Bennett admits she was wrong

Written By: - Date published: 8:01 am, May 25th, 2016 - 18 comments
Categories: class war, housing, national, paula bennett, poverty, same old national, spin, the praiseworthy and the pitiful, you couldn't make this shit up - Tags:

paula bennett john key

Paula Bennett sought leave yesterday to make a personal explanation to Parliament so that she could correct an answer that was, how do you say, incorrect.

She said this:

In response to a supplementary question asked during question No. 5 on 10 May, I said in relation to the $41.1 million for emergency housing in Budget 2016 that: “The new 3,000 places will be for anyone—individuals or families—who has a genuine need for emergency accommodation.” I should have said that the funding will be for 3,000 places, and that some of those will be new and some will go to the many emergency housing providers that require dedicated ongoing funding so that they can keep their doors open.

I am not sure her explanation was correct either.  Because the $41 million is spread over four years and is mostly going to social housing providers to essentially make sure that existing beds are kept available.  There is no proof that any new beds will be created.  And it is typical of this Government that it will spin the funding of chronically underfunded social services to keep them operating as a solution for homelessness.

Of course it was all a regrettable mistake and misspeak by Paula.  But she said this the next day in a press release:

The bulk of the $41.1 million of new operating funding will be used in two ways:

  • The Ministry of Social Development will contract NGOs to provide about 3000 emergency housing places each year.
  • A new emergency housing Special Needs Grant to support individuals and families with the cost of emergency housing for up to seven days if they are unable to access a contracted place.

The new places will be available to anyone who can demonstrate they have a genuine need for emergency housing.”

Perhaps she is an itinerant inveterate misspeaker.

When you read the press release your heart lights up with joy.  Hosanna National is going to put some serious money into the homeless crisis.  Maybe they have seen the light.

But the problem is that there is so much wriggle room in what Bennett said.  And when you read it carefully with the benefit of understanding subsequent events you realise that things are not as swimmingly wonderful as she said.  If you parse the statement it is clear that not all of the money is going to be spent on homeless kiwis.  But the first reading suggests there will be 3,000 new beds for homeless people created.

And it is so frustrating how vague this government is with some figures yet how precise it is about others.  For instance ask them what measure there is for children live in poverty and they will say something like this:

Ask how many homeless there are and they will say about 500 are on the WINZ waiting list as if that is an answer.

But they know precisely how many beds will be made available by their spend although the figure is overstated.  National has made a practice of trotting out figures that help its spin but ignoring statistics that show that things are going wrong.

Paula has by making her personal statement apologised to Parliament for misleading it.  Maybe she should apologise to the people of New Zealand for doing the same.  And to the homeless for failing to do anything about their plight.

18 comments on “Bennett admits she was wrong”

  1. adam 1

    How do we put up with such appalling Crown Ministers?

  2. dukeofurl 2

    The only reason for her ‘correction’ , was she was caught out in a big way.
    This recycling of money for various things is done every budget and is normally described as NEW when its not.
    Even at $10 mill a year its small change for them and just a fraction of the money for elite sport this year for Olympic baubles ( if any)

    HPSNZ elite programs this last year alone are around $34 million

  3. Ad 3

    This is so much more effective as politics than the Panama Papers. The whole MSM is having a feeding frenzy.

    And as a pro-market party, they have no answer, from the PM down.

    • Lanthanide 3.1

      Yes, it seems to me that the MSM have found a weak-point in National’s armor and are really going hard on this story.

      We’ll have to see if the budget tomorrow does anything to blunt it; given that there’s been very little in the way of “wait till Thursday” answers for questions about emergency housing, I suspect the budget isn’t going to make a big difference here either.

    • Jones 3.2

      That this Government has no answer says it all about the soul of John Key’s leadership.

  4. Richardrawshark 4

    Oh come on who’s spinning it now?

    I watched parliamentary TV yesterday she corrected an error in her reply to a question. A correction. We all make mistakes and she came and corrected it.

