Metiria opens 'castle' doors

Metiria Turei's two-bedroom castle is far from a mansion. Photo: Craig BaxterMetiria Turei, according to her political adversaries, lives in a castle. She comes to Parliament dressed in $2000 Adrienne Winkelmann designer jackets. And then she wants to talk about poverty.

Yesterday, the Green Party co-leader tentatively opened her doors to our photographer - and revealed a wardrobe filled with more blue than green. "I quite like blue," she laughed.

So what's she doing with the left-leaning Greens, this power-dressing politician with a three-storey, turreted home looking out over Blueskin Bay?

Well, this visit clears up a few things. The two-bedroom "castle" is made from stone and corrugated iron. Old fridges serve as cupboards and doorways; a large truck tyre has been turned into a window frame in the master bedroom. A new pizza oven, made from mud, straw and sand, rests on a stack of tyres.

It would seem she's living the slogan: reduce, re-use, recycle.

Turei and her husband, Worik Stanton, bought the castle for $137,000 last year - a sum that won't even buy a one-bedroom studio apartment in central Auckland.

She stood atop the turret, clad in clothes from The Warehouse and K&K, and surveyed her domain. "It's a castle but it's not a mansion, and we love it," she said.

The castle had hosted many community events including children's birthday parties, potluck dinners and a funeral.

But there were some concessions to that power-dressing political lifestyle, she conceded. The master bedroom was too small to store her clothes so she kept them in the spare room downstairs.

Leading the way in, she pulled aside a purple curtain to reveal a makeshift wardrobe.

Senior Cabinet minister Anne Tolley had labelled Turei "a list MP who has no constituents, lives in a castle and comes to the House dressed in $2000 designer jackets".

Fellow minister Chris Finlayson accused her of lecturing National on social justice while "resplendent in her Adrienne Winkelmann jackets".

And a third minister, Judith Collins, hammered in the final nail, calling Turei a "sanctimonious hypocrite" in an "ugly" jacket.

"She could sell a jacket and feed a child for a year," Collins said.

But Turei was unrepentant yesterday as she showed off another "made-to-order" Adrienne Winkelmann suit, hanging from a hook in the castle. "Being a slightly older and more luscious shape, it can be very difficult to find really good quality suits that fit off the rack."

It should be noted that Collins, Education Minister Hekia Parata and the Prime Minister's wife, Bronagh Key, have all been seen wearing Winkelmann designs.

Turei was loyal, she said, to Auckland-based Winkelmann and Dunedin designer Tanya Carlson.

"As a bigger woman, they treat me really well. They are very kind about my body - they never disparage my shape or my size."

Also hanging from the hooks in Turei's make-do wardrobe were clothing from Dunedin thrift store Purple Rain and the boutique Roadside Attraction in Waikouaiti, 20km up the road.

Draped among the designer clothing was the soft brown jacket of her father, who died in 1995.

He had bought it in 1975 when she was a 5-year-old, she said. "It's perfect in every way - I wear that one a lot."

So, one question remains to draw a line under this sorry dispute: does she regret accusing the National ministers of racism?

Uh-uh. "I have absolutely no regrets for naming that elitism and that sexism and that racism," she retorted. "I have no regrets for calling them out.

"I don't care what they look like. I don't care what they wear. I just really wish they were genuinely compassionate for the people who need them."

Voluptuaries, 1980

Hm, whatever happened to the bold floral gowns, known as 'Whetu' style? These flowed out, covering the woman from neck to ankle. Luxury! I mean, I was told such dresses were luxurious. It was fine until retailers started asking when' s the baby due. A different world. Consider the Women of last Century: they were Remarkable.


Hype: I believe that parliamentary standing orders require the wearing of business suits - her clothes are in a sense a uniform required by her employer.

Probably this is a case of damned if she does (catty National cabinet ministers moaning in the media) and damned if she doesn't (probably the same catty National cabinet ministers complaining to the speaker).

Looking natural

MP Metiria Turei's "'at home' gear actually made her look very natural. Maybe she should go for this look instead," writes digger. Now that would be a real challenge to catty girls whose nature needs all the disguising they can manage! Look what happens when the disguise slips and to reveal Nature red in lippy and talons. Eewww, nasty!

Petty Nats

Those Nat girls...and their mate, Findlayson.... showed themselves up here. Very catty indeed. Metiria Turei obviously lives modestly... aside from wearing expensive designer jackets. If she was extravagant in all areas of her life questions might be asked, but she is not.

She probably can't win on the clothes front. If she wore something alternative like hemp clothing or something kind of hippy she would still be mocked. 

I like the fact she is comfortable with being a voluptuous woman. Her 'at home' gear actually made her look very natural. Maybe she should go for this look instead. 

Ugly Americans

Anne Tolley, Chris Finlayson and Judith Collins - Careful there, your personal attacks are making you sound quite a lot like conservative American politicians. 

And surely you know by now what most all of the world thinks of them.

Sexism alive and well in the national party

Collins & Tolley are the women that run our justice system.  They are mean spirited people that should go.  

Three stooges

All three MPs need to grow up and get on with the job they are being paid to do. They have all dropped a notch in respect.

The 'castle'

Busted - Anne Tolley.


Good grief, what a sad commentary on our parliament when politics stoops to this level. Why should Metiria Turei feel that she has to justify herself to those who criticise her? I think it would be only fair for Judith Collins to hold an open home now so the public can see how she lives. I wonder how her home and dress sense would go down with the voting public, hopefully better than her behaviour towards another MP.

Mea Culpa?

So apologies all round from Ms.Tolley and Collins then. Or perhaps they feel no remorse for their comments. Must be an election year coming up.

Fourth Form at St Beehive's

The recent criticisms of MP Metiria Turei could have come from a movie about the cool-girls' clique in the movie Heathers:  

"Heathers -- an exclusive clique named for its founders ... this stunning quartet for whom dweebs are doormats. To maintain their power, the Heathers wipe their feet on the fat and the unfashionable." >>link<<


MP Turei is a sturdy lady, in more than body shape.  And the "Heathers" of parliament know better than to attack her for her body shape, that would be a major social gaffe.  What's more she has the effrontery to buy the same kind of clothes as  they do - so what can the snooty A-list girl clique at St Beehive's use as a put-down?


Her house!  Clearly they knew little about it apart from its local nickname.  And her commitment to the non-rich in society, because if you buy some expensive work clothes you've opted out of compassion for the have-nots.  By their own definition what does this say about their support of any closing-the-gaps policies announced by their party, I wonder.

Yay for Metiria

Awesome. Good on her. What a ridiculous personal assault by Anne Tolley and Judith Collins. Metiria is immensely popular in her electorate, notwithstanding it being a Labour stronghold, and we cherish her hard work and excellent values. 




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