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Metiria Turei resigns as Green Party Co-Leader due to family intrusion; Shaw to solely lead party into election

Metiria Turei resigns as Green Party Co-Leader due to family intrusion; Shaw to solely lead party into election

By Alex Tarrant and Jenée Tibshraeny

Green Party co-leader Metiria Turei has resigned from the position and announced she will not be standing on the party list at this year's general election.

Turei and male co-leader James Shaw made the announcement in Parliament Wednesday evening. Shaw will solely lead the party into the 23 September election, with another female co-leader to be elected at the party's next general meeting.

Turei at the party's AGM in July revealed she had committed benefit fraud in her 20s by not declaring the correct number of flatmates she had while receiving the domestic purposes benefit. More recently, she admitted to have enrolled in an electorate she did not live in when she was 23, in order to vote for a friend standing in that seat.

Her resignation comes after two Green Party MPs, Kennedy Graham and David Clendon, on Tuesday withdrew from the Greens' caucus after a demand that Turei stand-down from the leadership was not met. Shaw told media on Wednesday that the two rebel MPs would not be allowed back into caucus, as they had brought the party into disrepute.

Turei said she made the decision to stand down while travelling between two meetings in a taxi this afternoon. She said the reason she had stood aside was due to intrusion into her family's life; she said she could take the political heat that had been thrown at her, but that the decision was purely down to the effect coverage was having on her family.

Turei also said she did not want to be a distraction for the Green Party's election goals.

Shaw said he had not put any pressure on Turei to resign. He supported her in the decision due to the family factor, he said.

Turei said she was bouyed that her admission had sparked a debate over how beneficiaries in New Zealand were treated by Work and Income.

Read a statement from the Green Party below:

Metiria Turei has resigned as Co-Leader of the Green Party this evening.

Since opening a conversation about the reality of poverty in New Zealand and the solutions to it three weeks ago, Metiria Turei and her family have been under extreme scrutiny.

“I knew that by telling my personal story, it would help people hear and understand the reality of poverty. And that has happened – thousands of people have contacted the Green Party with their stories, and many have come forward to tell these in the media as well,” said Mrs Turei.

“I also knew that it would open the way for people to criticise me – and I knew the risks of that - but the intensity of those attacks has become too much for my family, and they are now getting in the way of our ability to communicate our solutions – not just for poverty, but for water, climate change and the environment.

“Resigning as Co-Leader is my decision. The party did not ask me to resign and as recently as last night the executive gave me a vote of confidence,” said Mrs Turei.

Green Party Co-Leader James Shaw has thanked Metiria Turei for her long years of service to the Green Party.

“Metiria has been a servant for the party, the environment and for our people for many years. Her dedication and commitment have been unparalleled. As I have said, she chose to tell her story in order to open a conversation – and she has done that,” said Mr Shaw.

“I urge everyone who believes in the environment and our people, including those who have come forward in the last few weeks, to continue with their support. It is more important than ever that we change the government,” said Mr Shaw.

Metiria Turei will no longer be on the Green Party list but will campaign for the party vote only in Te Tai Tonga.

James Shaw will be the sole co-leader for the election. This is consistent with the approach when Co-Leader Rod Donald died ahead of the 2005 election.  The Green Party will select a new female co-leader at a general meeting.

We welcome your comments below. If you are not already registered, please register to comment.

Remember we welcome robust, respectful and insightful debate. We don't welcome abusive or defamatory comments and will de-register those repeatedly making such comments. Our current comment policy is here.


a sure sign there is more to come, resigning is the only way to shut it down

Winston must be psychic. After Metiria called him a racist he predicted there would be consequences and so its come to pass.

Haha. So true.

The great Watermelon party is rotting from the core...

She was finally pushed to preserve the few % points left in their poles, they will be lucky to get 5% come election time - Who is next at the exit door i wonder ??

Perhaps there more to come out about her living arrangements at the time ?

Her message was much more important than the indiscretion.


Too slow. Too late. Too unrepentant. You could say hoist by her own petard but that would be a gross understatement . And two good men, who had a better sense of Green reality, doctrine and dignity, than any of their colleagues have been lost, all because of her misguided ego, arrogance and selfishness. Loony left alright, good riddance.

