Friday, 11 August 2017

Practiced Deceit All Around

The Webs We Weave

So Greens co-leader, Metiria Turei has resigned.  For days she has insisted that she would not resign, despite many calling on her to do so.  But suddenly, out of the blue, she did indeed resign.  She got into a vehicle somewhere in Wellington insisting that she would not resign, took a short trip, and by the time she emerged from the car, she had decided to resign and leave Parliament.

What gestalt hit her during that trip?  What caused the change of mind?  The only credible explanation thus far has come from John Campbell, at Checkpoint.  For well over a week, Turei had been using her family (effectively her sole--now grown up--child) as the indirect cause of her lying to the welfare authorities.  She hid income, so as to extract more money from the state's welfare authorities, in order to support her needy child.  Turei was working her way through lawschool.  She has strenuously defended her duplicity and deceit over her actual financial circumstances at the time.  She has not resiled from her actions and instead claimed a rectitude borne out of necessity.  The sanctimony has been somewhat nauseating.

Whilst Turei was travelling in her vehicle she received a call from John Campbell informing her that he (and the Checkpoint programme) had been contacted by some of her extended family members.  Here is the statement Campbell has released to the media (reprinted from Kiwiblog):

Turei has repeatedly cited the "unbearable" scrutiny upon her family as the "first and foremost" reason for her decision to resign.  We suspect that, once again, she is dissembling on the matter.  It would seem that it was the pressure the extended family was placing upon her that led to her resignation.  They did not appreciate the artful  narrative Turei had been weaving about her financial circumstances and lack of support network extended by the family to her during the nineteen nineties.  When the "close family members" contacted Campbell over their counter-narrative, and questions were put to Turei, she decided to resign.

But the narrative of martyrdom she is now weaving seems to be just more of the same: spin, positioning, and craftiness.  She wove a narrative for political purpose and effect.  It was a narrative and framing that was--as the saying goes--parsimonious with the truth.  It was what, in the old days, we used to call propaganda.

The broader issue that comes to the fore now is whether the Greens will survive as a distinct political party.  Our expectation is that, like in many other cases around the world, the party will be subsumed into its nearest contiguous left wing party.  In our case that means Labour would swallow the Greens up.

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