It's hard to know what to say after the unbelievable last 48 hours that have passed since Metiria announced she will be stepping down from her position of Green co-leader and would likely not return to parliament as an MP after the election.
I am ashamed.
I truly don't think I've ever been so profoundly, devastatingly disappointed and ashamed of my country-folk. Something truly terrible has occurred; not just in the immense, immense loss to our political landscape with her departure but something horrible has been exposed in our country's lack of empathy, its blinding hypocrisy, its deeply entrenched hatred of poor, of beneficiaries, of women (particularly solo mothers), and of Maori. Metiria has been punished for being those people. Her incredible loyalty, dedication, sacrifice and aroha for this country and its people has been reduced to one thing - she is a criminal.
I feel disgust. Disgust at Labour's lack of allyship; disgust at the media; disgust at those who point their gnarled, hypocritical fingers at Metiria and other beneficiaries for doing what they need to TO SURVIVE and turn a blind eye to the crimes of other politicians and people in power; disgust at those who think people on benefits shouldn't live full lives; and yes disgust at those two Green MPs who chose to turn their backs on their leader's principled, brave,important decision to share her story as a way to shine a light on a broken system. I'm paraphrasing here but Martin Luther Kind said something like - we have an obligation to stand up to and yes indeed disobey unjust laws. Where the fuck would we be if people hadn't laid their lives on the line to do this on our behalf? My mind reels. I want to say that Metiria's legacy based on what she has done will endure - and I believe it will - but this gives me no solace. Anger is good and it is necessary and we must turn it into action.
1. Toby Morris' simple, powerful and devastating cartoon.
2. Yvone Tahana's piece Opinion: Turei's demise sends a clear message to Maori
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."
3. Stephanie Rodgers, I will remember Metiria Turei differently
"I will remember that for 30 years, no one really challenged the brutal reality of life for the poor in New Zealand. We lamented child poverty rates. We railed against increasingly draconian policies and re-brandings. But there was a gentlemen's agreement that things weren't that bad, the system did what it could, it was just so complicated, we can't simply give people money, they've got rights but they have responsibilities too.
I will remember that as soon as someone - a Māori woman who survived poverty and didn't forget where she came from - said 'This is fundamentally wrong, and we must do better,' she was finished."
5. I thought about ending this on a posivibes note but I can't find that in me right now. So instead I'll leave you with this anonymous piece I read a few weeks ago on E Tangata- #MyMumWasMetiria
"After Metiria Turei spoke out about what she did to survive on the DPB, the howls of outrage from some people took me back to when we were doing the same kind of thing.
I reckon that whatever some people think we’ve taken from this country, we have given back tenfold. To be perfectly honest, people who want us to pay back whatever pittance our mum made doing someone else’s washing, should first go and ask every multimillion-dollar fraudster to pay back what they took.
Start with South Canterbury Finance: I think that $1.6 billion is a bit more than we got paid to do people’s dirty washing."