Yep. And Shaw is partly responsible as well. He would have given his OK for her to use her despicable tactics.
I wonder if the two much maligned Old White Dudes will now stay!!! Haha.

The arrogance and single mindedness in sticking to a failed script became her downfall.The calculated "confession" to push the ratings up by pulling in the more left leaning supporters rather than concentrating on traditional environmental concerns, backfired badly. The Greens were looking at 15% one week now are touching 8%, a disaster for their supporters.
There was a smell of manipulation and with the glossed over gaps in her pushy narrative evident from the very beginning, it was inevitable it was going to end badly. The pity of it all, is that the issues with poverty and being a beneficiary deserved better advocacy than her ham-fisted virtue signalling.

You're so right about the arrogance. Still unrepentant because she and her former co-leader fail to admit what she did is wrong (benefit fraud is stealing from off of us taxpayers).
James Shaw is complicit in this regard - as he has failed to call it out (as wrong).
Jacinda Adern is hardly any better in not condemning the fraud - and implicitly condemns it or at least turns a blind eye. She is wrong on this and needs to be called out.

Still unrepentant because she and her former co-leader fail to admit what she did is wrong

Are you going to demand the same repentance from English and Barclay?

James Shaw is complicit in this regard - as he has failed to call it out (as wrong).

Was not English complicit in allowing Barclay to lie to the public, and indeed in misleading the public as to what he himself knew, i.e. failing to call it out and to call it out as wrong?

....hardly any better in not condemning the fraud... at least turns a blind eye....needs to be called out.

Again - where's the consistency? English appears to have lied to the public and not condemned a crime, turned a blind eye and been complicit in failing to call it out.

Are you going to condemn the opposition parties but not hold National to the same standards? How real can ethical and moral standards possibly be if they don't apply to one's own party...are they not at this point, worthless?

Risk, stick to the facts. Meteria admitted to committing fraud.

The other stuff is still just conjecture

Really, that's your line?

I think you need to take your own advice re sticking to the facts:

Prime Minister Bill English's statement admitting he knew MP Todd Barclay had a recording of a staff member was enough for police to launch a search for the dictaphone, a top barrister says.

The debacle surrounding the Clutha-Southland MP has threatened to derail the National party and, on Wednesday, the 27-year-old announced he was not standing for re-election, effectively ending his career in politics.

Barclay allegedly made a clandestine recording of an employee, Glenys Dickson, who then received a secret payment from former PM John Key's leader budget.


Also check:

Where will you draw the line, morally?

No explanation for the 450 txts including many in the early hours of the morning. That's a lot of dick pics to be sending.

Video in there now

I would say Turei made a wise decision.

However, Labour has already been heavily contaminated.

Last week was a big week for Labour. This week has been a disaster! (Probably not recoverable before 23 September.)

what poles are you looking at ????

What has changed? What a claytons!
Turei is still there and so are the row of nodding clowns in the background displaying support for her as co-leader as she faced the press yesterday.
Turei playing the victim card has blamed her resignation on the pressures her family faced. Sorry Turei, you no longer have integrity or credibility; the reality is that it is the disastrous polls.
The reality this whole affair has made the internal division within the Greens obvious; that between those who have supported environmental issues and a new wave of ex-"McGillicuddy Serious Party" members who have picked off an easy target to push their focus on a social justice agenda.
The Forest and Bird membership is a pretty conservative lot and I see them walking away from Greens support.

You need to get your facts straight. She is no longer on the party list , she won't be a MP after the Election. Yet she chose to continue to campaign for them anyway.
There has been no disastrous poll for the Greens , the last Poll had them up 4 %.

TV3 Reid poll shows 1/3rd drop in their polling.

Correlation ain't Causation, but still......

A Wizened PM (Labs are 33%, up 9%) with Ms Front Teef as Deputy is my prediction.......

Imbecilic children's playground post


Protecting her family ? Well yes - because maybe there is more to come on what the family setup really was.

So the Greens are going to reinstate the two they knifed for asking her to resign ?


No , Shaw says they are the ones who have brought the party into disrepute. Shaw management of situation has been appalling..Greens will lose more support yet...

