Much of the New Zealand 'left' thinks Green Party co-leader Metiria Turei is 'entitled' to wear $2000 jackets.
THE GREEN PARTY'S election campaign slogan has already been decided. It will be 'Fight For Your Right to Wear Expensive Fashion.' It's hardly a transitional demand, not even reformist, but it is 'aspirational'. There is room at the top for us all, and Green co-leader Metiria Turei has proved it. It'll have everyone running to the streets, demanding to be able to wear expensive fashion just like Metiria. It'll be like a scene out of Les Miserables.
While many of the people that Turei claims to represent probably shop downtown at the second hand clothes stores, the fact that Turei shops uptown in the high end boutique stores, is apparently not a glaring political contradiction. Indeed criticism of her is driven solely by resentment that she, a working class Maori woman , has made it to 'the top'.
It's amazing how much of the 'New Zealand left' also think that Turei is entitled to luxuriate in the warm waters of an opulent bourgeois culture. Indeed any criticism is apparently driven purely by racism and sexism. It's not Turei's fault she's wealthy.
What's more, women MP's squabbling among themselves is so unseemly.
According to TVNZ reporter Katie Bradford it is a slur against 'the
sisterhood'. The sisterhood appears to involve professional women -
like Bradford probably - also getting to 'the top'. There aren't
enough women in this exclusive club apparently. It doesn't seem to have
occurred to Bradford that what we should really be doing is tearing
the clubhouse down, rather than trying to get into it.
And, as a 'white honky' I'm sure someone is about to tell me that I'm exhibiting 'white man knows best' syndrome. But I just think that we should aspire to the values of socialism rather than the status-seeking, money-grabbing values of the ruling order.
Turei is, they all say, deserving of all that she has got. And, she has got a lot - just like her happy parliamentary colleagues. She's got a big salary, a big expense account, free travel, free accommodation, free meals. And $2000 jackets.
It's not so much that a working class hero is something to be, rather a wealthy bourgeois politician is something to be. Turei wants to be both though. She wants to have her cake and eat it too. Sorry Metiria - it doesn't work that way.
It is instructive to compare the dodgy politics of Turei with Uruguay's President José Mujica. He's not someone that many people will have heard of, which is a pity.
Mujica, who was elected president in 2009, donates 90 per of his salary to charity. He lives in a small one bedroom house with his wife and he rides a beat-up motorbike to work.
Mujica earns approximately $US12,500 a month, but only keeps $US 1,250 for himself, the Spanish newspaper El Mundo has reported.
“I do fine with that amount. I have to do fine because there are many Uruguayans who live with much less,” Jose told the newspaper. He went on to say: "I'm just sick of the way things are. We're in an age in which we can't live without accepting the logic of the market."
It's also worth comparing Turei's enthusiasm for the trappings of office with the viewpoint of former British MP Dave Nellist. From his election in 1983 to his deselection by Labour in 1992, Nellist kept less than half his salary. He would only accept the average wage of a skilled factory worker in his constituency of Coventry, which amounted to 46% of his salary as an MP.
The other 54% of his salary was donated to community groups, charities and political campaigns. Nellist felt as, a representative of his community, he wasn't entitled to live a opulent lifestyle when so many of the people he was trying to represent were struggling. He also believed in the peculiar notion that he wasn't in parliament to advance his own personal career.