John Armstrong: Metiria Turei will be remembered, but she won't be missed

Metiria Turei will be remembered. But she will not be missed.

Few in the world of politics will shed a tear for her in the wake of her decision to quit politics. Not even those of the crocodile variety.

To understand why you need look no further than her misguided decision to reveal that she had been a benefit cheat back in the 1990s.

Her stated motivation for going public with something she had kept hidden during her 15 years in Parliament was to spark a comprehensive and exhaustive debate on poverty levels in New Zealand.

What resulted instead - predictably so - was a debate on the glaring gaps in her account of life on the Domestic Purposes Benefit.

Her refusal to divulge details of her living arrangements at the time and her convenient memory lapses regarding how much she diddled the taxpayer meant sympathy for her past plight evaporated swiftly.

Her lack of contrition only exacerbated what rapidly became public frustration with her campaign.

The Green Party co-leader was adamant no one within the party, or outside, forced her resignation decision. Source: 1 NEWS

The public felt that the wool was being pulled over its eyes especially when it was revealed that she had registered as a voter at the address of the father of her child.

She insisted that she had not been living at that house. But she had exhausted the public’s patience to such an extent that rightly or wrongly people assumed otherwise.

It was a crucial turning point.

The Greens had jumped in the opinion polls at Labour’s expense but the Labour Party got revenge by insisting that Turei could no longer be a Minister in a Labour-Greens Cabinet.

The sound of Turei nailing herself on to the cross of martyrdom was replaced by the sound of Labour nailing the lid on her political coffin.

She was finished. She remained the Greens female co-leader but to what end?

The announcement comes after growing outrage over her admission to committing benefit fraud years ago. Source: 1 NEWS

There will be sympathy for her family. But not for her. Most MPs go to extraordinary lengths to protect their families from the ugly side of politics.

Exposure usually goes no further than the soft, politics free parents in women’s magazines. In marked contrast, Turei used her family as a political weapon with which to wage her war on poverty.

Her stated reason for stepping down as co-leader prior to quitting Parliament at the election was that intrusions into her family's private life generated by the revelations of her welfare fraud.

But what else did she expect?

There are many people who hate beneficiaries. They also hate politicians. Put the two together and you get a very toxic and very explosive combination of nastiness.

Many on the left have praised her for possessing the courage to tread in such dangerous territory.

Many on the right would argue that doing so displayed a foolhardiness born of self-righteousness.

An almost audible groan would rumble along the National Party’s benches at Parliament every time she rose to ask a question.

They knew it was a cue for another sanctimonious lecture on National’s failures.

Less than two months out from the election and the party is in turmoil. Source: 1 NEWS

In that regard, she delivered one of the most mean-spirited speeches ever heard in Parliament when the House debated the resignation as Prime Minister of John Key.

Turei simply saw politics in very black and white terms. It is just as well that she will never become a Cabinet Minister.

She had raised expectations of what she would deliver way beyond her capacity to do so.

But avoiding that fate will be small consolation as she grieves for the loss of her career in politics.

Ms Turei has been under fire since her benefit fraud revelations. Source: 1 NEWS

More than half of NZ thinks Te Reo Māori should be core primary school subject, new survey reveals

A new survey reveals more than half of New Zealanders say Te Reo Māori should be a core subject in primary schools.

According to Stats NZ, data about attitudes to the Māori language was collected for the first time in New Zealand's biggest survey of well-being – the General Social Survey (GSS) 2016.

In this survey, 53 per cent of the respondents said they either strongly agreed or agreed that Te Reo Māori should be a core subject in primary schools.

Children are at the centre of Te Reo Māori revitalisation efforts during Maori Language Week. Source: 1 NEWS

"Te Reo Māori is recognised as a taonga, or treasure, for all New Zealanders," labour market and household statistics senior manager Jason Attewell said.

"‘The GSS survey shows about half of New Zealanders have positive attitudes to Te Reo Māori."

The GSS also asked whether the "Government should encourage and support the use of Māori in everyday situations".

Almost half (49 per cent) of adult New Zealanders said they strongly agreed or agreed with this statement.

About 45 per cent supported the statement "signage should be both in Māori and English".

Everyone at the Ministry for Business Innovation and Employment's Wellington HQ was singing from the same song sheet as part of the ministry's Te Wiki o Te Reo Māori events. Source: 1 NEWS

Thirty-five per cent either strongly agreed or agreed with the statement "it would be good if all people living in New Zealand spoke Māori and English".

