From B-Rabbit to B-ugger off. The rise and fall of Metiria Turei

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When Metiria Turei spoke of how when she was a solo mum she lied to her Work and Income case worker about how many people she was flatting with, and so, what her accommodation costs actually were I thought ‘risky move’. However the move ended up being genius for a couple of reasons.

The first was that there was a ground swell of support behind Turei from those who have been on benefits and those who sympathise for lower income families. It also gave us the incredibly popular #IamMetiria hashtag. The second was that it’s difficult to criticise someone who is looking to get some extra money to feed their kids…without looking like a bit of a cock and so what you saw was very few attacks from the right about her statement. Also it it very unlikely that anyone in parliament has not fudged some government department somewhere, at sometime, to their own ends and help them financially. Whether it was a student allowance, or a business write off, or a cash job, or a family benefit most, if not all of NZ adults, will have done something…so if you’re going to throw stones at Metiria you better be ‘sinless’

In her inadvertent honesty, Metira Turei had pulled off a ‘B-Rabbit’ moment. You remember B-Rabbit, he is Eminem’s character in the movie 8 Mile. In the movie rappers come together to battle, freestyling lyrics that cut down their opponent to size, mock them, and leave them a (proverbial) bloody mess on the floor. Well in the films finale, B-Rabbit flips the table and mocks himself viciously (NSFW).

I know everything he’s ’bout to say against me
I am white, I am a fucking bum
I do live in a trailer with my mom
My boy Future is an Uncle Tom
I do got a dumb friend named Cheddar Bob
Who shoots himself in his leg with his own gun
I did get jumped by all six of you chumps
And Wink did fuck my girl
I’m still standing here screaming, “Fuck the Free World!”
Don’t ever try to judge me, dude
You don’t know what the fuck I’ve been through

B-Rabbit, 8 Mile

At the end of the battle, B-Rabbit’s opponent has nothing left to throw at him and bows out of the competition in silence.

With the admission of benefit fraud Metiria Turei has put her ugly, uncomfortable truth on the table and left nothing for her opponents to throw at her.

I am interested to know whether the admission was a planned event, or an off the cuff statement which landed well with the public. If it was planned then that person needs a pay rise, if it was an off the cuff statement then Turei, and the Greens, hit that one thing that every politician aspires to, a grassroots movement, with a catchy slogan and a viral element.

However, as they say, a week is a long time in politics.

The feeling I get is that perhaps the ‘B-Rabbit’ moment was unplanned, yet very successful so, after it came out that she had committed electoral fraud, maybe Turei thought speaking openly and honestly about falsifying an address she was living at, to vote in an electorate she wasn’t entitled to, would add to the grassroots viral movement. It did not.

Falsifying ones address for the sake of voting in an electorate you are not entitled to is serious and very few people will have done it or at the very least, will have done it to add a vote to a specific candidate. Maybe people have moved and not updated their details etc…but Turei has admitted she did it to specifically vote for someone she was not entitled to. It was a calculated move to defraud the electoral system.

It’s also something that every politician can now put in their cannon and fire it at Turei without fear of reprisal.

We now hear that tonight the Greens are in turmoil with the resignation of two MPs who insisted that Turei resign over these two stories combined. I suspect if the latter had not come out there would have been no insistence by some for Turei to bugger off.

So where to from here?

If there are more Green MPs that insist on Turei resigning, then there will be significant issues for the Greens heading into the next six weeks…not ‘not getting into parliament‘ issues…but, along with the rise and rise of Jacinda Adern, the ‘dropping from 15% to 9%‘ kind of issues.

Voters do not like a sense of trouble in the camp close to an election, just ask Colin Craig, so if this story is not quashed very, very quickly it will be very, very bad for the Greens. How bad only time will tell.

The first to forecast the winner in the 2014 election

https://i1.wp.com/3.bp.blogspot.com/-GqbVz37uqXg/Ty9qg3hSsQI/AAAAAAAAGGc/500mT-VfX1M/s400/David%252BShearer%252BYcjlD9-Ky9nm.jpgI was speaking with my parents on Thursday and the subject of John Key and David Shearer came up, I quickly said that ‘Labour will win the next election’ which was met with a few chuckles…but mostly fear from the lifelong National supporters, however I think they will.

