New Zealand political leader resigns after revealing past welfare fraud

2017-08-09 13:44
The New Zealand flag flutters outside Parliament buildings in Wellington. (Marty Melville, AFP)

The New Zealand flag flutters outside Parliament buildings in Wellington. (Marty Melville, AFP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Wellington – The co-leader of New Zealand's Green Party resigned on Wednesday, three weeks after confessing she committed welfare fraud as a struggling young mother more than 20 years ago.

Metiria Turei said the scrutiny on her family following her disclosure had become unbearable and she worried she was hindering her party's chances six weeks ahead of an election.

Polls indicate support for the Green Party has plummeted since Turei's confession and the appointment last week of Jacinda Ardern as opposition leader.

The liberal Green Party is the nation's third-largest party, with 12 seats in the 119-seat Parliament. It will now run its campaign with a single leader, James Shaw.

Turei made the confession as part of an attempt to energise debate about the difficulties of living on welfare, at the same time pledging to raise benefits by 20%.

A Newshub-Reid Research poll on Wednesday indicated support for the Green Party had dropped from 13% to 8% over the past two weeks while support for Ardern's Labour Party had leaped from 24% to 33%.

Scrutinised

Support for the governing National Party edged down a little to 44%, according to the poll. Under New Zealand's proportional voting system, parties must typically form alliances to govern.

At the Green Party's annual meeting last month, Turei, 47, said that when she was a law student, she didn't have enough money to pay her bills while raising her daughter. She said she lied to authorities about how many roommates she lived with, because the truth would have lowered her accommodation entitlement.

Many political commentators at first described her confession as a bold and effective move. But as reporters and rivals scrutinised her claims, Turei admitted she'd also falsified her voting address and at one point lived with her mother as a roommate.

Earlier this week, two Green Party lawmakers said they wouldn't seek re-election because Turei had not resigned. Turei said as late as Wednesday morning she had no plans to resign, but then changed her mind and will leave Parliament. She had been a lawmaker for 15 years.

"I am confident that if I step aside from the co-leadership, that the Green Party will have the best possible chance of improving our vote and being part of the next government," she said.

Read more on:    new zealand  |  politics  |  fraud

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X

Inside News24

 
/News
 

8 great natural remedies for your pet

Tips and tricks to cure your pet’s itches and coughs, naturally.

 
 

Paws

Buying a puppy? Don’t get scammed!
WATCH: These funny animal videos will make you LOL!
11 animals before and after they were adopted from shelters
Competition pet grooming – creative or too extreme?
Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.