Former Green Party leader Metiria Turei puts Government on blast over new payment scheme

The Green Party is revolting against the Government's new payments for those who lose their jobs to COVID.

Co-leader Marama Davidson has called it unfair to beneficiaries who are paid much less - and a former co-leader has used a much stronger word to describe the Government.

Metiria Turei went down fighting for beneficiaries, admitting she had to lie to WINZ to support her young child.

"I had to tell a lie," she explained at the time.

It was a lie that cost her her career. And now from the outside Turei is kicking the fight up a gear - calling her former party's Government partners a "pack of c**ts".

She's taking issue with the Government paying those who lose their job to COVID-19 much more than beneficiaries.

The Income Relief Payments is $490 a week tax-free. But after tax, the jobseeker benefit is basically half that - $250 a week. Sole parent support is $375 a week after tax. 

"It shows just how unlivable and low the current benefit rates are," Davidson says.

Her criticism is not quite as strong as her predecessor, but then Davidson has faced a backlash over bad language herself after she repeatedly used the c-word at a public event.

When asked if she agrees with Turei's sentiments, Davidson says "it's completely up to her what she says".

But she agrees that the Government's policy is unfair, saying "we've been very clear we want everyone to have enough income".

But not according to Social Development Minister Carmel Sepuloni.

"I've just spoken to Marama Davidson. She's not furious at all. They support this policy."

However it's not just the Greens - Labour's Employment Minister Willie Jackson isn't happy either with what's been labelled a two-class benefit system.

"We've got some criticism with regards to it," he says.

The Greens did have 'welfare overhaul' written into its confidence and supply agreement with Labour but other than a couple of minor tweaks not much progress has been made.

They need to do a lot more to convince voters that having the Green Party in Government is actually effecting change.