It’s not often I blog un-satirically these days (actually… I hardly blog at all). Life and work and work and life and sleep seem to be in the way. Yet I lie here at 11.30 in the evening still rage-filled and unable to nod off following today’s events.
Metiria has resigned. The torrent of self-righteous abuse has been too much of a burden to place upon her family and she has gone. Resigned this afternoon.
There will be much talk of this tomorrow and, perhaps, over the coming weeks. As the punditocracy sink their yellowing teeth into this political mea culpa, undoubtedly we will hear about the many mistakes Metiria made.
When it comes down to it, Metiria’s biggest mistake was thinking the rest of the world shared her compassion. That by outing her experiences within the welfare debt trap she would elicit empathy for her situation a quarter of a century ago and the discussion of her plight would lead to a broader discourse on the dysfunctional welfare state.
Unfortunately that isn’t how Tories work. Metiria didn’t count on the how devastatingly ruthless Tories around the world are. The last thing a Tory is going to do when it sees a cute dog rolling over and showing its soft underbelly is lean down for a quick scratch. No. They’ll whip out the knife and disembowel that puppy quicker than you can say, “compassion is for suckers” before spreading the poor puppy’s innards around the press gallery.
The right saw their opening and took it. I can guarantee you there is not an ounce of guilt on their shoulders tonight.
We can safely assume the Ferrari driving radio hosts and other white middle-aged male voices who berated Metiria with the loudest howls of indignation will all be arranging their affairs courtesy of sound financial and legal advice and thus reducing their tax burden. But that’s technically legal and Metiria stole hundreds of dollars so let’s rip her to shreds.
The rotting vampire corpse Dirty Politics is alive and well and continues to suck us all dry.
This week much has been made of the Greens co-leader welfare announcement. Metiria Turei admitted while she was on a benefit she withheld information about her living situation from WINZ in order to receive more money. We thought it was important to get the thoughts of our alt-right correspondent Richard Sevenhouses who, being a white middle-aged male, has much experience with and many opinions about the poor in general. Over to you Dick.
I. Am. Outraged. OUTRAGED. I have not seethed this much since Helen Clark threatened to tell me how to illuminate my lounge or shower my body. OUTRAGED!!
This week Metiria Turei has said that she ripped off those wonderful people at Work and Income New Zealand to the tune of hundreds of dollars. HUNDREDS. Did I mention that I am outraged? OUTRAGED. It turns out she’s being lying ever since. Lying. LYING.
What she has done is nothing short of a war crime. Well… it’s not actually a war crime, but it is pretty much at the same level as one. That’s how I feel. I feel like she has walked up to me, reached deep into my trouser pocket, slowly removed my wallet, disgorged its contents into her purse and then run off to the nearest shops to spend all my money on booze, smokes, and lotto before shoving whatever is left into the pokies.
You know, we live in a society. We all have to do our bit. Pay our way. You can’t just go around stealing off the taxpayer. It’s theft. Lying to the government about your finances is fraud, pure and simple. SIMPLE.
It is certainly a very sad day for my beloved New Zealand when half the country is celebrating such a flagrant disregard for the rule of law.
Now if you’ll excuse me I’m off to meet with my accountant to discuss putting my business and the family home into a trust so my son can get a student allowance when he starts university next year.
Heavy feelings ran deep in the oak-lined room. Green and red friezes adorned the area behind the lectern as the gruff unionist approached. This match was definitely not of his doing and if, as he suspected, it all turned nasty, he could not help but think he was signing his own death warrant.
They stood at the lectern as their eyes danced about knowingly. A small grunt echoed at the rear of the chamber. Mr. Gower, it seems, was struggling to maintain any semblance of decorum. It was still hours until the Newshub fanfare and he had just too much to say. He was calmed with a soothing dose of diamorphine and proceeded to allow the envelope of sleep to post his body to the chair in the corner.
The gruff one was the first to speak.
“Friends,” he regaled the waiting audience, “it is with proud heart and large trouser that I announce my engagement to this delightful woman.”
The delightful woman placed a hand over her mouth and giggled delicately. The mirage would have been complete had she not punctuated the giggle with a light snort.
“I am,” he continued, “in love with this woman. I have loved her since the first day upon which our eyes did meet. It was on that day I vowed she would be mine.”
He then turned to her and, taking her around the waste, placed an eye watering kiss upon her ample lips. The room was silent. Never before had there been such an erotically charged press conference.
Just as quickly as he arrived, he left the podium. He glanced back at her once on the way out of the room and then, like a scone at the Morrinsville bake-sale, he was gone.
She stared at he empty doorway wishing their love would last eternity but knowing he would give it all away if he needed to suckle at the teat of Mr. Winston.
