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Bennett faces petition and protest over historical allegations

Written By: - Date published: 6:29 am, August 7th, 2017 - 126 comments
Categories: accountability, paula bennett - Tags: , ,

Update May 3 2018: Dirty Politics operative Matthew Hooton is desperately searching The Standard looking for some kind of false equivalence with the filthy lies about Clarke Gayford. As you will this post contains nothing that was not being publicly commented on in the media at the time. Original post below:


In all sorts of ways – Paula Bennett is trouble for the National Party

Last month allegations were made against Paula Bennett that she felt necessary to shut down with legal threats – Retired judge warns public after Paula Bennett threatens lawsuit over online post

There is now a change.org petition with over 15,000 signatures – Paula Bennett Winz Allegations Inquiry “There should be an inquiry of ex winz beneficiary Paula Bennett and the allegations made surrounding her stint on the benefit”.

According to this tweet Ashley Farrell is going to stage a protest outside Bennett’s office, starting today:
https://twitter.com/dfrancishirst/status/893232874010288129

No doubt those purity pledge campaigners who rained stones on Metiria Turei will be just as keen to get to the bottom of all this, and no doubt Paula Bennett will be keen to take personal responsibility and clear her name.

126 comments on “Bennett faces petition and protest over historical allegations”

  1. Ed 1

    Messes Gower, Garner, Hosking, Soper and Richardson- here is an opportunity to balance your bile.

  2. yep, ex/current beneficiary bashing – a sport we can all play. sad.

    • simonm 2.1

      In the case of Paula Bennett it’s current hypocrite bashing. Give it go – it’s really fun!

  3. red-blooded 3

    I think this is a poor choice from people who say we should stand up for beneficiaries, understand how tough it is to live on a benefit and show empathy towards people who may have lied to WINZ in order to survive and work towards lifting themselves out of poverty in the past.

    Bennett is appalling, but if we’re trying to call her out for hypocrisy by being hypocritical ourselves that seems like a flawed approach to me.

    • Carolyn_nth 3.1

      On this I agree with you, and with marty.

      Better to focus critical energies on Nats’ and Bennett’s damaging policies.

      • weka 3.1.1

        +4

        If the MSM go hard after Bennett on this with that being sanctioned by people on the left, then that will entrench another layer of legitimacy to the bigotry.

      • adam 3.1.2

        It’s not just policy, it’s the economic model which underpins the rhetoric which is the key problem.

    • Ad 3.2

      +100

      Way to win this campaign is not by continuing down a very dark road.

    • jacqueline 3.3

      If she wasn’t the mp that made so many solo parents lives so impossible some have ended their lives I see your point. .. The sins I judge Paula on are the actions she has take since being in charge
      it’s not right to compare her with Metiera. .. One did it tough, went into politics to change it for the better the other for the worse

    • jacqueline smith 3.4

      If she wasn’t the mp that made so many solo parents lives so impossible some have ended their lives I see your point. .. The sins I judge Paula on are the actions she has take since being in charge
      it’s not right to compare her with Metiera. .. One did it tough, went into politics to change it for the better the other for the worse

  4. Jeremy 4

    Can Mr. Farrell give his evidence to WINZ to get the investigation started?

  5. Johan 5

    “Revenge is a dish best served cold”.

  6. DH 6

    I think it wiser to steer clear of this one. Double standards are not pretty.

    • Muttonbird 6.1

      Isn’t this an attempt to hold Bennett to the same standard to which Turei has been held?

      • weka 6.1.1

        Turei is being held to a standard created by bigots, and that is furthering discrimination against beneficiaries as a class and as individuals.

        • Alex 6.1.1.1

          Turei is being held to the standards that she has routinely and extremely vocally insisted upon for other MP’s.

          • One Anonymous Bloke 6.1.1.1.1

            Really? Can you point to an example of Turei demanding someone’s resignation for something they did twenty years ago?

            Didn’t think so.

            • Alex 6.1.1.1.1.1

              Your 20 year comment is not the way I think about it at all. Todd Barclay is an example from less than a month ago of a person that Turei was criticising for decisions he made in his mid-20’s.

              • One Anonymous Bloke

                Lowlife Barclay broke the law as an MP, less than two years ago.

                Obviously that isn’t the way you “think” about it. Anything else would contradict your scriptwriters.

                • Jonman

                  Actually, Barclay broke no law. The police investigated and felt there was no case to prosecute. The independent police complaints authority reviewed this decision and upheld it.

                  • McFlock

                    And jack the ripper broke no law, because the police looked into it and couldn’t press charges against anyone.

                  • lprent

                    *sigh* You can’t say that unless you are legally an idiot – as you have always appeared to be to me. (we are getting some stupid trolls back again)

                    It has never been tested if he broke a law. Apparently because Barclay refused to talk to the police and because of that the police decided that they didn’t have sufficient evidence to lay a charge and be reasonably confident that they could make it stick.

                    The IPCA doesn’t review decisions. It reviews the process. Because Barclay was so confident about his legal position he refused to talk to the police and therefore the process was stalled.

