by much more. A single person who is on a benefit due to sickness will receive approx $270/week. This in my opinion is well below the poverty line.

 

20 years ago when Metira was a student her benefit was far more meaningful (in dollar terms) than today which makes the intent of her crime worse.

 

So, whilst her intent is quite commendable, her crime is not and with or without a conviction she should not be a representative of the people in our law making chamber.


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  # 1833113 28-Jul-2017 21:40
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DaveB:

 

What do you mean by Could care less ............? Is that the same as could NOT care less?

 

Ploy to attract attention to Green policy? I agree 100%

 

 

I mean I'm indifferent to the legality of what she's done. In my view the law's not always right.

 

I've judged other politicians by what I see as the strength of their moral compass rather than the legality of their actions.

 

So I'm disappointed that rather than a clear stand against injustice, this has materialised more as a case of petty fraud.

 

I think it was a mis-step by Metiria that has served to distract from, rather than add to, genuine discussion of poverty, inequality and NZ social policy.


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  # 1833248 29-Jul-2017 09:45
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Pumpedd:

 

The reason she went public as I understand it was because she was about to be "outed" by one of her tenants at the time.

 

She not only had tenants without telling WINZ, but one of them was her partner which is quite serious in itself as she would have signed a declaration stating this was not so.

 

She has also openly said that this extra income (approx $50k) allowed her to not only attend university or further her political ideals by supporting crackpot political parties, but it also allowed her to socialise like the other students. She in fact would have been able to lead quite a good life for a student.

 

The sad part of all this is that what she is on about at the moment is quite correct. The last few years benefits have risen by about 1% per annum where as the over 65 years olds has increased by much more. A single person who is on a benefit due to sickness will receive approx $270/week. This in my opinion is well below the poverty line.

 

20 years ago when Metira was a student her benefit was far more meaningful (in dollar terms) than today which makes the intent of her crime worse.

 

So, whilst her intent is quite commendable, her crime is not and with or without a conviction she should not be a representative of the people in our law making chamber.

 

 

If these things are true, and I don't yet know that they are, though they could be, then I am disappointed in her and I think it is unfortunate because it obscures the genuine issue she was trying to raise. I agree with an earlier comment that it would have been much better if she had gone to WINZ and paid the money back before raising it publicly. I think whether she should continue in her position is a matter for the Greens, unless she does receive a conviction, in which case I suppose it becomes a matter for the law.

 

It is unfortunate but people do make mistakes and without knowing more I am not prepared to jump on the condemnation bandwaggon. Maybe she really is and always has been a liar and a cheat and a hypocrite. I don't know but even if that does turn out to be the case, it says nothing about Green politics or Green morals or Green behaviour in general, as much as some will try to make that connection.

 

 





I don't think there is ever a bad time to talk about how absurd war is, how old men make decisions and young people die. - George Clooney
 


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  # 1833309 29-Jul-2017 11:17
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This is more about the morality of having children you cannot afford as far as I am concerned.

 

TL/DR but if she knew she had insufficient income to support herself and a child, why did she have one?






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  # 1833314 29-Jul-2017 11:36
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Geektastic:

 

This is more about the morality of having children you cannot afford as far as I am concerned.

 

TL/DR but if she knew she had insufficient income to support herself and a child, why did she have one?

 

 

This was over 20 years ago when $50k was a massive amount of money. She chose greed by wanting a child, a high education and to be a political activist. It does seem to be true that she was also with a partner. 

 

The DPB system was not designed to give people anywhere as much choice as she had. It is clear to me she was calculated in her choices to rip off the system.

 

Many people have been jailed over the last 20 years for doing what she did. It wasn't an innocent crime!!


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  # 1833323 29-Jul-2017 12:04
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She may have well been greedy and maybe it wasn't an innocent crime, but I would rather focus on another comment of yours, which she also says she was trying to highlight. I think it is much bigger and more important than one person's dishonesty.

 

Why should the DPB system not be designed to give people as much choice as she took? This is the very point she has tried to make. Why have a system that punishes people for being dependant by giving them just enough to stay alive, but not enough to ever have a life? Why shouldn't a beneficiary be able to go one night a week and have a good time? Why shouldn't her kids be able to enjoy school trips or activities that other kids can?

 

The usual response to these questions seems to be the right-wing knee-jerk about people having to earn whatever they get through work, but what if that isn't an option for everyone? Communism died because the modern version was based on a 19th-century idea that lost its relevance to contemporary reality. Maybe modern capitalism is undergoing the same process, but those in love with it just can't see that? Political conservatives have an ideological aversion to government regulation or control, but we are entering a future where AI automatation will increasingly take over our jobs and there will not be enough work for everyone. Maybe there are  other virtues that will have to fill that gap. There is already talk of a universal basic income that is not tied to work or doing anything else to 'deserve' it. Perhaps this will be the economic model of the future?

 

I believe that parties like National and those who support it need to evolve their ideas along with the evolution of society. Working for a living may well soon sound quaintly old-fashioned. Of course people shouldn't just blob out and spend their days smoking dope, which will be legal by the time universal incomes are introduced, but forms of persuasion other than starvation through lack of income will have to be found. And how will it all be paid for, comes the right wing lament? That is what AI automation is for, people. Economies evolve along with societies and technology. Now for the politics.

 

 





I don't think there is ever a bad time to talk about how absurd war is, how old men make decisions and young people die. - George Clooney
 


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