If you haven’t watched the debate between Bill English and David Parker on The Nation over the weekend, you probably should get stuck in to it straight away.
It is very interesting for a couple of reasons. First, when asked about his plan, Bill English was unable to say anything other than, “well… we’ve got a plan.” Host Lisa Owen asked Bill several times to name one thing that his government was going to do to boost New Zealand. I suppose, if one was being kind, one could argue that Bill was saying National is doing many different things together (this is what he said after being pressed).
The only issue I have with the various people arguing this, including panelist Fran ‘Whale Source’ O’Sullivan from the New Zealand Herald, is when David Parker was asked the same question he rattled off a list of policies Labour have planned. It is prudent to note the amount of policy Labour and the Greens have released this election campaign compared with the amount National have released. Sure National have a lot on their website, but it’s not easy to find and apart from their big ‘housing’ announcement (giving more people more money to buy more houses in an effort to bring an end to ) and their tax ‘plan’ today, there has been very little in the way of tangible and meaty policy released and discussed in the media. Everybody knows about Labour’s capital gains tax and the reasons they believe the country needs it. What do we know about National? Oh… you might get tax cuts… if it’s ok to do it. How much? Oh… we don’t know. When? Oh… not ’til 2017.
National’s plan seems to hinge around telling New Zealanders they would rather hear about the issues that matter – housing, health, education and the economy – before attacking Labour or the Greens or Nicky Hager for printing out their emails. They aren’t really that keen to talk about policy. Not keen at all.
The other important takeaway from this interview was Bill English’s inability to draw a line in the sand under the Dirty Politics issue. Lisa Owen asked him point-blank whether he approved of someone trawling through the Labour website and downloading private information. He could have easily said no. That would have put him off side and off message.
The fact Bill stalled and struggled to answer when he was first asked was very telling. It was like he really, really wanted to say yes but his instinct to toe the party line gazzumped his instinct to answer in a way that showed greater amount moral fortitude.
It is such a shame, but not unexpected, that Dirty Politics has fallen off the news cycle somewhat in the last week. It was like Judith ‘Princess Diana’ Collins got the sack and the media went, “oooh sweet, we can stop talking about this.”
Some of us actually have many, many questions that remain unanswered. Media types reading this can click here to read some of those questions. John Key must, he just absolutely must answer them. Not doing so highlights just how ethically challenged the leadership of the National Party are.
September the twentieth is a chance for New Zealand to set up a royal commission into political corruption. Voting for the National Party means that will definitely not happen.
Yesterday Labour leader David Cunliffe delivered his first big policy announcement of the year – $60 a week for parents of new-borns. On Sunday the Greens announced their plans for “school hubs” where social services are coordinated through schools. Maybe Labour’s policy targets too many of those households earning over $100,000, but both policies are fresh and redefine the gap between a progressive left and the same-old same-old we’ve been swallowing since I was at high school.
What was very telling, however, was the overwhelmingly rabid reaction of the right-wingers I follow on twitter. The sputtering death gurgle of the neoliberal beast may very well be upon us.
Here’s just a sample of the quality dialogue we will be getting in the lead up to the election.
Steven Joyce (@stevenljoyce) tweeted at 2:21 PM on Mon, Jan 27, 2014:
Labour advises their spend-a-thon would resume immediately. Labour & Greens already an extra 3/4 a billion a year & it’s not even end of Jan
David Farrar (@dpfdpf) tweeted at 1:49 PM on Mon, Jan 27, 2014:
So this policy will pay $60 a week to any Labour MP (except Ldrs, Whips) who has a baby. That’s really targeting to those most in need.
Whaleoil (@Whaleoil) tweeted at 2:29 PM on Mon, Jan 27, 2014:
@CactusKate2 the feral underclass who already vote Labour will be ecstatic they get $60 extra a week for fags, booze and lotto
There are a number of things to consider. Firstly, these people are all successful, intelligent people. I don’t for on second think they actually believe New Zealanders are going to charge straight off to bed and start creating new humans on the promise of sixty bucks a week. Labelling the poor as useless, drug-dependent, booze-fueled baby factories suits their narrative just fine.
Secondly, the sheer repugnance of some of the bleating suggests those on the right are utterly terrified the narrative is changing from “me” back to “us.” Cunliffe and the left are offering New Zealanders something different to trickle up and they don’t like it one bit.
Thirdly, the reactions suggest there’s just a little bit of “this money’s mine. I made it. You can’t have it.” Which is just a little bit rich since they’ve been supporting policies that fleece low income earners for years.
Any way you look at it, this is now a battle of the mouths. Communication is paramount. If Labour and the Greens can project a positive vision onto the electorate they may send them packing.
Then we will hear some real whining.
PS: this looks a bit off formatting-wise because I wrote it on my phone.