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Oh what a tangled web we weave, when first we practise to deceive – Part (1)


This phrase, from Sir Walter Scott’s poem Marmion, rather sums up the incredibly murky, constantly changing of Metiria Turei’s story about how she is a benefit fraudster.

This is the first in a series of posts about the constantly evolving saga about Turei, her crimes and the Greens.

First off we have her speech on 16 July to the Greens conference, amongst other things she said:

I have talked to you before about my time on the DPB. I was a single mum, raising my beautiful girl Piupiu while doing my law degree, and I was on the benefit.

I had a great case worker at what we now call WINZ, who treated me with respect.

I had the training incentive allowance as a grant to help me pay my fees and childcare. I had great support from my family and my baby’s dad, and his family too.

This speech provides the initial context for what follows.

Indeed as Adam wrote yesterday there are parallels with Donald Trump and his meeting with the Russians.  The story-line changes daily as the scab is picked at.

So in this speech she states that she had support from her family and from the baby’s father and his family. Adam contends that this is quite likely to include some assistance either monetarily or with gifts of food clothing etc.( More on this later).

Like most people who receive a benefit, I was so careful about managing my money.

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.

I knew exactly how much I had for our bills, our rent, our food. But whatever way I split it, I still didn’t have enough to get by at the end of the week.

What I have never told you before is the lie I had to tell to keep my financial life under control.

Note the use of the word lie, so she confesses to being untruthful and leads into further issues:-

Because despite all the help I was getting, I could not afford to live, study and keep my baby well without keeping a secret from WINZ.

Note the phrase despite all the help I was getting . It seems not unreasonable to assume this encompassed both the benefits received and family support.

Like many families who rely on a benefit, Piu and I moved around a lot when she was little.

We lived in five different flats with various people.

In three of those flats, I had extra flatmates, who paid rent, but I didn’t tell WINZ. I didn’t dare.

I knew that if I told the truth about how many people were living in the house my benefit would be cut.

And I knew that my baby and I could not get by on what was left.

So she took money illegally. Potentially it seems possible that she is guilty not only of benefit fraud but tax fraud as well.

This was the story as told to us on July 16. The Green party conference gave her a massive ovation. This in itself gives us food for thought as regards the moral compass of the Greens.

So let us consider the initial disclosure. There are a number of inferences, assumptions and conclusions that can be drawn from what Ms Turei said on July 16. In addition there are a number of questions which arise from what was said then.


1  Turei chose to out herself for fraud for at least one reason. She was seeking to sell her party and the broader electorate on a policy that would be expensive and also remove many of the controls currently in place to reduce exploitation by the unscrupulous. To that extent it was a cynical and manipulative move by Turei. It was not a noble gesture.

2 The response by her party was appalling. The Greens by the reception they gave Turei and by later comments from Green MPs indicate they condone, and indeed approve of welfare fraud

3 Co-leader James Shaw revealed himself as someone who cannot be trusted through his support of Turei.

4 Turei who sought, at that time, to be a Minster of the Crown revealed herself as someone who will lie systematically, thus suggesting that nothing she says can be trusted.


1 Just what support did Turei receive from family and friends?

2 Did she sign any statutory declarations attesting to the veracity of her claims?

3 What credence can be placed on the ‘facts’ she quoted in the speech?

4 Was her WINZ case worker complicit? How rigourous were WINZ checks at the time?

5 Just what was the nature of  her lifestyle at the time?

6 Why did she deprive herself and her baby of benefit by not revealing who fathered her child?  Was she creating the need for fraud by wilfully not disclosing the name of the father?

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