OPINION: Metiria Turei’s biggest ripoff is that she is trying to exploit the New Zealand public for political gain.
Yes, she also systematically ripped off the taxpayer by committing benefit fraud.
But make no mistake: the main motivation of her admission was to try and get votes.
It is all about getting attention for her and the Greens.
- Turei campaigned for a joke party instead of looking for a job
- Turei will pay WINZ if she's asked, but doesn't regret lying
It is all a tactic - the party wants to turn her into Aotearoa's Bernie Sanders or Jeremy Corbyn.
Good luck to them - but it still needs to be called out as nothing but a calculated political move by the Green leadership and spin doctors to get attention.
It is an attempt to use her benefit fraud to manipulate the media and the public eight weeks before an election.
It is all about Metiria.
In my opinion, she is ripping off the New Zealand public by dropping, drip-feeding and dragging out this saga. It is a political fraud.
Everything else is secondary. Yes, she genuinely wants to help New Zealand's poor - but her priority has been to rip off the public and get votes.
She is playing textbook wedge politics - she wants people to criticise her because that extends the story.
Metiria Turei and the Greens are playing a game with the New Zealand public.
And for that she has to be held accountable - she has to tell the taxpayer the truth about what happened all that time ago.
Why doesn't she start doing that now? She's made enough gain politically from it, but now it's time to front up.
The Greens have a taxpayer funded research unit - why doesn’t Turei put them on the case of finding out roughly how much she owes.
If it was really all about coming clean and doing something for poverty she would have paid the money back by now - so someone needy can use it.
Patrick Gower is Newshub's political editor.