Metiria Turei v Barry Soper: Questioning turns into heated debate

Author
Barry Soper,
Section
Opinion,
Publish Date
Tuesday, 25 July 2017, 8:16PM
Greens co-leader Metiria Turei admitted she knows another young mum who's deceiving WINZ - but she won't be dobbing her in (Getty Images, File).

The Greens are on a mission and woe betide anyone who tries to deviate from their message, even though the conclusion for some of us is unavoidable: It's okay to break the law if you're struggling to make ends meet.

The champion of law breaking Metiria Turei was sizzling on the media grill on her way into Parliament's bear pit when she beamed about the support she's got since admitting ripping off the system as a solo mum, illegally supplementing her meagre welfare cheque with secret flatmates. She's been mobbed in the street with well-wishers, not a word of complaint.

She then dropped another bombshell, telling the story about a flatmate of a solo mum who told her the young mother was doing exactly what she did as a young woman - but rather than seeing her as a lawbreaker, Turei said she was doing the best she could for her child.

Mistake number one, asking her whether she was going to dob the woman in. It was as though the apocalypse had arrived as the visible shudder went through Turei's support team at her side, including her co-leader and fellow conspirator, James Shaw.

But if the law's not worth the statute it's written on, then why shouldn't the woman start selling dope, something The Greens want decriminalised, which would certainly bring in more money than shared rent?

Worse was to come though at the end of the 10-minute grill, during which time Turei frequently used the word choice, suggesting the miserly welfare system doesn't give its recipients any choice but to break the law.

Judging by the reaction of the Greens surrounding her, I was as bad as the former Prime Minister Gordon Coates telling a group of unemployed people to eat grass.

Since we were talking about choice, isn't it the choice of a mother to have a child? The exasperated sigh filled the lungs before she decried it as an illegitimate question, accusing me of saying that those who are poor shouldn't have children, a notion which she totally rejected, labelling it as "another example or how the poor are treated differently in this country, with denigration and discrimination."

It was put to her that she seemed to be saying you can make a choice to have a baby but then it's okay to go out and rip off the system. She blanched, and a bit like a school ma'am, told me it was a terrible notion and suggested that I should know that.

Yeah well she'd clearly had enough, refusing to answer any more questions, and was already walking into the bear pit when it was put to her that we all make choices in life, including the choice to lie.

It was like being buried beneath a truckload of squishy cucumbers as the minders, following in her wake, hissed at me!

LISTEN ABOVE AS BARRY SOPER DESCRIBES THE HEATED DEBATE TO RACHEL SMALLEY

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