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.

Hon PAULA BENNETT: Yes.

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

    Hilarious!

    “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. .

    Hypocrisy.

    • 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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    Lost In Political Space: The most important takeaway from this latest Labour sexual assault scandal, which (if I may paraphrase Nixon’s White House counsel’s, John Dean’s, infamous description of Watergate) is “growing like a cancer” on the premiership, is the Labour Party organisation’s extraordinary professional paralysis in the face of ...
    7 days ago
  • Union solidarity with Ihumatao land occupation
    by Daphna Whitmore Every Sunday for the past two months unionists from First Union, with supporters from other unions, have set out to the Ihumatao land protest, put up gazebos and gas barbeques, and cooked food for a few hundred locals and supporters who have come from across the country. ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • Climate Change: The wrong kind of trees?
    Newsroom today has an excellent, in-depth article on pine trees as carbon sinks. The TL;DR is that pine is really good at soaking up carbon, but people prefer far-less efficient native forests instead. Which is understandable, but there's two problems: firstly, we've pissed about so long on this problem that ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • No freedom of speech in Turkey
    Canan Kaftancioglu is a Turkish politician and member of the opposition Republican People's Party (CHP). Like most modern politicians, she tweets, and uses the platform to criticise the Turkish government. She has criticised them over the death of a 14-year-old boy who was hit by a tear gas grenade during ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Speaker: Tadhg Stopford: Why I’m standing for the ADHB
    Hi there, just call me Tim.We face tough problems, and I’d like to help, because there are solutions.An Auckand District Health Board member has nominated me for as a candidate for the ADHB, because her MS-related pain and fatigue is reduced with hemp products from Rotorua.  Nothing else helped her. If I ...
    1 week ago
  • Good little vassals
    The Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security has published their report on whether the SIS and GCSB had any complicity in American torture. And its damning. The pull quote is this:The Inquiry found both agencies, but to a much greater degree, the NZSIS, received many intelligence reports obtained from detainees who, ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Who Shall We Turn To When God, And Uncle Sam, Cease To Defend New Zealand?
    Bewhiskered Cassandra? Professor Hugh White’s chilling suggestion, advanced to select collections of academic, military and diplomatic Kiwi experts over the course of the past week, is that the assumptions upon which Australia and New Zealand have built their foreign affairs and defence policies for practically their entire histories – are ...
    1 week ago
  • The Politics of Opposition
    For most of the time I was a British MP, my party was out of government – these were the Thatcher years, when it was hard for anyone else to get a look-in. As a front-bencher and shadow minister, I became familiar with the strategies required in a parliamentary democracy ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    1 week ago
  • More expert comments on the Canadian fluoride-IQ paper
    The Green et al (2019) fluoride/IQ is certainly controversial – as would be expected from its subject (see If at first you don’t succeed . . . statistical manipulation might help and Politics of science – making a silk purse out of a sow’s ear). Anti-fluoride campaigners have been actively promoting it ...
    1 week ago
  • The return to guerrilla war in Colombia
    by Gearóid Ó Loingsigh On August 29th a video in which veteran FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia) commander Iván Márquez announced that they had taken up arms again was released. There was no delay in the reaction to it, from longtime Liberal Party figure and former president Uribe, for ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    1 week ago
  • Air New Zealand identifies this enormous plot of unused land as possible second airport site
    Air New Zealand couldn’t believe its luck that this seemingly ideal piece of real estate had so far gone entirely unnoticed. Air New Zealand’s search for a site to build a second Auckland Airport may have made a breakthrough this afternoon, after employees scanning Google satellite imagery spotted a huge, ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    1 week ago
  • Redline on the Labour Party
    No-one on the anti-capitalist left in this country today puts forward a case that Labour is on the side of the working class.  There are certainly people who call themselves ‘socialist’ who do, but they are essentially liberals with vested interests in Labourism – often for career reasons. Nevertheless, there ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    1 week ago
  • New Fisk
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Labour’s failure
    When National was in government and fucking over the poor for the benefit of the rich, foodbanks were a growth industry. And now Labour is in charge, nothing has changed: A huge demand for emergency food parcels means the Auckland City Mission is struggling to prepare for the impending arrival ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Ardern attempts to vaccinate Clarke Gayford live on television to prove that it’s safe
    Gayford, pictured here on The Project, before things got wildly out of control. A bold public relations move by the Government to encourage parents to vaccinate their children has gone horribly wrong. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern appeared on tonight’s episode of Three’s The Project, where the plan was for her ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Has Mr. Whippy gone too far by parking on our front lawns?
    Mr. Whippy’s business model has driven it down a dark road of intimidation. Residents in major centres around the country are becoming disgruntled by the increasingly aggressive actions of purported ice cream company Mr. Whippy, who have taken to parking on people’s front lawns and doorsteps in a desperate attempt ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Cleaning up the water
