Glorified holiday for Bennett

Written By: - Date published: 10:23 am, March 9th, 2010 - 45 comments
Categories: Minister for Overseas Holidays, unemployment, welfare - Tags: , , ,

There are 276,000 jobless Kiwis. The seasonally-adjusted trend on dole numbers is still on the rise. Many other people fall through the gaps and are unable to get public assistance in their time of need.

What better time for the Minister for Social Development to bugger off for five weeks?

Paula Bennett is taking part in the Eisenhower Fellowship. Her course (which just consists of a bunch of meetings) is on corporate social responsibility.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m as big a fan of corporate social responsibility as the next leftie. But somehow I don’t think Bennett’s going to be learning about corporate social responsibility as we would understand it – not from a right-wing organisation led by George W Bush’s Secretary of State, Colin Powell, and not when Bennett says the US “does it quite well”.

Since corporate social responsibility is nowhere on the government’s agenda and not within Bennett’s portfolio anyway, I just don’t see the point.

It sounds like a glorified holiday, on top of the four weeks she’s just had. Maybe she thinks there’s no work for her to do here after erroneously declaring victory over unemployment once again.

At least her officials will get a break from having to reduce important information to pretty pictures for her. Maybe it was their idea to get her out of their hair.

Oh yeah, she’ll be taking her $5,000 a week salary while she’s over there too. So, enjoy paying for her big break while the people who need her to be doing her damn job for a change languish.

45 comments on “Glorified holiday for Bennett”

  1. toad 1

    Give her a break, Marty. She’s only following Sylvester McMonKEY McBean’s lead.

    • Pascal's bookie 1.1

      “Sylvester McMonKEY McBean”

      Nice one toad.

      Then up came McBean with a very sly wink.
      And he said, “Things are not quite as bad as you think.

      So you don’t know who’s who. That is perfectly true.
      But come with me, friends. Do you know what I’ll do?
      I’ll make you, again, the best Sneetches on the beaches.
      And all it will cost you is ten dollars eaches.’

      • toad 1.1.1

        Try this version PB:

        Then up came McBean with a very sly wink.
        And he said, “I don’t really care if your rivers are stink.
        So don’t care what poo is in the river with you.
        But come with me, friends. Do you know what I’ll do?
        I’ll make you, again, the best Creeches and leeches.
        And all it will cost you is two Nat votes eaches.’

  2. tc 2

    Expected really, these ministers always find it convenient to not be around and do their jobs by fielding questions/interviews/being in their offices etc…..especially now that King’s discovered her voice finally and unceremoniously shattered bennetts facade with a simple line of questioning.

    Show’s where JK’s priorities are……damage control and avoidance of the issues, when he actually does something that is.

  3. Going to the US to learn about corporate social responsibility is like going to China to learn about environmental protection …

  4. toad 4

    Ssssh, micky – or you’ll be giving Nick Smith ideas for a sabbatical too.

    • Maybe we could send Tolley to Afghanistan to study their education system?

      • Clarke 4.1.1

        … or send Rodney Hide to Somalia for lessons on effective governance.

        • Draco T Bastard 4.1.1.1

          But the BIG question is, once we’ve sent them somewhere – can we LOSE them?

        • Irascible 4.1.1.2

          Why not foster the relationship that Hide has with Robert Mugabe’s seminal text on Good Governance? It looks like Rodders has been using it to frame his sooper city legislation.

  5. ghostwhowalksnz 5

    That a serving minister is doing this is outrageous. This is what time in opposition is for.

    What about the existing senior public servants, this would be more suitable for one of them at this time.

    • Bright Red 5.1

      “What about the existing senior public servants, this would be more suitable for one of them at this time.”

      exactly. they’re the ones who do the heavy lifting on policy.

  6. Peter 6

    Did she have to pay for 2 seats ??

    IrishBill: Too far. This isn’t Kiwiblog.

    • gitmo 6.1

      No just a mirror image

    • Kevin Welsh 6.2

      To be fair, maybe Peter was referring to the lackey that will be required to take notes and turn them into simple-to-understand pictures.

  7. toad 7

    Following the lead of English, Hide, Heatley etc, I suspect she will collect her Ministerial salary over that time – because she feels she is entitled to it!

    • Lanthanide 7.1

      Not to mention have this trip paid for by the taxpayer as it’s ‘government business’.

      • lukas 7.1.1

        Read much? “Eisenhower Fellowship which will finance her individualised study project”

      • toad 7.1.2

        Of course. It is ‘government business’. How stupid of me. Her travel costs, accommodation, and per diem costs will all being met by the taxpayer.

        So where the hell is the scholarship money going? Similar place to Double Dipton’s “Out of Wellington” accommodation allowance, perhaps?

  8. “She was interested in what role the Government could have in brokering arrangements between the corporate sector, non-government organisations and those they are helping.”

    Hope she sees how making ‘whanau ora’ a non culturally specific initiative will turn Maori into zombies, like native americans.

    • native americans aren’t zombies

      “A zombie is a creature that appears in books and popular culture typically as a reanimated dead or a mindless human being.”

      why insult indigenous cultures to get your point across – a bit mindless perhaps?