The polls of recent times have seen the rise of ‘the left block‘ and like in Australia the left, for the foreseeable future, will be a Labour/Green alliance. It culminated on Sunday night with TVNZ’s last poll of 2012 having the left block ahead of National. From their analysis TVNZ says…

If those were election results, Labour would hold 45 seats out of parliament’s 120.

When combined with the Greens’ 17 seats, the centre-left would have 62, enough to form a government without relying on any of the minor parties.

I heard a political commentator say a couple of weeks ago that if just 1% more of the Labour base had turned out at the last election, then Labour would have won. If that is the case and the trend towards the left block building and staying between 45% and 50%…then it’s a done deal. Labour will be the next government and David Shearer will be our next Prime Minister. There have been some questions around the February vote to move away from Shearer and towards Cunliffe, this won’t happen…unless Labour has a death wish.

Cunliffe is liked by many in the left of Labour, but not the centrists and not the public. Going with David Cunliffe would gift the next election to National.

Parties win elections when they appear to the public of NZ to be pragmatic and centrist. John Key used those exact words to describe himself and his vision when the media quizzed him over the potential inclusion of Sir Roger Douglas in 2008 to allay the fears of a far-right governing style. Mr Key said…

“If ACT are hell bent on following a radical right-wing agenda and won’t fit in with a moderate pragmatic agenda then we can’t work with them. They’re ruling themselves out if that’s what they are doing,”

The unions and far-left of Labour like David Cunliffe, the centre sits more comfortably with David Shearer. Labour needs to be seen by the public as centre-left at the next election, with Cunliffe they will not be.

It’s also interesting to see political parties, once elected, then move towards what I would call their ‘natural position’ politically. In 1999 NZ removed what had become a far-right National government and brought in what was then a fairly centre-left moderate Labour. Over the following 9 years Labour moved with their policy and practice, further to the left until the public of NZ again removed what many describe as a far-left government, which worked as we had a moderate, pragmatic, centre-right National under John Key which has since started moving more to the right. So the plan for Labour is that they need to remain as close to the centre as possible, then when NZ freak out over a user-pays, asset-selling, big business far-right government we will toss them out and bring in the moderate centre-left, David Shearer, Labour led party along with their new ‘best buds’ in the Greens and we have a change of leadership.

So let’s be the first to state this officially and publicly (more than just over the dinner table to my parents) that in 2014 National will still be the biggest single party, but will be in the opposition seats as the left block takes the seats of power with David Shearer as the Prime Minister and Russell Norman and Metiria Turei holding some significant ministerial portfolios.

The Greens almost got me…almost

I had started preparing a blog post in my mind in response to this press release by the Greens

The Green Party has pioneered the co-leadership model which has helped us provide representative and dynamic leadership. We think the time has come for further innovation, said Green Party Co-leader Dr Russel Norman.

We will be introducing a more inclusive model of leadership that covers youth and rainbow representatives, said Green Party Co-leader Metiria Turei.

The Green Party is launching today a broader leadership model that will include male and female youth and rainbow co-leaders. The additional co-leaders will be Holly Walker, Gareth Hughes, Jan Logie and Kevin Hague.

Green Party Co-leader Jan Logie added, “This is a great opportunity it has happened pretty quickly but I think I’m ready to take up the challenge.”

Green Party Co-leader Kevin Hague added, “I’m looking forward to providing new leadership and representing the rainbow and shiny pate communities.”

Green Party Co-leader Holly Walker, said, “When Metiria and Russel, told me I was like no way, and they were like way, and I was like that’s like awesome.”

“This is tots gangsta man, I’m gonna tweet this everywhere, said Green Party Co-leader Gareth Hughes.

Initial research by the Parliamentary Library suggests that if there is direct correlation between the number of leaders and voter support then the Green Party support will expand 3 fold from 11% to 33%.

“This is great research, if this works out we might need to expand the leadership again – I can’t think of any more new categories for leaders but I will consult with the Party, I’m sure they will come up with some,” said Green Party Co-leader Dr Russel Norman.

“If the other petals of the party takes up this structure up we will have 18 co-something’s that will make us pretty much invincible I reckon,” said Green Party Co-leader Metiria Turei.

But I just thought that this cannot be true, even in NZ politics no one could be this ridiculous so before writing the post railing against the idea…I googled ‘Greens leaders hoax‘…and found this…

At least I don’t have egg on my face…like RNZ.

Well played Greens…I’ll see you on the battle field next April 1st.