'I'll always be in politics' - Metiria Turei

  • 24/09/2017

Metiria Turei is out of parliament, but says she'll always be in politics. 

Ms Turei lost to Labour's Rino Tirikatene in the Te Tai Tonga electorate, continuing her campaign despite resigning from the Green Party list.

She told The Hui she didn't regret admitting to benefit fraud in the 1990s, a revelation that effectively ended her political career. 

"I have always stood up for the people who needed me the most and those are the people who have the least voice in parliament. 

"The work I've done on mending the safety net and telling my story during this election campaign, I will always be proud of that, because that opened the conversation, so the whole country now cannot be ignorant of the harm that poverty's causing and the harm that our broken WINZ system is causing people."

Despite her public fall from grace, she said she had no intention of abandoning politics.

"I'll always be in politics. I may not be in Parliament, but I will always be in politics. 

"I've been doing politics now for nearly 30 years in one form or another, because our people matter.

"Making life easier and better for the people who have the least is the most important thing to me."

She said she would miss working with the Greens, a team she was proud to have built.

"But there's a time to be doing this work and there's a time to finish, and my time is finished."

Ms Turei wasn't worried about the Greens' low polling, after the party at one point was in danger of missing out on the five percent threshold to stay in Parliament.

"The Green movement is really strong and still pumping. I've seen us come down in vote in the past, when Labour has been high, so I've been around long enough to see the fluctuations. 

"For some people, that's new, and it will be difficult for them to deal with and process.

"But this is what politics is like - it's a very tumultuous business, it can be a very bruising business. It is all about making the change for our people, and for our land and for our water, and the Greens will always be committed to that."

Ms Turei said she does not have concrete plans, now that she is out of Parliament.

"The whole wide world is open for me now, so I have to say how grateful I have been for all of the support for my campaign team that's been working for me in Te Tai Tonga ... amazing people doing amazing work in very difficult circumstances. 

"I will be forever grateful to everyone who's backed me, but yeah, who knows what's next."