Opinion: Turei's demise sends a clear message to Maori

1 NEWS Maori Affairs Reporter Yvonne Tahana gives her take on the rapid end of Metiria Turei’s political career.


The great bloated centre can celebrate.

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

Its importance in political discourse remains pre-eminent.

Metiria Turei has got her just desserts. She paid the cost of martyring herself to an unpopular cause etc etc.

I'm not going to rehash the strategic fatalism of her decision to reveal her benefit fraud.

I have nothing more to add to the screeds of vitriolic, smug and know-it-all epithets that have already been penned by journalists, bloggers and Twitter-ites on that issue.

But, in my opinion, her resignation as co-leader of  the Green Party sends a clear message to Māori.

People who've done dumb things in their past, or who have struggled, are in no way suitable to make a contribution at a government level.

Labour leader Jacinda Ardern underscored that when she ruled Turei out of any potential Cabinet.

The Māori electorate by and large is more forgiving of human foibles - many will feel a strong sense of aroha towards Turei even if they don't back the Greens, or necessarily condone everything that's gone on.

Ex-National MP Tau Henare summed up the sentiment last night on Twitter:

I want to #Endorse @MetiriaTureiMP for #TaiTonga If ever there was an opportunity to stick it up the establishment it's now

The former Green Party co-leader is no longer on the list and is unlikely to win Te Tai Tonga.

That means in six weeks her 15-year political career is over.

It's a sad and tragic waste of talent.

I don't know her, but from a distance she's always struck me as a decent person - strong on Treaty and social justice issues.

What I appreciated was that she paddled in a mostly non-Māori boat. Māori visibility in mainstream organisations/institutions remains important.

Could she have made an impact in the Social Development portfolio? Well, she didn't lack for passion.

Well, no more.

With all that gone to waste, no wonder Māori don't vote.