Former Green Party Co-leader Joins Law Faculty

Former Green Party Co-leader Joins Law Faculty

Is Metiria Tu-slay?

Former Green Party Co-leader Metiria Turei has joined the Otago Uni Faculty of Law as a Senior Lecturer. This semester, she is taking the third-year compulsory law paper LAWS302: Jurisprudence. Critic Te Ārohi spoke to students to see what they thought about the Uni’s newest addition.


Many will be wondering why Metiria’s name is so familiar. As Metiria said in her first lecture, students may know her from “shows like Parliament TV and the news when I was an MP for 15 years for the Green Party and Co-leader of the Green Party.” She also got a lot of air-time in 2017 when she resigned after admitting to benefit fraud while struggling to make ends meet as a single mum. It wasn’t received well by the nation, to put it lightly.


A student in her paper this semester said, “All I know is that she got a lot of shit in Parliament and that it’s great to see her thrive again.” Another one of her students, Seth, agreed, saying, “Most of us law students have broken at least a couple laws, so it would be quite hypocritical to criticize her.” Yes, driving passengers while on your restricted license, drinking underage, and hitting a bong are all still illegal.


Law student Samuel (not taking LAWS302) said he thought that “it really has no bearing on whether she is a good law lecturer. I imagine most law lecturers have broken the law to varying extents at some point, but that doesn’t mean they should be replaced.”


In Samuel’s opinion, the key to any good lecturer is for them to present perspectives in contentious areas different to their own, communicate effectively (which a career in politics would no doubt benefit), and to reward students on the merit of the quality and content of their writing, “even if they come to a different conclusion” than the lecturer. Seth added that he liked the way Metiria lectures with respect to tikanga Māori.


Samuel said that the fact that Metiria was previously in politics “indicates she has strong views on a number of issues”, but “that is hardly abnormal for lecturers.” He went on to say that he thought “people often know roughly where particular lecturers sit on issues. There is also nothing wrong with that, in that lecturers having such views, and even informing students of their views, can result in students being exposed to new perspectives and forcing them to come to their own conclusions on issues.”


Third-year Ecology and Anthropology student Linea said, “No lecturers are unbiased. It provides a counter-perspective to the conservative leaning of the law - it’s important to see other perspectives.” It’s almost like critical thinking and informed discussion are, like, the whole point of Uni?


Metiria politely declined to comment.

This article first appeared in Issue 4, 2023.
Posted 2:15pm Sunday 19th March 2023 by Nina Brown.