    I can’t stand her, but don’t try to tell me she apologized for making a simple mistake, don’t tell me she’s spinning stats when your spinning the story just the same.

    As for the housing crisis, we all know they are spinning it, the whole country knows that National has issues admitting anythings not made of pretty rainbows.

    They look stupid, let them carry on denying everything.

    • mickysavage 4.1


      The post is about the National tendancy to spin numbers even though they bear no resemblance to reality. Bennett “corrected” her answer because she knew if she did not there could be a privileges complaint.

      Point out where I am spinning stats.

      • Richardrawshark 4.1.1

        “Bennett admits she is wrong”

        She corrected a statement, I also know these people get others to research their answers, she may have read it wrong, or her office spun it, or she spun it and got caught.

        Either way what I saw was her come up explain the error she made and then tell what she should have said and then parliament question time started.

        I think your title is spin, I understand it, but crikey this is us, our site, we don’t need to spin ourselves do we?

  5. joe90 5

    Perhaps she is an itinerant inveterate misspeaker.


    adjective: inveterate

    having a particular habit, activity, or interest that is long-established and unlikely to change.

    [Ta typed in a hurry pre coffee – MS]

  6. save nz 6

    National do not want to solve the housing crisis. They want to move as many poor people out of Auckland as possible to sell off their houses to their mates in China and Australia so Bill can try to manage a tiny surplus and the newbie migrants will have somewhere to live in Auckland and vote National. Otherwise the ponzi scheme is going to come to an end and John Key will be found out before the next election.

    • Kevin 6.1

      ‘Solving’ the housing crisis will require a fairly major correction in property values and there is no way they are going to fuck with their core constituency.

      • Jones 6.1.1

        Yep… they’re ideologically stuck.

        • save nz

          Maybe if they get wages up! You know the ‘trickle down’ that never happened.

          Back to housing. The issue is, that is still costs more to build a new house than buy an old one in the most cases. The cost of building and connecting to infrastructure has never been addressed by any political party. Much of the building industry is a sort of price fixing monopoly. The cost of housing and building products is what they can get away with, nothing to do with cost. I bought a clothesline two years ago it was $95, six months later it was $165 – all the other places, Bunnings, Placemakers and mitre 10 had implemented the same price increase. If you get a plumber the cost of labour is normally less than the parts. It is an absolute rip off not just for homeowners, but renters and developers and passed on to home owners. Connect to power in the country and they will charge you $7,000 to put in the transformer, you could be billed $40k for a phone line. They just charge you whatever they like. I have heard that if you are a developer you get some sort of welfare, so as usual make it as hard as possible for the average Kiwi trying to build a home and then make the tax payer pay for professionals who are making a profit from it. The building industry is a cowboy economy owned and run by as usual government cronies, offshore money and intermediaries!

          That is why the SHA has only built 1000 houses and why they are so expensive. The land price is the red herring, the cost of building in NZ is more than Australia and the US.

  7. b waghorn 7

    Minister’s offer to homeless

    Homeless people could be offered up to $5000 to leave Auckland and resettle in a state house in the provinces, Social Housing Minister Paula Bennett has …

    Making policy on the fly now.
    Although I’m not against it as an idea,

    • Muttonbird 7.1

      It’s a clumsy, desperate, and very basic idea. If that’s how you like your policy then I’m sure you will get what you deserve.

      How is it that this government which refuses to fund according to population growth, which cries foul at money just being thrown at a problem, and which demands proof of efficiency in so called social investment come up with such an ill thought out lolly scramble.

      Honestly, the only ideas Paula Bennett has ever had involve literally throwing cash at disadvantaged people so that they move on.

      This mirrors John Key’s musical chairs revolving cabinet – move ministers around so that bad news can be diluted…

  8. Philj 8

    $5000 incentive to move out of Auckland? If that fails, just lift the incentive until the problem is solved. This is how markets are supposed to work? Lol

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