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Bennett, a disgrace to her office

Written By: - Date published: 1:15 pm, August 17th, 2012 - 25 comments
Categories: human rights, poverty - Tags:

You can’t really understand and fix a problem unless you have some reference points to measure progress against. So, when Paula Bennett’s Green Paper on poverty said that 20% of children live in poverty, people said ‘wow, what are you policies to reduce this and how much will they reduce it by’. But Bennett has no policies to reduce poverty, so she’s resorted to zen-like wavering over whether we can and should measure poverty.

Even Lockwood Smith got tired of her shit:

.JACINDA ARDERN (Labour) to the Minister for Social Development: Does she stand by her answer to oral questions on Tuesday that “There is in New Zealand no actual poverty line” and “I do not see the measurement as a priority”?

Hon PAULA BENNETT (Minister for Social Development): Yes, because it is correct. There is no official measure of poverty in New Zealand. The actual work to address poverty is perhaps what is most important—things like insulating homes, making sure that we legislate for CPI increases in benefits, getting people into work, and ensuring children have access to free health care. That is the priority for this Government.

Jacinda Ardern: When she said that the Ministerial Committee on Poverty was “getting things done” instead of “just worrying about measurements”, had she read the one Treasury paper provided to the committee, which stated that “getting a New Zealand-specific sense of the dynamic poverty data could be a useful place to start.”?

Hon PAULA BENNETT: I certainly stand by the work—the hard work—that is going on within that ministerial committee. What we are concentrating on is the things that matter to New Zealand, and particularly to those most vulnerable children. Quite frankly, the list of the work that is happening is so long that, Mr Speaker, you would not allow me the time to actually read it out at this time.

Mr SPEAKER: Order! What I would allow the Minister to do, though, is to answer whether or not she had seen the paper that was the subject of the question.


Jacinda Ardern: What information was used to generate the figure in her own green paper that “Nearly 20 percent of New Zealand children live in poverty.”?

Hon PAULA BENNETT: I think that is exactly where we say that the measure can actually be controversial and at the same level speculative. What we have done, as you have seen—you would have seen the research behind that green paper—is that we have taken it from a variety of measures and come up with 20 percent. But I would say to you that it is relative and it could be changed.

Jacinda Ardern: Does she agree that 20 percent of New Zealand children live in poverty?

Hon PAULA BENNETT: I think children move in and out of poverty pretty much on a daily basis. What I do not agree with—[Interruption] Well, they do. One week they can be in poverty, then their parent can get a job or increase their income, and they are no longer in poverty. Get in the real world! This is not “Labour Land”. This is the real world, and actually children move in and out of poverty, at times on a weekly basis. It is a fact. Read the research. What I do not agree with is that poverty and measuring it are what is most important for New Zealand children today. There is plenty of evidence that says that many, many, many parents whose children—

Rt Hon Winston Peters: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. Paula Bennett was asked whether she agreed that 20 percent of New Zealand children are living in poverty. We have heard a diatribe but no answer to the most basic question. Does she agree, yes or no?

Mr SPEAKER: Order! Well, Ministers are never required to answer yes or no to that type of question. The Minister has stated how she sees that figure, and she has argued, to some interjection from the other side, that children move in and out of poverty. It is clearly an answer to the question. It may not be the one that member was—[Interruption] Order! I am on my feet.

Hon Annette King: Sorry, Mr Speaker.

Mr SPEAKER: Thank you. It may not be the best of answers—that is not for the Speaker to judge—but the House was clearly indicating what it thought of the answer. But it was in order.

Hon Trevor Mallard: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. Now that there has been that interruption—and I apologise to my colleague for cutting in front of him again—I think it would be appropriate if the Minister started the answer again, because I think we have lost some of the flow of it. [Interruption]

Mr SPEAKER: Order! I do not think that—

Rt Hon Winston Peters: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker.

Mr SPEAKER: Now look, this point of order process will not go on too much longer.

Rt Hon Winston Peters: Surely the rudimentary assumption from the question is that on any given day—that is, the 20 percent—on any given day, does she agree that 20 percent are in poverty? Do we have to have these tortious explanations—

Mr SPEAKER: Order! The member cannot dispute answers by way of point of order. If the member does not like the answer, ask a supplementary question. That is what question time is about. It is not about raising points of order because the answer is not liked. I am certainly prepared to entertain points of order when questions are not answered at all, and I intervened with this—[Interruption] Order! I say to the Minister do not interject. I have had enough of this today and there will not—the Minister is showing no more discipline, or less discipline, than a 3-year-old child. It will cease. I am serious.

Jacinda Ardern: Does she agree that today 20 percent of New Zealand children live in poverty?

