24 Sep 2017

Metiria Turei bows out

7:05 am on 24 September 2017

Metiria Turei has bowed out of politics after 15 years, saying she does not regret telling her benefit fraud story.

Metiria Turei after announcing she was resigning as Green co-leader.

Metiria Turei after announcing she was resigning as Green co-leader. Photo: RNZ / Rebekah Parsons-King

The former Green Party co-leader stood down six weeks ago and came off the party's list after revealing she had lied to increase her welfare payments in the early 1990s.

Mrs Turei later admitted enrolling at an address where she was not living in 1993, saying she did it to vote for a friend who was running as a candidate.

Despite resigning from the Greens list, she stood in the Te Tai Tonga electorate but only managed about half of the votes of Labour's Rino Tirikatene, who has been strongly returned.

Ms Turei said she had regrets, but not about telling her story.

"I will never regret making poverty a major issue in this election. I wish I had understood the impact on my family better - of making that admission - but I don't regret having done it," she said.

Mrs Turei said it was up to the voters whether she went back to Parliament, and she is completely fine with not being returned.

A new co-leader to replace Mrs Turei will be selected at the Greens' next general meeting.

Green Party co-leader James Shaw speaking after Budget 2016.

Green Party leader James Shaw. Photo: RNZ/Elliott Childs

Party leader James Shaw has said Mrs Turei started an important conversation which had made people uncomfortable - including some inside the party.

"We have paid a heavy price for that and Metiria has paid a particularly heavy price for that."

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