Greens co-leader James Shaw on Q&A yesterday was saying he was shocked at the hatred for the poor that had been exposed since Metiria Turei went public about her benefit fraud. What bullshit. Turei is still being characterised by her admirers as courageous and virtuous. That’s bullshit too. She made a calculated and cynical political decision and it backfired spectacularly. While she was gazing down the track at a shimmering city of votes floating like a tantalising mirage in the distance, a 100-tonne locomotive was bearing down on her from behind.
Some people will consider Turei sainted no matter what she does, but I know Green voters who are repelled by her behaviour and likely to shift their support to Labour, especially now that it’s been re-energised by an appealing Jacinda Ardern.
If Turei has any humility, which I rather doubt, she will have learned a hard political lesson: that once you lift the lid on something from your past, you’re inviting the media to start digging into other things that you would prefer to remained buried. At that point you completely lose control of the agenda and just have to cop whatever comes at you. Shakespeare would have loved it.