Mr SPEAKER: The Hon—[Interruption] Order! I have not even called the Minister. Can I encourage the Minister to settle down.

Hon PAULA BENNETT: I have not measured them today.

Mr SPEAKER: Question No. 5, Dr Russel Norman. [Interruption] Now look! I apologise to Dr Russel Norman, but the noise will—[Interruption] Order! The House will settle down. This is absolutely disgraceful. Members of the public watching this will email me this afternoon about how disgusted they are by some of the behaviour. It has happened too often this week. I have had too many such communications this week and I do not like that kind of reaction from the public.

Just to be clear, this is the minister who told us that 20% of children live in poverty now saying that there is no measure for poverty. It’s a fucken disgrace that ministers spend thier time playing silly buggers rather than stnading up for their achievements, or ack of them.

Oh, and don’t get me started on Gerry Brownlee comparing people who speak out against government policy to the beast of Blenheim as both being people whom the government might release private information about.

25 comments on “Bennett, a disgrace to her office”

  1. tc 1

    She’s not alone, just too stupid and inexperienced at the dodgy stuff whilst probably playing the role of the sacrificial lamb to detract attention from Asset sales, more invasive moves on local gov’t, the privatisation at all costs agenda etc

    You never see Ryall, Joyce etc caught like this and they’re doing just as much damage and telling porkys when they front up, which is rare.

  2. Descendant Of Smith 2

    Quite contradictory as well

    So on one hand we need welfare reforms because people stay on benefit too long

    On the other we do not have poverty because people go off benefit into work all the time,

    • mike 2.1

      Ah yes but like Paula said, in NZ children enter poverty every day. So it all balances out you see.

      • mike e 2.1.1

        maybe we could get Tolley to do national poverty standards and measure the Nact/uf govt to improve and get rid of poverty

  3. Tracey 3

    has anyone noticed the regularity with which female ministers of this government are thrown tot he wolves?

    Tolley, Collins, Parata, Bennett… coincidence?

    • tc 3.1

      It’s been noted and commented on before . But it usually ends up with the trolls derailing it claiming discimination etc etc

    • AmaKiwi 3.2

      They were NOT thrown to the wolves. No one ordered them to be incompetent, contradictory, arrogant, or abusive. They did it all by themselves.

  4. mike 4

    I’ll pitch in on the Gerry Brownlee part.

    “So Gerry, can you tell us what this government’s policy is on when it’s ok to break privacy agreements they’ve made with members of the public?”

    “Well, I can’t say exactly, like everything else we just make it up as we go along. However I can say that it applies to serial rapists and beneficiaries who question our policies.”

  5. xtasy 5

    Quote from above – and I heard her say it on Parliament TV myself:

    “Hon PAULA BENNETT (Minister for Social Development): Yes, because it is correct. There is no official measure of poverty in New Zealand. The actual work to address poverty is perhaps what is most important—things like insulating homes”

    Now, since when is she responsible for “insulating homes”? I know she and Housing NZ minister Heatley are presently working on changes to the accommodation supplement and “subsidies” on housing, which is likely to lead to changes to those areas and increased rents payable by Housing NZ tenants. They are obviously working so “closely” together, that she is now confusing parts of her area of responsibility.

    But I can of course forgive a person with the mindset of a “3 year old child” for not having learned to differentiate and be integre yet.

    As for poverty, Michael Laws appears to have had one of the more Nat friendly and “conformist” beneficiaries on his airwaves this morning, saying to Michael’s pleasure, that he feels well looked after as a solo dad and himself does not see any poverty in NZ.

    But as Bennett mentioned that level of poverty in her Green Paper on child abuse or so, she really has made herself look like a proper idiot now! Good on Jacinda Ardern, this was a good performance, while some other ones of you leave to be desired.

  6. she is hideous and worse than brownlee and I feel ill saying that

  7. ropata 7

    Bennett ignored advice from Health Ministry

    The plan to cut benefits for job seekers who fail drug tests has been met with criticism by the Ministry of Health, saying it could cost up to $14 million a year.

    In a document obtained by Radio New Zealand the Ministry of Health said the move could have a dubious effect on people’s health and overall welfare.

    Green party income support spokeswoman Jan Logie said the minister was only using advice that supported her agenda.

    • mike 7.1

      “There is certainly a line between recreational use and addiction and that is challenging in itself and it’s something we’ll have to work through,” she said.

      So there’s no poverty line in NZ, coz that’s too difficult to measure. But the line between recreational drug use and addiction? Oh fer shure we can measure that one. Right.

      “At the end of the day you’ve potentially got thousands of New Zealanders who are unable to work because of recreational use and this paper also identifies that as a real problem, so we need to keep working our way through a solution,” she said.

