Herald calls on Turei to go

The Herald editorial:

One act of dishonesty may be forgiven, two becomes harder to overlook. On top of her admission that she withheld information from Social Welfare about her living arrangements on the domestic purposes benefit, Metiria Turei has been found to have enrolled for an election at a false address. It begins to look like a pattern of behaviour of a person with too little regard for the obligations of honest citizenship, and we can only wonder, what more might emerge?

I am sure there is more.

The Green Party has reason to be worried, so much so it is remarkable that it stood by her yesterday when she did no more than renounce any claim to a ministerial position in a coalition with Labour. 

A position forced on them by Labour. Otherwise I suspect they would not have ruled her out.

Despite Turei’s presence, she would no doubt prefer to deal with the Greens. But it would be much better for both parties if Turei did the decent thing and resigned, certainly from her Greens leadership and ideally from its candidate list for the next Parliament.

That is what National’s Todd Barclay has done, though Turei and her co-leader James Shaw have been calling on him to go sooner.

Barclay is going and Turei was one of those loudest in calling for him to go. But she won’t go.

Having mounted a high horse against Barclay, Shaw is now in the embarrassing position of defending Turei’s effort to stay. Both of them are at risk of much more emerging from the past she has opened for examination. Newshub’s discovery that she was listed at the same address as the father of her child while she was on the benefit, plainly caught her by surprise. She had forgotten she gave that address for electoral enrolment so that she could vote for a friend. What else has she forgotten?

Most people will be very forgiving of someone who made mistakes in their youth, if they show they have learnt from their mistakes and regret them. None of us are perfect. But Turei has been the opposite or regret. She has portrayed herself as the victim and used her personal circumstances to try and justify the Greens welfare policy. What has come out is because she decided to try and portray herself as a victim who had no choices.

The reality is she did have choices. She could have chosen to get a job. She could have chosen to seek support from the father (I suspect in fact she did, and simply didn’t declare it). She could have applied for hardship grants. She could have done less papers each year giving her time to do part-time work. She could have asked the father to sell the house he owned and use the proceeds to support them. She could have asked grandparents for support.

Instead she chose to lie to MSD and steal from taxpayers. It was a choice. She had other choices. They may not have been wonderful choices but they were choices.

Her self-portrayal and lack of remorse is what has done her the most harm.

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