                    However, happy news. In the light of new evidence coming to light after some very strong lights were aimed at the case, the police have reopened their case to see if there is enough evidence to lay charges now. This time it is possible that the police may lay charges and we may find out if the courts think that any laws were broken.

                    Wouldn’t that be a nice change. Of course the police are always reluctant to prosecute anyone who has good lawyers. Bearing in mind the Bill English appears to be in up to his neck in come kind of coverup, I am sure that National will have the best lawyers around.

              • Kevin

                English and Key, both committed the same electoral fraud. You calling for English’s resignation?

              • “Your 20 year comment is not the way I think about it at all.”
                Of course it isn’t.To think that way would ruin the hunt at the start – tally-ho, chaps!

            • Makinoria Davis 6.1.1.1.1.2

              No of course Metiria isn’t demanding that, she went into this with the sole intention of helping beneficiaries that are being forced to live on a pittance that’s barely survivable! Not to gun down another M.P for their shortcomings. If Paula has nothing to hide why isn’t she stepping up to be heard? She has suddenly melted into the background hoping the Focus on Metiria will keep the spotlight off her, when all its doing is emphasizing her questionable silence even more.

          • weka 6.1.1.1.2

            “Turei is being held to the standards that she has routinely and extremely vocally insisted upon for other MP’s.”

            Turei has said don’t go after Bennett.

            • Alex 6.1.1.1.2.1

              What possible reason would anyone have to ‘go after Bennett’ for benefit fraud?
              Just because a bunch of vindictive petitioners with no evidence or admission of fraud from Bennett want to attack her? Come on …

              • One Anonymous Bloke

                This again.

                They will have the “evidence” of their own statements. Whether sufficient for a reasonable minded person to convict on is another matter.

                “I don’t have a lot of time for the woman, for her to be doing what she’s doing now, and what she’s done.”

                Billy Sherman.

                Perhaps that might answer your question as to why someone would go after her: they don’t like her very much.

                I say leave the vindictive hate squads to the National Party.

      • DH 6.1.2

        “Isn’t this an attempt to hold Bennett to the same standard to which Turei has been held?”

        Not by people here. If we’re to forgive Metiria, which most us here would, then it would behoove us to forgive Bennett for similar acts. We’re not a lynch mob… at least I would hope we’re not.

        • Molly 6.1.2.1

          It is reasonable to “forgive” (prefer understand myself) any beneficiary for any actions they may take when the benefit level is inadequate, and system is both flawed and malicious. As it remains today.

          What is unforgivable is a Minister who despite all evidence provided by research and study, and added to by her own personal experience – has both facilitated further hardship, and participated in both personal attacks and general dismissal of beneficiaries.

          She should be held account for that. It is up to our current opposition to make this distinction clear.

          I can also understand the reasoning behind those who have signed the petition. We don’t need to redirect that energy or dismiss it, our opposition politicians need to harness the intent and momentum, explain it and put it in context.

        • stigie 6.1.2.2

          Oh, how big of you, what was Bennett suppose to have done again ?

          Thought so, mindless allegations !

      • Chch_chiquita 6.1.3

        It is for those who are calling for Turei to resign, not those who are saying we are shooting the messenger instead of listening to the message.

        Those calling to forgive people for what they have done 20 years ago out of desperation and listen to the plight of beneficiaries should ask to give Bennett the same forgiveness but hold her to account for pulling the ladder behind her instead of using her position to better people in the same situation she was at.

  7. Glenn 7

    Bennett will never climb higher than she is now. She is spoiled goods.
    Collins will be rejoicing.

  8. One Anonymous Bloke 8

    Well done everyone who pointed out that going after Bennett in this way is a double standard.

    Go after her for kicking the ladder, and her personal responsibility for the increase in homelessness and suicide instead.

    • weka 8.1

      This.

    • Yes. We can’t put up posts saying it’s terrible that people are trying to dig up dirt on Turei and then wholeheartedly endorse a ducking-stool experience for Paula Bennett.

      We can, however, continue to point out that she removed the training provision she’d used herself to lift her out of poverty, and that she egregiously breached the privacy of people who dared to complain about it.

      • Akldnut 8.2.1

        Bennetts non-committal comment about Metira being penalised spoke volumes to me, she is an attack dog that will jump at the chance to ravage an opponent.

        So looking at the possibility that the system may have been worked by herself or any other MP or person should be the only reason that we would be wanting this to happen.

        After scrutiny if anyone has been found to have done the same or something similar then the system should be chasing them with the same gusto and the attack media should be serving the same scrutiny to them all.
        Even though I personally can’t stand her smugness and arrogance, this to me is more about ownership of wrongdoing and tightening up on MP’s accountability and reporting.

  9. dukeofurl 9

    Cant someone be poring through ‘ habitation indexes’ from the 90s to see where Bennett was living and with whom ?

    We do know that Key was living someplace different to where he said on the electoral roll. And English hadnt moved at all, but was using fancy tricks to make out he was a fresh arrival in Wellington.

  10. savenz 10

    For those that think giving Paula ‘a break’ because it’s beneficiary bashing, I say maybe if Paula and the National party experiences the culture she and they have created and used to get more votes as well as knocking down the Greens over their expose… about time we had a WINZ system that is equal. Even if you are deputy PM.

