The Australian Greens like to think of themselves as the moral arbiters of the nation. They rage against the major parties’ MPs abusing their entitlements but we later learn that they are not much better. Just looking at Sarah Hanson-Young, she blew her staff travel budget by a third and at one stage owed the Department of Finance $20,460.76 earlier this year. Her travel entitlements bill from mid-2008 when she first arrived in the Senate until the end of 2014 was $970,000.
They were okay of course because they were for noble causes, such as travel to refugee camps and environmental conferences. Most recently she came under fire for taking her sick daughter on a $4000 taxpayer funded whale watching trip. This was okay again because she was trying to balance being a single mother with work and she labelled her critics “grumpy old white men”.
It seems the left believe they never waste taxpayers’ money or abuse their entitlements because they are all in the name of worthy causes and most of the time the media and political class lets them get away with it. They also aren’t of the view that taxpayers’ money comes from hardworking ordinary people but instead mainly comes from greedy rich people exploiting the lower class.
Well it would appear that the Green Party over the Tasman is very similar in their disregard for taxpayers’ money. The Co-Leader of the New Zealand Greens Metiria Turei (The Greens have two co-leaders, one male one female in the interests of gender equality) recently revealed during an address to Greens members that she committed welfare fraud in the 1990s. She was on a single parent’s benefit called the domestic purposes benefit and did not disclose to the welfare authority at the time she was accepting rent payments from her flatmates.
As like Sarah Hanson-Young in Australia she also claimed that her fraud was for a noble purpose as she feared her and her daughter would have their benefit cut off and would not be able to survive. She stated the purpose of her admission was to have a “national conversation about what welfare is like, how hard it is, how impossible it is for people to live well and that we need a more compassionate and caring welfare system”.
Her fraud has rightly attracted severe criticism from other political leaders and commentators in the media. Perhaps realizing she had confessed to a crime she has stated she will co-operate with an investigation into her fraud by the Ministry of Social Development and would be repaying any amount she was not entitled to.
Turei has now been revealed to have committed another fraud. This time she has confessed to registering to vote at a false address so she could vote for a friend running in the 1993 election. Despite her actions not befitting that of a lawmaker she will not be resigning either as Co-Leader or from Parliament, claiming that “Change is coming and I am proud of being part of leading that change in this election”.
However, she did rule herself out of taking a Ministerial position if there is a Labour-Greens government (which would take an electoral miracle based on the current polling). How very nice of her to decide against administering a government department when she once defrauded one.
New Labour leader Jacinda Ardern who is the left’s new pin up girl claims that the recent scandals involving Turei don’t change the Memorandum of Understanding between the two parties which commits them to work together in the lead up to the September 23rd election. Ardern said “This doesn’t change the relationship between Labour and the Greens”.
So it would appear that once again because a politician is a member of the left they escape a very serious scandal unscathed, because they meant well. It seems not to matter if the scandal happens in Australia or New Zealand, the double standard still takes place. At least the New Zealand public are not buying Turei’s excuse with a NewsHub poll showing that 66% of respondents want her to resign. Let’s hope the New Zealand Greens and the Labour Party who protect them are punished at the polls for the blatant disregard one of their own has for taxpayer funds and the rule of law.