New Zealand Green Party co-leader Metiria Turei is under fire for revealing that she lied to Work and Income New Zealand about her living situation in the 1990s, so she could vote in another electorate and receive a higher benefit payout. It has been announced that she is “unlikely” to face jail time, something that was never on the cards for ex-prime minister John Key after the Panama Papers or Dirty Politics revelations, and isn’t for either prime minister Bill English for “scamming” $900 per week.
Yes. This is racism and sexism and hypocrisy.
One of the biggest hypocrisies to my mind, is the way this situation fits a broader pattern about which we are, these days, not allowed to speak. Because of this very double standard, Māori women are the fastest growing prison population in New Zealand, locked up in prison for petty crimes while the vast majority of real violent and economic crime is carried out by males.
This is sexism when the threat lands on a female member of parliament, and leftists are rightly expected to join the chorus stating the fact in support of Turei. Yet, while Turei says she has “started a conversation”, she is at the same time working to shut down crucial aspects of that conversation. The Labour and Green Party’s so-called “rainbow” policies promoting gender-as-identity are going a long way to hinder and halt discussions about systemic sexism.
What incarcerated women – suffering the double standard Turei is suffering, to a much worse degree – get from the left, is not public outcry about sex discrimination. They get groups like No Pride in Prisons calling for male rapists who identify as women to be moved to the already overflowing women’s prisons they are stuck in – more punishment. When it comes to the collective of women without status, sex is immaterial; but for women with status, suddenly sex is real, valid and sexism is totally unacceptable and outrageous. That’s the greatest hypocrisy going on here, to me.
Both Labour party leader Jacinda Ardern, and Green Party co-leader Metiria Turei support policies that may be marketed in lolly colours, but betray women collectively. Their policies on gender erase the physical, material reality of sex, and thus handbrake and prevent conversations about male violence, and the systemic sexism affecting, for instance, our too-high female prison population. Both leaders do this, even whilst they benefit from the fact that just about the whole left will come to their aid to decry sexism against them.
Sorry for your struggle, both of you. But get it together.