    It is even worse, when Paula has been the one flaming the witch hunt against beneficiaries with WINZ ‘targets’ and flimsy evidence being used against vulnerable people who are actually going to jail, with their kids into care, for this so called crime.

    The more publicity for Paula and an enquiry the better, as the beneficiary system and it’s bizarre rules are exposed.

    • dukeofurl 10.1

      Yes , the arguments can be framed around ‘politicians doing one thing while on benefit themselves while saying another when they are in a position to change things.
      Thats where Metira’s approach is different to that of Bennett

      The blame shouldnt be on the circumstances at the time, it should be focused on the political actions 20 plus years later.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 10.2

      Well if we’re visiting their misery on them, why stop at an investigation? Why not go the whole hog and confiscate everything they own, throw them out on the street and drive them to suicide or hypothermia?

      Or should we treat them as though they too have human rights?

    • weka 10.3

      It’s not about giving Bennett a break, it’s about not stigmatising beneficiaries further and not legitimising bene bashing. You may feel that it’s morally right to support attacks on Bennett, and I can guarantee you that the right feel it’s morally right to attack Turei and all other beneficiaries as they see fit.

      • red-blooded 10.3.1

        And, quite simply, about living by the standards we require others to live by. If we condemn people for knocking Turei, we can’t do the same to other ex-beneficiaries (or current ones).

    • AsleepWhileWalking 10.4

      The determination of relationship in the nature of marriage will be particularly enlightening for the general public to hear about.

  11. AsleepWhileWalking 11

    MT is likely to be charged if at all possible,

    It isn’t a double standard to come out in support of MT, and then upon finding MSD taking action call upon PB to have the same thing done. I certainly won’t apologise for it.

    Yes it is likely brutal for PB but perhaps a prosecution (if appropriate) would wake people the hell up.

    Our over zealous prosecutions for welfare fraud are making criminals out of otherwise good people. A better use of resources would be making sure people have what they need to begin with – a policy level decision.

    • weka 11.1

      If PB gets prosecuted it will entrench bene bashing in ways we haven’t seen before. What on earth makes you think that bigots are suddenly going to feel compassion for beneficiaries just because one of their own got caught too?

      And it’s not about concern for Bennett, it’s concern for beneficiaries.

      • weka 11.1.1

        And if you feel ok calling on the MSD to go after Bennett, I assume you support the MSD going after other beneficiaries. That’s fucked.

        • AsleepWhileWalking 11.1.1.1

          It is already entrenched.

          I advocate for people in the system so I’ve seen what kind of hell they end up in and I know first hand how stressful an interview with MSD is even when you have done nothing wrong. I have seen them crying in despair

          What will be extremely offensive to me is that MSD has different standards depending on the political view and position of those under investigation.

          You take a benefit you understand that there are rules you must abide by. That is the law and if it is broken they latch onto you and trawl through your entire life. Afterwards you are deemed a low trust client which means higher levels of control over you than other people.

          I hope that all of this becomes a moot point after the election when changes to our benefit system are made to ensure good people don’t behave like criminals after being placed under high stress and denied what they need to live a dignified life.

          I’m self banning for the day as my view point is likely to inflame discussion even without meaning to. bfn

          • AsleepWhileWalking 11.1.1.1.1

            One last thing I have to say…

            The longer you are on a benefit the more likely you are to be prosecuted of something.

            This is because benefit rates are designed to be short term in nature, in other words you become increasingly run down over time.

            PB got to where she is because she was lucky enough (even without housing loans, Training Incentive Allowance) to be on a much more generous system than we have in place today.

          • garibaldi 11.1.1.1.2

            Wow, there’s powerful argument either way here. AWW raises some very good points, but,yeah, it’s better to live in the now and critique Paula’s current failings.

            • weka 11.1.1.1.2.1

              AWW is saying that the state should penalise some of the most vulnerable people in the country. That’s not a good point.

              • One Anonymous Bloke

                I’m not sure AWW said the state should do this. More that this is the status quo.

                • weka

                  They’re arguing it backwards IMO. The more sensible argument is leave Turei alone, not have a go at Bennett too.

          • weka 11.1.1.1.3

            You’re teaching your grandmother to suck eggs in terms of telling me about benefits. But good to know that you support the MSD targeting beneficiaries for historic issues. It’s not only the right that takes this position.

        • KJT 11.1.1.2

          Totally agree. The sooner we have a universal income for all mothers, the better.

          • RedLogix 11.1.1.2.1

            Sighs .. and the one party committed to delivering exactly that?

            • weka 11.1.1.2.1.1

              Would be the party run by Gareth Morgan who thinks it’s ok to replace welfare with a lower UBI.

              • RedLogix

                Would be the party run by Gareth Morgan who thinks it’s ok to replace welfare with a lower UBI and targeted top ups to retain at least existing welfare levels... FIFY

                Of course what you also selectively omit to mention is that many low income households will be much off because non-working partners would receive a UBI, child UBI’s, income taxes on any earned income would be reduced, and TOP’s housing policy not only reduces rents but gives them security of tenure. And more.

