The left of New Zealand Politics is now in dissary just over a month out from New Zealand’s general election. Greens New Zealand Co-Leader Metiria Turei has just resigned from her position and will not seek re-election.
She recently confessed to committing welfare fraud in the 1990’s while on a single parent benefit and also registering to vote at a false address.
After initially resisting calls to resign, pressure grew when Greens MPs David Clendon and Kennedy Graham resigned in protest over her handling of the situation. Turei claimed the scrutiny over her family history become unbearable. It was only yesterday she stated she would stay on.
But another factor would have been the plummeting poll numbers for the Greens which saw their support almost halved from 15% to 8%. It is refreshing for once that a left wing politician has been held accountable for their conduct, especially that it was her own side that applied the extra pressure which pushed her out.
New Zealand Labour’s poll numbers meanwhile have surged under new leader Jacinda Ardern going from 23% to 36%. That would vindicate their last minute decision to switch from Andrew Little and should also be cause for concern for conservatives. They have picked up both Green and New Zealand First voters while the National Party has taken a slight dip.
For the Greens the question is can Turei’s resignation stop the political damage to party? If a New Zealand party fails to obtain 5% of the vote they do not gain representation in parliament. All those on the right are hoping this fall from moral grace for the Greens sees their influence in New Zealand reduced.