Knit-in with Metiria Turei
Joseph St Kitchen
Hosted by Thomas Nash - Green Party
On a windy and rainy Thursday night, a rustic and warm little cafe in Palmerston North was bursting at the seams with people enjoying a warm fire, mulled wine, cake, cups of tea, knitting and a chance to talk with Green Party co-leader Metiria Turei. It was warm and noisy in Joseph St Kitchen, my late arrival meant that chairs were hard to come by, but as is usual at JSK you can always find a little hidey hole somewhere. Local candidate Thomas Nash greeted me while I was tossing up which delicious cake to accompany my mulled wine. He didn’t remember me from his quiz night fundraiser where my team took out second place and all of the raffle prizes – I warned him not to forget me again.
I pushed my way through tables and chairs to the fire where a large pot of mulled wine was being kept warm and ladled myself a glass full. The cafe was a song of talking, laughing, scraping chairs and chatter about the various knitting projects people were working on. After a while Metiria stood up to deliver a brief talk about the Green Party. I’ve never heard Metiria talk before and in general my brain turns numb when a politician opens their mouth but Metiria held my attention with every warm and inclusive word she said.
I’ve noticed that with both Thomas Nash and Metiria Turei their talks never start with an impressive or flashy list of credentials presented to prove their elite intellectualism. That’s not because they don’t have those credentials – they most certainly do – it’s because they’re real people like you and me trying to connect with their constituency in a genuine way, sometimes by knitting in a cafe together.
Metiria has been in parliament for fifteen years and she speaks in a relaxed and self assured way, like someone with nothing to prove. She explains how the Green Party are a ‘facilitative’ party that will help communities to solve problems with solutions that are best for the community. She very easily points out the issues with our current government and the very simple plans the Green Party has to resolve these. She talks about the alliance the Greens have formed with the Labour Party and how they will work together to bring out the best strengths from both of them. Metiria did not have to make anything sound flashy or nail home her point. She didn’t try to baffle us with any boring or exclusive terminology. She spoke from a good heart in terms that totally made sense. I understood that the Green Party were about people and the environment before I attended the knit-in but hearing Metiria talk was so affirming, exciting and hopeful. The one point Metiria did nail home was – party vote green, if nothing else – party vote green. That’s what counts.
Thomas Nash our local green candidate eagerly jumped in from time to time to point out that he was worthy of voting for. I believe him. Thomas is young but very experienced in politics both locally and internationally. He is a quiet achiever of exceptional skill and experience. Perhaps most pleasing to see is that Thomas carries no shred of superiority but instead comes across as shy, eager and excited a sort of funny/awkward but genuine personality. Looking back on what he’s achieved which includes being an international leader in humanitarian and disarmament causes, it’s clear to see what motivates Thomas – it’s people and a fair society. If I was at the TAB backing horses and Thomas was one I reckon he’d be a damn good bet. I don’t care if he’s first in the race, as long as he’s making sure all those other horses are treated fairly and all make it to the finish line.
People want to ask Metiria questions, she’s fine with that as long as she can keep knitting while she talks. Nothing rattles her as she stands knitting and expertly answering every question asked. Her years of experience and genuine personality show as she gives her attention to each person and tells the truth about her party’s plans and ideals. It’s absolutely heart-warming to see politics that are so inclusive, so real and so open to the people.
At the end of the night I wanted to give Metiria a giant warm hug for being such an exceptional woman and giving me such hope for what a government with the Green Party could achieve. I missed out because I ended up being one of the last to leave the warm comfort of JSK and she’d slipped away before I could get a chance. But Metiria – I’m coming for you...
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