                All things you’ve demanded in the past, but because Morgan you can’t play nice. Oh well.

                • weka

                  No, it would be the Gareth Morgan who is clueless about welfare and runs a party making up policy as they go along and which still has major holes in it *because they don’t understand welfare.

                  “Of course what you also selectively omit to mention is that many low income households will be much off because non-working partners would receive a UBI, child UBI’s, income taxes on any earned income would be reduced, and TOP’s housing policy not only reduces rents but gives them security of tenure. And more.”

                  Yes, I get it. Morgan, and presumably yourself, are ok with throwing some vulnerable people under a bus so long as others are better off.

                  “All things you’ve demanded in the past, but because Morgan you can’t play nice. Oh well.”

                  Fuck off Red. You’ve consistently been unable to address the actual points I’ve raised in the past and now all you’ve got left is misrepresenting my arguments. That Morgan can’t play nice is in top of the problems with the policy, as I’ve been clear about ad nauseam.

              • mauī

                “replace welfare with a lower UBI”

                Isn’t the UBI of $200 more than what single beneficiaries are getting now?And it reduces a lot of the stigma and shame around the benefit that we have now too.

    • Gabby 11.2

      Absolutely. If even gifted Pullya couldn’t manage on benefit alone, all the more reason to change it.

      • KJT 11.2.1

        I find it sick, this picking on solo mothers.

        Takes two for starters.

        Secondly it seems to be mostly from the sort of middle aged guys, who spent their teenaged years trying to cause more of them.

        • RedLogix 11.2.1.1

          Absolutely … but the ‘white, middle-aged, male’ trope does get a bit irksome.

          • KJT 11.2.1.1.1

            Well. I am one of them.

            But I am anti getting all self righteous as you get older.

            Like my contempories that go on about boy racers, when i remember them racing us down the Ngatea Straight.

            Or the ones who forget their Friday night pissups and dope, when they sack young people who fail a dope test.

  12. red-blooded 12

    Attack Bennett for her policies – leave her past alone.

    One more thing – I see all this crap as picking on women in particular. How many men get left holding the baby?

    No way will I support this ugliness.

  13. David Mac 13

    Great that so many are looking past the potential fleeting satisfaction of slugging Paula one to see the grand prize. A welfare system that the Paulas And Metiras of our country don’t need to rort to get by.

    Hunting Paula does Metira’s cause no favours.

    If substantiated, leak it to the media and let those guys do what they love to do: Creating headlines and lead stories that can’t be ignored.

    • red-blooded 13.1

      How does that help to counter the narrative that treats beneficiaries as cheats and bludgers?

  14. RedLogix 14

    Paula Bennett will be loving this thread.

    While I simply don’t care what she was up to with the Napier Tattoo Club decades ago; it does seem important to Ashley Farrell. But then he’s only a poor semi-literate white guy and not a Minister of the Crown. Still I agree on balance, PB’s right to privacy as a poor, brown single mother on a benefit probably trumps Farrell’s right to expose her hypocrisy.

    But I’m in no mood to let the bigots and bene-bashers off scott-free either. Nor the cast of fuckers in the MSM who were up on their hind-legs sticking it to Turei, while remaining utterly silent on Bennett. Imagine if Barclay was a Green Party MP … they’d still be hounding him with lead items every other news cycle, over drawing salary while effectively resigned.

    I’d always choose redemption over retribution; the left cannot defend Turei and attack Bennett at the same time. That too would an unsupportable hypocrisy.

    But we can make a point in the present … we’ll happily leave Bennett’s past in the past where it belongs. But in return we get:

    1. A full and complete retraction from the current PM condemning the attacks on Turei, and an offer to support her appointment as a Minister at any time in the future.

    2. A full and complete apology from Paula Bennett for her punitive welfare policies and a political commitment to re-instate the training allowances she cut.

    3. Resignations from Hoskings, Gower and Garner for their gross bias, blatant political double standard and lack of professionalism.

    Or will hell freeze over first?

    • One Anonymous Bloke 14.1

      We can only tackle the bigotry and the bashing if we refuse to indulge in it: your proposed choice/trade-off is whether to surrender or not.

      And why would they resign? From their perspective they just scored a goal for the team.

      No, they won’t surrender either, insofar as authoritarian followers have anything left to surrender.

      • RedLogix 14.1.1

        Exactly. And if we reward their bigotry by never holding them accountable, they will keep doing it.

        They’re already working on how to take out JA.

        That’s the dark issue we’ve never really grappled with. It’s become normalised for National to be venal, lazy, hypocritical cheats. The can have blatant propagandists like Hosking on the public purse. And on and on.

        Yet all this dirty political advantage is reserved for the right. The left is not allowed it, nor wants it.

    • red-blooded 14.2

      Sorry, RedLogix, but that’s just ridiculous. Basically, you’re assuming that any rumours about Bennett are true (they may not be) and that you can blackmail not only her but others who have nothing to do with her because of them.

