A friend texted: "Turei: smart politics ... or dumb?" I replied: "Both".
Sadly, there's a big chunk of voters who think they're entitled to live off the work of others. They see it as government's job to make that happen. They vote for handouts.
Nothing signals handouts better than a party leader saying, "Hey, I lived on handouts too - and when I was short I lied to get more."
Whoa, Turei gets it. It's exhilarating. She lied and cheated and shows no shame and offers no apology. Imagine her as deputy PM. Wicked. If it's okay for her, it's okay for us.
Turei wins the handout vote, hands-down. The other parties don't come close. They might promise more, but they will expect you to be truthful and live within the rules. The last Labour Government had zero-tolerance for benefit fraud.
Turei's admission is a smart move for votes. She's the handout voter's dream. There will be no crackdown on benefit cheats if she's in charge.
Her admission is also dumb. It has finished her politically.
She's self-labelled a benefit cheat. That will haunt her. It will be the first thought most people have on hearing her name. It's not a positive for the great majority of us.
She's proved she will lie to suit her purpose. And have no remorse in doing so. That's the very damaging thing: she doesn't see she's done wrong. She sees herself as simply doing what was necessary.
That's not the behaviour of a person you can trust. It's not a person to have in power.
The Greens believe their policies are needed to save the planet. That's what they keep telling us. There can be nothing more important to them than saving the planet.
If it's okay to lie to get a few extra dollars, it must be okay to lie to propel the Greens into government. And keep them there. So if it's okay to lie for dollars, it surely must be okay to lie for Green power, for Green policy, for a Green planet.
Or does Turei think that a few dollars for her then were more necessary than saving the planet now?
Or was her cheating back then a one-off? She suggests given the same circumstance she would do the same again.
Trust the Greens? You can't. Not with Turei there. That's the problem Turei has created for herself. Is she telling the truth in promising big benefit increases? How can we be sure?
And that's the dumb part. The Greens won't make it to government this election. In the resulting dust-up Turei will be dumped. There is nothing more certain. She can't be trusted. We all make mistakes but Turei shows no remorse and offers no apology. It wasn't a mistake.