Shaw Thing

Now that the dust is settling on the Turei resignation, it might be time to have a dispassionate look at why she quit as leader of the Greens.

First up, Meteria didn’t resign to ‘protect her family’. If that had been a genuine concern, she wouldn’t have put them in the spotlight in the first place.

Secondly, she didn’t resign because of the shadow her admission of benefit fraud might cast over the Green’s election campaign. She left because she knew the damage had already been done.

Thirdly, James Shaw is likely to be equally responsible for the debacle. He hinted at that in an interview with Suzie Fergusson on Friday saying, “I take responsibility for my part in that”. 

He was talking in the wider context of campaign in general, but this was the first time he has linked himself to Turei’s downfall.

Why is that important?

If Shaw signed off on Meteria’s confession, he should resign too. It was terrible politics, not because of the issue that was raised -poverty on the benefit- but because Turei was not fully transparent. As John Campbell said, she told a story, just not her story. Shaw should have done due diligence and clearly, he didn’t.

However, he won’t resign, because he’s the only hope the Green Party now has of getting in the high single figures.

The Greens are going to have to settle for losing 5 or 6 MP’s and spending the next three years gazing wistfully down the corridor that leads to the Cabinet room and wondering what it’s like in there.

I hate to be cruel, but the Green Party have shown that they do not yet have the chops to have earned a cabinet posting. Maybe in three more years?

I’ve been following the debate around the resignation in the left wing social media with considerable interest. Most of the analysis has been woeful.

Here are some blunt facts:

The Greens are a middle class party, dependent entirely on the votes of petit bourgeois suburbanites.

Their voters may have a liberal conscience, but they are prone to tut tutting about their lessors. Key knew that. So did Muldoon.

Being caught out fibbing about her true circumstances means Meteria Turei has actually set back the cause of the poor in NZ. Her sense of entitlement has hurt the very people whose plight she wanted to champion.

And that’s the real shame of this mess.

We live with less Green MP’s, but can we live with ourselves if poverty, homelessness and alienation are written off as topics for discussion now and post-election?


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