      1) Why would English support Turei to be a Minister when her party and his are political enemies? He’s got no intention of working with the Greens, they’ve got no intention of working with him; any government that is formed with the Greens will have nothing to do with him. Your demand is nonsensical.

      2) It would be great if Bennett reinstated the training schemes, but even better to just do our best to oust her and her awful party and make the changes ourselves.

      3) Don’t be daft. These people aren’t employed by the Nats and have no reason to resign in order to protect Bennett. (And, BTW, I think you’re being unfair to Gower. He’s a tough interviewer, but I don’t think he’s unbalanced. He’s certainly not a mouthpiece for any particular party.)

      So, yeah, hell will freeze over first.

      • RedLogix 14.2.1

        Yet they would be fair and equitable outcomes, but the fact that you are perfectly correct and they are ridiculous suggestions to contemplate, just underlines how unfair, unjust and inequitable this sordid story is.

        And yes I’m very aware the whole mess around Bennett is just allegations. Still if it were I young woman making unsavoury allegations about a male National MP, I wonder if we’d be quite so hot on defending said MP’s privacy.

      • Carolyn_nth 14.2.2

        You’re correct about Gower not being a mouthpiece for a particular party. He has been both a mouth piece for the Nats and for 3rd wayers within Labour – remember how Cunliffe was treated by Gower?

        However, I’d never describe him as balanced.

  15. KJT 15

    I think we should stop witch hunts period.

    It is not pretty, whichever side do it.

    Except were it affects current actions as an MP.

    I am certainly not going to condemn anyone for being a drunken, party going, sex mad teenager. I was one myself once. Many of the things my teenage self did, make me cringe, now.

    Youngsters should have second chances.

    However, i believe Bennett should be reflecting on the second chance she is removing from so many others. I think their is a bit of projection there. Bennett believes solo mums are all like her past self.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 15.1

      I wonder whether she was in the room when they wrote the policy.

      • greywarshark 15.1.1

        Why can’t people be allowed to have some flaws? What we don’t need and Bennett is so unpopular about is that she wants to behave in the anctimonious Gnashional way, which involved taking a superior tone of someone who has Probity in their very molecules.

        And Metiria is the perfect example of someone who hauled herself (and child) up by her boot-straps when she didn’t have long enough straps. And Red Logix and McFlock having a long debate about it all! When people are being ground down by oppressive laws, by lack of finance at a time when everything is being monetised?

        Good for strong-growers that withstand the frost I say. And I hope that there is money in Maori coffers to help fund keen Maori into study now. It would be sad if the kicking machine (that is the most efficient in the western world, did you know), is still in use against such soft, easy targets, Fit it with titanium paddles and robotise it to smell out RW politicians and give them what they deserve.

    • RedLogix 15.2

      I think we should stop witch hunts period.

      Absolutely. I hate them with a passion and stand on my record here as being reluctant to participate. In any form at all.

      Still us setting an example as saints will have little effect on the bigots unless we stand up to them.

      • McFlock 15.2.1

        But we still need to stand up to them, not stoop down to their level.

        There are so many opportunities to criticise nats in general and bennett in particular. We don’t need to copy their muckraking vindictiveness to do so, especially on the word of one person who seems to me to be more passionate than reliable or verifiable.

        Bennett is an incompetent ladder-kicker who has contempt for the people she is supposed to help. If we need to muckrake in order to win against that, we don’t deserve to win.

        • RedLogix 15.2.1.1

          Absolutely … attacking Ashley Farrell’s credibility is the first thing they’ll do. Probably have the plan in place as we type. Very risky being associated.

          OK … but now more about this ‘standing up to them’. What did you have in mind?

          • McFlock 15.2.1.1.1

            It’s not about being associated with him

            It’s about whether we should be digging up stuff from 20 years ago like they do, and if so then whether what he says is actually what happened.

            As for “standing up to them”: campaigning hard, with good policies and energetic leadership. Holding their current incompetence to account. Unless Bennett’s murdered someone, any scandal from 20 years ago is just a trivial, small-minded distraction.

            • RedLogix 15.2.1.1.1.1

              I’ve ruled out going for Bennett’s past as well.

              But in effect, you’re saying we just keep on doing what we usually do, while rewarding their dirty politics, gross hypocrisy and nasty double standards with a free pass as usual.

              Good oh. That should work.

              • McFlock

                No reward or free pass. Just no wallowing in filth.

                So what less-than-saintly methods of standing up to them are you advocating, then?

                • RedLogix

                  Well keeping mum in order to ‘not wallow in filth’ will amount to a free pass if we do nothing else.

                  Of course winning the election would be one effective response.

                  The other approach would be to shine light on their hypocrisy by openly coming out to defend Bennett’s reasonable right to privacy around her past, pre-political life, while at the same time acknowledging Ashley Farrell’s right to be heard and have his allegations investigated.

                  Then if there was any substance to them, it would be a perfect chance to demonstrate redemption and forgiveness.

                  • McFlock

                    The other approach would be to shine light on their hypocrisy by openly coming out to defend Bennett’s right to privacy, while at the same time acknowledging Ashley Farrell’s right to be heard and have his allegations investigated.

