Metiria Turei's fraud admission could lead to charges

by Mei Heron / 17 July, 2017
Metiria Turei at the Green's annual conference on July 16 in Auckland. Photo / Getty Images

The Greens co-leader's moment of honesty may have repercussions.

Green Party co-leader Metiria Turei has acknowledged she could still be charged for fraud after revealing she lied to receive more money when she was a solo mother on a benefit.

Ms Turei told her story at the launch of the party's Families Package. The policy lowers the bottom tax rate to 9 percent, introduces a new top tax rate of 40 percent on income over $150,000 and increases all core benefits by 20 percent.

The Ministry of Social Development is not commenting on whether it will investigate Ms Turei's confession. Having been alerted, it has 12 months to decide whether to prosecute.

Ms Turei said life was such a struggle she decided not to tell Work and Income she had flatmates helping pay the rent, because her benefit would be cut.

"I'd go to the bank every fortnight on dole day. I'd withdraw all my money, in cash, then split it up into small amounts, wrapped up in rubber bands with little notes about what it was for.

"But whatever way I split it, I still didn't have enough to get by."

Ms Turei acknowledges there is a risk her revelation could damage her or her party's reputation.

She said she could still be charged with fraud, but felt she had a responsibility "to tell it how it is".

"Other people don't have the privileged position like I do. If I tell my story, then we can start talking about how to fix the welfare system so other people don't have to be in this position ever again."

Labour Party leader Andrew Little said he thought it was "pretty brave" of Ms Turei to say what she had done.

"As a politician doing that is a very honest thing to do.

"Certainly not something I would encourage is to act outside the rules, but I'm not unsympathetic to the fact that a lot of people on the benefit are doing it tough. No one ever got wealthy on a benefit."

Mr Little said it was up to Ms Turei to decide if she should pay the money back.

Finance Minister, Steven Joyce, was less sympathetic.

"Most New Zealanders whether they are on a benefit or paying their taxes would think people should follow the rules.

"I think there'll be a lot of disappointment that she's chosen to come out and say she hasn't followed the rules."

This article was originally published by RNZ.

MostReadArticlesCollectionWidget - Most Read - Used in articles
AdvertModule - Advert - M-Rec / Halfpage

Latest

Jane Goodall: We can live in harmony with nature
76836 2017-07-25 00:00:00Z Profiles

Jane Goodall: We can live in harmony with nature

by Sally Blundell

A world in which humans live in harmony with nature is still possible, says veteran environmental campaigner Jane Goodall.

Read more
Film festival 2017: David Larsen on the highlights (and lowlights) so far
76887 2017-07-25 00:00:00Z Movies

Film festival 2017: David Larsen on the highlights…

by David Larsen

The New Zealand International Film Festival is back for another year and Metro's David Larsen is in his happy place.

Read more
Richard Dawkins' truth, science and tediousness
76845 2017-07-25 00:00:00Z Books

Richard Dawkins' truth, science and tediousness

by Danyl McLauchlan

Richard Dawkins’ profound admiration for himself comes through loud and clear – with footnotes.

Read more
As anti-vaccination numbers rise, is it a case of herd stupidity, not immunity?
75047 2017-07-25 00:00:00Z Health

As anti-vaccination numbers rise, is it a case of …

by Sarah Lang

It’s astonishing just how many well-educated, presumably semi-intelligent New Zealanders subscribe to and try to spread this kind of nonsense.

Read more
The dreaded autocorrect disaster
76840 2017-07-25 00:00:00Z Life in NZ

The dreaded autocorrect disaster

by Joanne Black

Autocorrect may hide your texting and typing bloopers, but it won’t stop your blushes.

Read more
Retailers say competition laws block charge on plastic bags
76850 2017-07-24 16:14:42Z Environment

Retailers say competition laws block charge on pla…

by RNZ

1.5 billion plastic bags are used here each year and on average it takes just 12 minutes before a bag enters the waste stream.

Read more
Crossword 1037 answers and explanations
6 reasons your next family holiday should be in Taranaki
76777 2017-07-24 08:32:07Z Travel

6 reasons your next family holiday should be in Ta…

by Venture Taranaki

How to holiday like a local in the Naki.

Read more