There’s a tale told by Kumashiro of a game played by a group of children, girls against boys. The girls choose the game and they win the first time. So the boys demand a rematch, and they lose again. And then again. Everyone is wondering why the boys keep losing, until someone asks “who designed the game?”
Metiria Turei was trying to succeed in a game that wasn’t designed for her to win. That game sometimes becomes simply survival, when you live in a world that looks down upon women, and Māori, and beneficiaries, and single mothers, and you are all of those things. Her resignation from the Green Party today makes the political deeply personal once again, because she is still being disadvantaged, and so am I.
No amount of teaching someone to play an unfair game stops it being unfair. When you live in a system that hurts your children, you look at the game differently, and you realise that legality doesn’t always mean justice, and policy is sometimes wrong, and people who make the rules have money and power but that doesn’t necessarily mean they are right.
When, despite all odds, you start to win (as Metiria was) and you get shoved out of the ring for bravery, and honesty, and fighting for justice for those who can’t always fight for themselves, the game is proven to be unfair yet again.
I didn’t have a strong opinion about Metiria before this controversy, but you can bet I do now. We need more people like her in parliament, not less. At the very least, I hope we can continue the conversation she has spoken to for so long. Thank you Metiria, for being honest in a world that is more comfortable with deceit. I stand with you.