                    Then if there was any substance to them, it would be a perfect chance to demonstrate redemption and forgiveness.

                    To put it bluntly, anyone who gives a shit about something like benefit fraud 20 years after the fact is unlikely to vote Labour, but they will not hesitate to point out your approach as a hypocritical and cynical charade. That will not only validate their own choices, but it will also be a cause for reflection for anyone who wants an honest government. Oh, and it validates those bastards going through everyone’s distant past.

                    So yeah, let’s do other stuff. It might not get us elected, but maybe your approach won’t either. And either way, your way still leaves us smelling like shit.

                    • RedLogix

                      So the free pass then.

                    • McFlock

                      Yes, because “avoiding cynical duplicity” totally equals “free pass” /sarc

                    • RedLogix

                      So when a certain historic figure said ‘let him who is without sin among you cast the first stone’ … this was nothing more than ‘cynical duplicity’?

                      If assuming there is substance here, where is the justice in Bennett having her past kept hidden, when Turei’s was not? If Bennett does have something to answer for, she should do exactly what Turei did, and talk to MSC about putting it right.

                      And the left can with no cynicism whatsoever apply the ancient wisdom above and cast no stones.

                    • McFlock

                      Historical or mythological, he didn’t say “let he who is without sin throw the first stone, but if a stone should happen to hit her in the head I won’t be too disappointed because it will give me a chance to show off my awesome healing powers, as well”.

                      If assuming there is substance here, where is the justice in Bennett having her past kept hidden, when Turei’s was not?

                      Well, that’s the entire point, isn’t it. Turei brought her own past forward of her own choice. Bennett hasn’t. Turei was entitled to her privacy until she decided to make her offending public. Bennett is still entitled to her privacy, and is challenging allegations that are (as far as I am aware) unsubstantiated.

                    • RedLogix

                      So from now on historic offending is a matter for the person involved to choose to make public?

                      Sheesh … a lot of people in prison who likely wish you’d come up with that one sooner.

                    • McFlock

                      Like I said above, it’s not like she’s been accused of murder, is it?

                      Get some perspective. If her offending is as significant and as distant as Turei’s it’s equally none of our business unless she decides to bring it up. If what’s-his-name is accusing her of anything worse, then leave it for the cops. Either way it shouldn’t be political ammunition.

                    • RedLogix

                      But now you’re falling into exactly the one point the right DID have over Turei’s actions. That fundamentally cheating on welfare rules, however much we may abhor their punitive nature at the time … is not something a Minister can be seen to condone.

                      What Turei did was wrong in law and that needed to be answered for. And she did.

                      But it was justified morally in the context of a young mother trying to do her best for her children. On those grounds we defended Turei, and indeed we can defend Bennett as well.

                      But as a Minister of the Crown, does Bennett get to avoid alleged transgressions because ‘privacy’? As I suggested above, that’s really a whole can of worms.

                      After all Barclay scarcely committed murder either, but did we defend him on the grounds of privacy?

                    • McFlock

                      [edit]Gosh[/edit]. Barclay did what he did while in office. That patently makes him unsuitable to hold that office, let alone the fact that it’s well within any reasonable time to charge him if appropriate. So that’s not a fair comparison.

                      That fundamentally cheating on welfare rules, however much we may abhor their punitive nature at the time … is not something a Minister can be seen to condone.

                      [edit]I heartily disagree[/edit]. Even if it were argued that the alleged offending is serious enough that it should be dragged up decades later (which is doubtful), the degree to which the minister is seen to “condone” lawbreaking is directly proportional to the degree of reliability of the allegations. At the moment we have one guy who has used facebook to spread his allegation, with AFAIK zero substantiation. If that much warranted the end of a political career, there’d have to be a jet-propelled revolving door in the debating chamber.

                    • RedLogix

                      So now you’re arguing that no only was Turei morally justified in her actions decades ago (which I totally agree with) … that also because her actions are so old and should have remained private … there was no technical offense either?

                      Because that really amounts to condoning what she did. And I’m kind of surprised you think that’s a viable political strategy .

                      At the moment we have one guy who has used facebook to spread his allegation, with AFAIK zero substantiation.

                      And if you recall that’s pretty much how the case against Philip Field started too. Just unproven allegations. I’ve no idea if Farrell is a bullshitter or not. The only way forward is to let some sunshine in and see what is revealed.

                      Now if you think Bennett is justified in trying very hard to prevent even that from happening, I’d be even more surprised.

                    • McFlock

                      Just as an aside, it’s not just “now”. I’ve actually been pretty consistent in this. I don’t give a shit what either of them did 20 years ago, any more than I care if a mate of mine nicked a hamburger from the 24hr dairy after a night on the piss 20 years ago. There might be some technical offense, which frankly could and should be handled by the authorities with the minimum amount of media hooplah, but after 20 years of clean behaviour and even contributing to society, I would favour a judge doing a discharge without conviction..

                      And again, Philip Field did his thing while holding public office. This is not the same as an historic offence relating to benefits. But how many people made the allegations, and did they have supporting documentation and verification from other sources?