      …who are unable to work because of recreational use… Does correlation imply causation? Could be that some turn to recreational drug use because they are unable to find work? Could be they can’t find a job because there aren’t enough jobs? Nah, it’s that dang weekend tinnie right Paula?

      And nice use of ‘potentially’ too, I could say that there are potentially thousands of kiwis who secretly like Duran Duran but would never admit it – and nobody could prove me wrong, (or that there will potentially be an earthquake on x date – are you there Ken Ring?). I think you’ve potentially got a serious mental disorder, how about you start working your way through a solution? Sadly I suspect that’s our problem rather than yours.

      “Green party income support spokeswoman Jan Logie said the minister was only using advice that supported her agenda.

      “The Social Development Minister arrogantly said she did not need advice from her own department on proposals to drug-test beneficiaries and then ignored the advice she did receive, from the Health Ministry, which highlights serious pitfalls with the policy,

      “Paula Bennett’s arrogance is breath-taking. Instead of using the department to advise her she has chosen to act on piecemeal information from other undefined sources.””

      Well said Jan, somebody please stop this train-wreck-waiting-to-happen woman. Can the NZ public really not see the arrogant, evasive, duplicitous nature of this government?

      • Draco T Bastard 7.1.1

        Can the NZ public really not see the arrogant, evasive, duplicitous nature of this government?

        Well, the more she keeps it up the more probability that the people of NZ will see just how corrupt this government is.

  8. prism 8

    Petulant Bean. You wan t to know the truth? The whole truth! You couldn’t handle the truth! You remorseless amoral money chaser.

  9. lurgee 9

    “Mr SPEAKER: Question No. 5, Dr Russel Norman. [Interruption] Now look! I apologise to Dr Russel Norman, but the noise will—[Interruption] Order! The House will settle down. This is absolutely disgraceful. Members of the public watching this will email me this afternoon about how disgusted they are by some of the behaviour. It has happened too often this week. I have had too many such communications this week and I do not like that kind of reaction from the public.

    Just to be clear, this is the minister who told us that 20% of children live in poverty now saying that there is no measure for poverty. It’s a fucken disgrace that ministers spend thier time playing silly buggers rather than stnading up for their achievements, or ack of them.”

    For a moment I thought the second paragraph was Lockwood Smith completely losing the plot …

    • Tim G 9.1

      Me too. My internal monologue was reading it out in his Speakerly voice, and I only paused to wonder whether the Hansard transcribers would spell it “fucken” or “fucking”. And that’s when the veil slipped..

  10. fabregas4 10

    But in Education we need National Standards so we can have a measure… sigh.

  11. Chris 11

    Paula Bennett is just a conduit for KingKey to put out what he wants out to the public,while he scuttles off to watch Max the Plank play rounders in the good ole U S of A. I believe her when she says she does not have time to trawl through documentation that might prove her arguments instead of just talking to the cat on the corner. She is too busy being schooled in facts and figures, most of which are unsubstantiated, and then on how to dissemble when challenged in Parliament as to the truth of these facts etc. She has KingKeys line of rhetoric down pat.She uses his terminology.She uses his dismissive sneering manner.She has learnt that no matter what you are never wrong. Never admit any sign of another point of view.Use anything you can to be abusive and put people down,even if its wrong and you know it.Smile a lot.Be condescending. And so on.Unfortunately forher,like kk she just looks a total twat. She is a sad loser of a woman trying to satisfy her master at the expense of the people who pay her wages.I just about feel sorry for her. Did she really get a BA or is she just one? Just wondering? Question? How does the country rid itself of people like her?Is there a process that can be seen as a vote of no confidence?

  12. Phil 12

    There is something truly ugly about a person who would use the fate of hungry children, those who can not find work, and those less fortunate than themselves, to further their own and their party’s political ambitions.
    Ugly is as ugly does.

  13. PauliePaul 13


    “You can’t really understand and fix a problem unless you have some reference points to measure progress against.”

    Funny. This is a site that cries about National Standards. .


    • Draco T Bastard 13.1

      Yes, there are reasons for that.
      1.) National Standards aren’t national and so can’t be used to compare schools
      2.) The encourage teaching to the test resulting in people who’ve passed the tests but are still completely fucken ignorant
      3.) They fail to achieve what NACT say that they’re supposed to achieve which is better education (see 2)
      4.) Our education system is already better than the countries that tried a National Standards approach and we really don’t see why we’d want to copy educational systems that have proved to be worse than the ones we already use

  14. Tiger Mountain 14

    Bag features Bennett comes from the Margaret Thatcher school of charm, she won’t be forgotten by a number of us when her hour on the parliamentary stage is over.

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