National | Green Party

Metiria Turei admits lying to survive

Metiria Turei admits she lied to receive a welfare benefit more than 20-years ago. The Green Party co-leader dropped the bomb today during the party’s announcement for welfare reforms.

“That is what being on a benefit did to me – it made me poor and it made me lie.”

Turei admitted she did not declare receiving monies from flatmates to survive while on the benefit.

"I knew if I told the truth about how many people were living in the house my benefit would be cut.
"It is possible that WINZ could do an investigation into my case and I could be charged."

Turei used her own experience as an example of why reforms were needed to help struggling families.

The Green Party reforms include;

  • Increase all benefit payments by 20-percent and remove all sanctions and obligations for beneficiaries
  • Raise the top tax rate to 40 percent for earners of more than $150,000 a year
  • Reduce the bottom rate to nine-percent for those with incomes under $14,000 a year
  • Increase the minimum wage by $2 to $17.75

Turei stopped short of admitting fraud saying she needed the extra monies beyond the benefit so she and her daughter could survive.

“I personally feel I have a responsibility to tell it how it is because people don't have the privileged position that I do."

Turei says the policy would help nearly 100,000 Māori on the benefit and working families struggling to make ends meet.