                      We don’t need “sunshine” on this case. That’s just an excuse for curtain-twitching on decades-old bene-bashing. Bennett isn’t trying to stop an official investigation, she’s trying to stop publication of unsubstantiated allegations which she claims are defamatory. Given the high threshold for public figures in this matter, I’m ok with her doing that – if there’s anything to the allegations, it’s a mistake for her to take it to court.

                    • RedLogix

                      We don’t need “sunshine” on this case. That’s just an excuse for curtain-twitching on decades-old bene-bashing.

                      Look I understand the sentiment. And I totally agree any issue over Turei’s situation should have been dealt to with a minimum of media hoop-la.

                      But potentially the amount of extra cash Turei, and Bennett, may have claimed over and above what they were entitled to amounts to a good deal more than a hamburger.

                      Yes these possible offenses are likely below the public interest threshold to prosecute, and time limits may have expired. But this isn’t the same thing as simply expunging them altogether and handing out exoneration just because of ‘privacy’ and pretending they never happened.

                      And like it or not we do hold Ministers of the Crown to somewhat higher standards than some old mate of yours.

                    • McFlock

                      Yes these possible offenses are likely below the public interest threshold to prosecute, and time limits may have expired. But this isn’t the same thing as simply expunging them altogether and handing out exoneration just because of ‘privacy’ and pretending they never happened.

                      Actually, it pretty much is that.

                      If there’s no public interest to prosecute, there’s no public interest to go snooping. And we can’t condone an investigation into something for which there is likely no public interest in prosecuting – it’s a waste of resources as well as an invasion of privacy.

                      We hold ministers up to a higher standard. This doesn’t exclude offenses made trivial by the passage of time.

                      If you must be purely cynical in your planning, where’s the bonus in validating beneficiary bashing again? Current nat supporters will be so shocked by this final piece of hypocrisy that they start voting left? Yeah, not likely. They’ve accepted the hypocrisy of ladder-kicking, so there’s not much hope they’ll give a shit about this. Meanwhile, everyone who is against benebashing will have to reconcile this against going after bennett over that very issue.

                    • RedLogix

                      OK but be honest that your argument amounts to condoning and justifying Turei’s actions as a beneficiary both legally and morally. Feel free to take that to the electorate as see how it flies.

                      And still a free pass for Bennett. Won’t she love you buddy.

                    • McFlock

                      In the same way that I approve and condone the Irish who stole food to feed their kids during famine. I’m not in a position to judge, and frankly it happened so long ago that their transgressions are not worth much effort investigating.

                      Hell, I’m not even sure I’m opposed to benefit fraud of that level by someone even today. Most of the time it seems to me that they’re just getting what the government should be bloody paying in the first place.

                      You say I give Bennett a free pass? There’s a difference between a free pass and not stooping to throw shit. She has plenty more avenues to be attacked based on her actions in government. We can throw shit or smell of roses, but not both.

                    • RedLogix

                      If you must be purely cynical in your planning, where’s the bonus in validating beneficiary bashing again?

                      You still seem to have missed it.

                      If there is something for Bennett to answer to then she should. And at that point the left sets the example by emphatically NOT indulging in bene-bashing. We explicitly invalidate it.

                      To the point of defending Bennett on this point if we have to.

                    • McFlock

                      If there is something for Bennett to answer to then she should. And at that point the left sets the example by emphatically NOT indulging in bene-bashing. We explicitly invalidate it.

                      Except that the act of “shining a light” on trivial events twenty years ago validates the idea that, once you’re a beneficiary, the public are entitled to examine every move you make as a beneficiary – worse than that, they’re entitled to go back over it twenty years after you were on a benefit.

                      Yeah, that’s beneficiary-bashing, too. All beneficiaries (past, current, and future) have a right to privacy, even the ones we don’t like.

                      the alternative is that not only are the bashers apparently entitled to audit the contents of your knickers drawer at will, as a beneficiary you have to keep photos of it in case twenty years later someone wants to see whether you were getting the full wear out of your undergarments. But that’s okay, because we’ll take the high road and say that although the matching bra and knickers set was an extravagent use of taxpayer funds, we forgive you. Gosh, aren’t we great.

                    • RedLogix

                      But that was the power of what Jesus did. This is what changed hearts.

                      He didn’t rush in and say “this woman is innocent of all offense”, he didn’t say “it’s all in the past and we should overlook it”. He didn’t try to pretend there was no fault or failure on her part. She wasn’t getting a free pass.

                      But he did demand compassion from those would stone her, he did demand they examine their consciences, and did demand they refrain from judgement. And then demonstrated this himself.

                      Do you think that crowd of stone-throwers would have been any less hard-hearted, less bigoted, less prying and curtain-twitching than the same mob who bayed after Turei’s blood?

                      Compassion is not about looking the other way and passively forgetting; it’s being honest about mistakes and actively forgiving.

                    • McFlock

                      You forget that in your story about Jesus, the woman’s guilt had already been established. And just the general nature of her crime was described.