Nearly half of New Zealanders had used at least some te reo words or phrases in the previous four weeks.

Support for te reo was strongest among New Zealanders aged 15 - 44 years.

Hīkoia te Kōrero was about celebrating and promoting the Māori language to all New Zealanders. Source: 1 NEWS

Armed police comb east Auckland property over alleged clan lab

Armed police have reportedly swarmed an east Auckland property early this morning following suspicions a clan lab has been set up inside the house.

A 42-year-old man was arrested after a planned search warrant was carried out at a property on Kings Road, Panmure, at around 6am.

The suspect will be facing court on charges relating to the manufacturing of drugs at a later date.

An eyewitness told 1 NEWS they could see multiple cars and armed police outside the property.

Inquiries are ongoing and police remain at the scene.

Anyone with concerns or suspicions over possible illegal activity being conducted at a home is encouraged to contact police.

Source: 1 NEWS


Labour MP 'stating the obvious' that Curran saga could have been handled better – Inside Parliament

MP Greg O'Connor has apologised "unreservedly" to Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern for saying that the Clare Curran saga could have been handled better. 

But he was merely "stating the obvious", said 1 NEWS reporter Benedict Collins.

The Labour MP tole media perviously the handling of the Clare Curran saga "could have been done better". Source: 1 NEWS

"I don't think anyone will disagree with that. I'll tell you what, it will be done better next time," Mr O'Connor told Newstalk ZB previously. 

Ms Curran resigned from her remaining Ministerial portfolios last Friday, after being stripped from her Government Digital Services and Open Government responsibilities last month for failing to disclose a meeting for a second time.

Maiki Sherman warns the Government isn’t out of the woods just yet as an investigation into Meka Whaitiri continues. Source: 1 NEWS

Inside Parliament is a weekly catch up with 1 NEWS political reporters about the biggest stories of the week. 

A weekly catch up with our political reporters about the stories they have been covering. Source: 1 NEWS

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The 1 NEWS reporters analyse the what happened before MP Clare Curran's resignation. Source: 1 NEWS

'We can't even break up a fight' - Teachers frustrated with restraint guidelines

Primary school teachers are at their wits' end when it comes to dealing with violent and disruptive students.

They say tough rules around restraining children mean pupils throwing chairs around and ripping things off the wall can't be stopped.

Teachers in Northland have written to the president of their principals' association, Pat Newman, after he asked what issues they were facing since new rules on physically restraining children were brought in last August.

They said children were trashing classrooms and pouring drinks onto workbooks. They were punching computer screens and threatening children with scissors.

Because they were not causing any harm to other children or themselves teachers felt they were unable to stop them.

Teachers had been told they couldn't touch children, Ruakaka Primary School's principal Marilyn Dunn said.

"If a child decides to, for instance, throw things at other children all around the room, what we're told to do is let him do it and take all of the other children out of the way so [they] don't get hurt.

"So if he wants to throw iPads and break things you've got to allow him to do that and walk out with the rest of the children and wait for the child to calm down."

In the 'old days', things were easier, she said.

"When we were able to sensibly restrain a child we would remove the child who was throwing things around so they didn't disturb the other children's learning,and we would calm them down out of the classroom.

"We can't do those kinds of thing now, we can't even break up a fight."

Teachers felt at risk, and that they could not keep other children safe, Ms Dunn said.

Principal's Federation president Whetu Cormick said children were learning they could get away with certain behaviour.

"And the ridiculous thing about this is that, in society, if a young person or an adult was to cause damage in the street, smashing shop windows for example, that person would be arrested.

"In a school environment you can't restrain a child if they're going to smash a window, or if they're going to throw a chair around."

There should be a review of the guidelines, Mr Cormick said.

That call is echoed by teachers, and heeded by the Ministry of Education.

The ministry will hold meetings with a focus group to refresh the guidelines, Katrina Casey, the ministry's deputy secretary of sector enablement and support, said.

The principal of Wellington's Berhampore School, Mark Potter, said he hoped those changes would include a dose of common sense.

"Because the real danger is - I have heard people say, our school's decided that there will be no touching children full stop.

"Now I think that's a society being created where children are not allowed to have contact with adults."

Ms Casey said in a statement that children should only be physically restrained as a last resort.

In reviewing the guidelines the ministry would talk about the actual scenarios schools were facing.

Ms Casey said it was clear in the guidelines a teacher could use physical restraint if they believed there was a serious and imminent risk to the safety of the student or others.

- By Laura Dooney

Close up shot of pencils in classroom
Source: Te Karere