They may drop back to 5%, their credibility has been destroyed now. The impression given is that blind loyalty to individuals and ideology trumps honesty and integrity. The irony is that National are no better, but know how to BS there way out of it for the most part; Todd Barclay, Key, English, Smith & Collins - put your hands up for duplicity.


Yet the biggest fraudster of them all, Bill English has yet to resign. Hypocrisy is rife.

Yeah but he was doing it the rich person way, trusts and stuff, probably legal to the letter of the law - but never tested in court mind you. The crucial point - he never admitted doing any wrong, just that "it was a bit of a bad look". So he is a very honorable man...

Well so long as you don't look too deeply into the Barkley affair - but again no charges laid - even though Barclay asked Bill if he wanted to listen to the tapes he secretly recorded. And Bill told the police about that. Did the police not believe Bill? Also Bill allowed Barkley to lie to the media up until it all came out... All a bit different to the outcome of the teapot tapes... Hmm, wonder why?

Also Bill did the exact same thing Turei did with his electorate enrollment, as did John Key, but that is supposedly old and unrelated news...

Wasn't it John Keys mate who was making a lot of money setting up foreign trusts for over seas rich people to help 'minimise' their tax payments? Of course the cry at the time was - well if we don't let them do it here, they will do it somewhere else!

I think if anything, Turei is guilty of being too honest.. And that seems to be a horrendous crime in NZ politics. Never admit wrong doing.. No accountability.. I mean listen to any National Party member getting interviewed on any problems - "No, no problem with us, it is someone else's fault" - "It isn't a case of not enough money" - radah radah radah. Its OK to fail if you have good intentions and learn from the experience, changing how you operate. The problem is the government is not there for the population, they are there for big business and the rich.

Hypocrisy is unbelievably rife..


Heh, honesty and integrity are standards to hold the opposition parties to, silly. Not "our team".

(In all seriousness, Turei in resigning has done the right thing. And with more guts than Barclay and his apparently complicit leader.)

Rick, that is utter nonsense. She has only gone because the heat got too much and not that she has seen the error of her fraudulent ways.
I'm guessing that there is more to come and the full extent of the dirty saga (and extent of the fraud) will still emerge.

Point being, English and Barclay are not being held to the same level of accountability for honesty and integrity as the opposition are, by National voters. In one comment it's all "honest and integrity", and in another it's "nothing to see here, just an employment issue, move along".

This is might of power but for how long, now.

The Greens lost me as a voter when she became co leader. Since then I have not had a party who represents my interests. The two (Graham & Clendon) who resigned yesterday are the type of people who I would have voted for. What a CF. Mr Shaw really needs some good council about now if the party is to retain any relevance or any future. He should invite Graham & Clendon back to the fold. We need a green party with credibility to temper the excesses from National and unfettered growth at all costs.

CF: cluster frolic?

Climactic fiasco

I feel like a broken record: this is the party, along with Labour, that wants to run the country. Labour/Greens can't organise a drink-up in a brewery.

And yet you let this party run the country -

I feel like a broken record, this party has run the country for the past 9 years. National can organize a drink-up at a National voter's soiree, anything else not so much.

Ok then , I am feeling like a broken record too:

let's Do this, Vote for a real change, VOTE NATIONAL :)

It is now time to bring this Circus to a close !!

haha, that is so funny!

I've actually never voted National in my life. But I don't get your point. Are you saying since National is bad then it's ok for Labour/Greens to be bad too? Or are you saying something else. The failings of one party does excuse the failings of another.

Not much more can be said, as IMO she didn't have much choice to resign as leader. A bit of a surprise that she plans to leave parliament altogether though.

All this huffing and puffing and these protestations from National supporters. The green party just became a heck of a lot more of a threat to National with James Shaw solely at the helm. You all know it too!

Overly self righteous attitude, but then again what do you expect from a fraudster? The same attitude we see now is the same one which enables the fraud. However there is a severe lack of political nous here. I think this is what Barry Soper is talking about in his nz herald article. It was just a matter of time for the resignation to come. It's also pretty obvious that that polls forced her hand, in other words a reality check. However even that is not enough to admit any wrong doing due to the stranglehold of cognitive dissonance.

Maybe she realized that neither her party caucus or Green voters owe her any fealty