                      There’s no story about Jesus peeking through windows in order to catch adulterers, that he might forgive them. What he wrote in the sand wasn’t recorded. We don’t know what sins the would-be stone-throwers committed, just that nobody felt themselves worthy to throw stones. The bible doesn’t “shine a light” on what she actually did, when, or with whom.

                      Your version of showing “compassion” is a selfish and pretentious sort of “compassion” where we search through every detail of someone’s life to find a crime that we can “forgive”, and thereby use forgiveness as a political tool.

                      Who would forgive us for that callous humiliation? What sins won’t we commit in order to show ourselves noble and compassionate?

                      In order to show ourselves better than nats, we have to be better than nats. Are we any better than a tory if we turn not just people but also the very concepts of morality and compassion into political objects, to be manipulated for our own cynical ends?

                      Why bother looking, if all we are going to do is forgive? There is no point to it. Let those guys be the curtain-twitchers and panty-sniffers, doxxing beneficiaries and auditing everyone’s tiniest decision in need. Fuck ’em. We shouldn’t do it, because we believe they shouldn’t do it.

                    • RedLogix

                      So in effect Turei gets the boot put into her and Bennett get a free pass because … the left is ‘better’.

                      That’s OK … it’s a strategy. A weak one, but it just might work. The DP crew and the bigots who’re their tools just might see how much better we are and see the error of their ways. Looking forward to Hosking’s Damascus moment and pleading mea culpa on prime time.

                      It’s a fine thing to defend the vulnerable and weak from bullying and persecution. The toxic culture of bene-bashing is despicable and corrosive; I hate it as much as you do. But we might want to be a little wary of the idea this makes them some kind of protected species to be absolved of all fault or blame.

                      Bottom line, benefit fraud remains a crime and the left pretends otherwise to our political peril. And I suspect Adern and Davis would agree with me. Even maybe Turei herself come to that.

                      Edit. mmm breaking news rather casts a harsh light on this whole conversation does it not McF?

                    • McFlock

                      So in effect Turei gets the boot put into her and Bennett get a free pass because … the left is ‘better’.

                      On that issue, yes. But that’s turei’s only fault (for want of a better word), whereas shit 20 years ago is way down the list of Bennett’s faults.

                      It’s not actually a strategy, though. It’s a principle. It’s one of those things you either have and follow for the chips to fall where they may, or you don’t have it at all.

                      Bottom line, benefit fraud remains a crime and the left pretends otherwise to our political peril. And I suspect Adern and Davis would agree with me.

                      They’ve made their position clear, yes. That’s why Turei’s not going to be a minister in October. I don’t recall Ardern or Davis commenting on whether Bennett broke the law 20 years ago while on a benefit. I’d be quite disappointed in them if they had done anything close to what you’re suggesting.

                    • McFlock

                      Edit. mmm breaking news rather casts a harsh light on this whole conversation does it not McF?

                      I think it casts more of a harsh light on the two Green MPs who have quit.

  16. Sabine 16

    ahh, another election another round of beneficiary bashing.

    as for bennett, don’t sit in a glass house and throw rocks. When that is done usually shit happens.

    but, fuck it another round of beneficiary bashing. Ack Ack ack.

  17. tricledrown 17

    Where is Paula Bennett she has gone missing National are fronting without the deputy PM.

  18. Why are critics so incensed and inflamed by Metiria’s confession?
    Because she didn’t show her gratitude for what she was given. She didn’t just ask for more, as Oliver Twist did, to the enormous inflammation of the Authorities then, “Please sir, can I have some more?” *cue furious outrage, “MORE!!! , she took some more!!! Hanging offence, that. To make matters much, much worse, when Metiria owned up, voluntarily, to having taken more than the Authorities/Authoritarians were willing to give, she showed NO REMORSE! She smirked, they say, she gave a supercilious look, they exclaim, she didn’t look sorry/beaten/contrite AT ALL, they pontificate. And so, they took aim and fired and fired and fired, shooting from their very hearts, because they know how serious such an action from the Twists of the world can be; the walls could come tumbling down, if they get their way. More! I’ll give them more.

    • Gabby 18.1

      On the offchance that your question is not rhetorical, possibly people suspect there has been a selective cynical honesty forced by circumstances, that parts of the story are less than flattering, and that this might be an example of the bourgeois exploitation of a system intended to alleviate serious hardship being used to justify making the system far more harsh and punitive.

  19. I too, believe we have more useful things to discuss here on TS. In any case, this guy’s doing the groundwork and will do so without our guidance:

    ‘Dear Media works NewZealand

    I’m just wondering why it is you are not talking to me about my allegations towards Miss Bennett{whom by the way is really Mrs Philps by marriage} as i am the person who blew the whistle on her corruption. I was also wondering why you are using Miss Turei as a distraction to take the attention away from Miss Bennett. I would be more than happy to answer any questions you have publically, but understand that you are too scared to ask me the questions that need to be asked. I am wondering when you are going to do your jobs and be real reporters, as what you are doing is an embarrassment to your profession.
    Thank you
    yours sincerly Ashley Farrell”

    • Stuart Munro 19.1

      The only thing that need be said on the subject of Bennett, and indeed many of her colleagues is…

      “Dracarys.”

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