    Today the government released its Action Plan for Healthy Waterways, aimed at cleaning up our lakes and rivers. Its actually quite good. There will be protection for wetlands, better standards for swimming spots, a requirement for continuous improvement, and better standards for wastewater and stormwater. But most importantly, there's a ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Fronting up
    Today I appeared before the Environment Committee to give an oral submission on the Zero Carbon Bill. Over 1,500 people have asked to appear in person, so they've divided into subcommittees and are off touring the country, giving people a five minute slot each. The other submitters were a mixed ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Politics of science – making a silk purse out of a sow’s ear
    Anti-fluoride activists have some wealthy backers – they are erecting billboards misrepresenting the Canadian study on many New Zealand cities – and local authorities are ordering their removal because of their scaremongering. Many New Zealanders ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Democracy – I Don’t Think So
    So, those who “know best” have again done their worst. While constantly claiming to be the guardians of democracy and the constitution, and respecters of the 2016 referendum result, diehard Remainers (who have never brought themselves to believe that their advice could have been rejected) have striven might and main ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    2 weeks ago
  • Government says it will now build just one really nice home
    Following publication of this article, the Ministry has requested it to be noted that this supplied image is not necessarily representative of what the final house will look like, and it “probably won’t be that nice.” As part of today’s long-anticipated reset of the Government’s flagship KiwiBuild policy, Housing Minister ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Imperialism and your cup of coffee
    Over the next week or two we will be running three synopses of parts of the opening chapter of John Smith’s Imperialism in the 21st Century (New York, Monthly Review Press, 2016).  The synopsis and commentary below is written by Phil Duncan. Marx began Capital not with a sweeping historical ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Still juking the stats
    The State Services Commission and Ombudsman have released another batch of OIA statistics, covering the last six months. Request volumes are up, and the core public service is generally handling them within the legal timeframe, though this may be because they've learned to extend rather than just ignore things. And ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Hard News: Time for a New Deal: 25 years on
    In 1994, I was editing an ambitious street mag called Planet, from a fabled office at at 309 Karangahape Road. The thirteenth issue of the magazine was published in the winter of that year and its cover embodied a particularly ambitious goal: the end of cannabis prohibition.I wanted to do ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Not impressed
    KiwiBuild was one of the Ardern government's core policies. The government would end the housing crisis and make housing affordable again by building 100,000 new homes. Of course, it didn't work out like that: targets weren't met, the houses they did build were in the wrong place, and the whole ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Solar beats coal
    As the climate crisis escalates, it is now obvious that we need to radically decarbonise our economy. The good news is that its looking easy and profitable for the energy sector. Wind is already cheaper than fossil fuels, and now solar is too:The levellised cost of solar PV has fallen ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • A Step Too Far.
    A Crown Asset? For reasons relating to its own political convenience, the Crown pretends to believe that “No one owns the water.” To say otherwise would re-vivify the promises contained in the Treaty of Waitangi – most particularly those pertaining to the power of the chiefs and their proprietary rights ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Where Money Comes From
    Most people would say, no doubt, that they have a pretty good idea of what money is. They live with the reality of money every day. It is what is needed to buy the necessities of life and to maintain a decent standard of living. You get money, they would ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    2 weeks ago
  • Banned by the Green Party leadership: Jill Abigail on women’s rights and trans rights
    The article below was an opinion piece that appeared in the Spring 2019 issue of Te Awa (the NZ Green Party’s newsletter) and on the Greens website.  In keeping with their policy of hostility to women defending women’s right to female-only spaces, Green bureaucrats have since removed the opinion piece.  ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 weeks ago
  • The fallacy of the proximity argument.
    Longer term readers may remember my complaining that, as a political scientist, it is burdensome to have non-political scientists wanting to engage me about politics. No layperson would think to approach an astrophysicist and lecture him/her on the finer details of quarks and black holes, but everybody with an opinion ...
    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    2 weeks ago
  • Where We Stood: Chris Trotter Replies To Stevan Eldred-Grigg.
    Joining The Fight: Stevan Eldred-Grigg's argument for New Zealand staying out of the Second World War fails not only on the hard-headed grounds of preserving the country’s strategic and economic interests; and not just on the soft-hearted grounds of duty and loyalty to the nation that had given New Zealand ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Universities back the climate strike
    On September 27, School Strike 4 Climate will be striking for a future to pressure the government for meaningful climate action. This time, they've asked adults to join them. And now, Lincoln University and Victoria University of Wellington have signed on:Victoria University of Wellington has joined Lincoln University in endorsing ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago

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