  9. tc 9

    No doubt the Clown will be relaxed about the depth of talent lying in wait to sieze their opportunity by looking after the portfolio in her absence……I hear Rankin’s available ?

  10. Bill 10

    “She has been awarded an Eisenhower Fellowship which will finance her individualised study project in October……..It (The Eisenhower Fellowship) selects up to 25 people a year from around the world considered to be outstanding in their fields and in mid-career.”

    What?!!

    • Chris 10.1

      As I said in my FB profile – there’s three possibilities here.

      1) The American criteria for ‘out-standing and mid-career’ are so low that tea-baggers, wingnuts and Tolley are eligible (Tolley’s in with a chance!).

      2) That in fact she is out-standing in her field and in mid-career, which means Tolley is in with a good chance as well.

      or 3) Given that on both criteria, Bennett fails miserably, so how much did Key pay to have her taken off his hands for 5 weeks?

      Which begs the question; how much would he pay to get shot of Tolley for the same time?

  11. Bill 11

    The left, or some section of it, ought to be paying very close attention to this Eisenhower Fellowship course because it will no doubt contain a blue print for strategies to deal to and push back state provision in favour of profit driven private providers.

    In the states they pulled up short of privatising their social security. But I don’t think the Nats will.

    Insofar as they’re sending Bennett I’d suggest the whole privatisation process will be a ‘by the numbers’ type exercise. Which can be successfully opposed if you know the numbers. And roll right on over the top of you if you don’t.

    So, yeah. Slang Bennett and this government and be outraged at the expense, but please don’t let us be in a position where everyone has taken their eye off the ball and we get unnecessarily re-rolled under an 80s policies revisit juggernaut.

    • reddy 11.1

      yeh I’m a suspiscious bugger and when the social welfare minister goes to the U.S….

    • A very good point Bill.Just what and who is the Eisenhower Fellowship.
      Is it a Far Right think tank ?Is it financed by the Right-Wing Umbrella group the Pacific Democratic Union? If so then we can expect Bennett to bring more Far Right policies on the poor unsuspecting workers of Aotearoa. She bad enough now whats she going to be like after this trip.

      • BLiP 11.2.1

        From Kissinger to Powell – one corporate war monger to another:

        Shortly after Bush won reelection in 2004, Powell resigned from the administration. Powell now sits on numerous corporate boards. He succeeded Henry Kissinger in May 2006 as Chairman of the Eisenhower Fellowship Program at the City College of New York. In September 2005, Powell said of his U.N. speech that it was a “blot’ on his record. He went on to say, “It will always be a part of my record. It was painful. It’s painful now.’

  12. lukas 12

    “What better time for the Minister for Social Development to bugger off for five weeks?”

    Accept she is going in October, so it might be a better time then Marty.

  13. ghostwhowalksnz 13

    Look at the calibre of the USA fellows

    http://eisenhowerfellowships.org/programs/2010_usa_fellows.php

    Apart from being heavily ‘WASP they seems streets ahead of our Paula and her tiger prints.

    The mystery is with unemployment rocketing she found the time to search this out.

    • toad 13.1

      “Leopard” ghost, not “tiger” (or “cougar”). You gotta get your big cats right.

    • Bill 13.2

      Here’s the international peopleses. http://eisenhowerfellowships.org/programs/2010_Multi_Nation_Program_Fellows.php

      But for some unaccountable reason Paula ain’t listed. Maybe it’s because of the selection criteria, she would appear to satisfy only the final one on the list? Methinks Johnny Boy’s been greasing somebody on the trust or something.

      International and USA Fellows are selected based on the following criteria:

      * Five to ten years of exemplary leadership (age range of 32-45)
      * Demonstrated impact in the individual’s professional field
      * Active leadership in broader professional/community activities
      * Integrity, energy, and motivation to make a difference
      * Breadth of perspective and enthusiasm for continued learning
      * Likelihood of contributing to the home region and to the larger Eisenhower network, based on prior networking record
      * Demonstrated potential for advanced leadership and societal impact
      * Value of Fellowship to significantly enhance leadership abilities
      * Note: International Fellows must be fluent in English

  14. BLiP 14

    When’s that Privacy Commission investigation due out . . .

  15. I think this is more about trying to give her some cred with the electorate. Bennett has really struggled and no one has even hit her hard yet from the opposition anyway.
    So from the back seat of a Holden to the USA, what a traveler.
    Imagine what she could achieve with National if she could just get her hands on a few emails.

  16. ghostwhowalksnz 16

    remember to that Farrar in PravdaBlog took aim at Chris Carter for Comm Sec election monitoring mission in his own time.

    I bet he will be positively gushing while PB is hiving off from her ministerial duties- most likely being away when some inconvenient facts come out. Will she be doing ‘economy class’ on the trip over?

  17. Cnr Joe 17

    Weeelll She could do with professional development.
    But I have flashes of her there – doing it.
    Out of her depth. Floundering at times..mouthing off at others….
    hooking up with some of the lonely men….shopping..
    how long? 5 months?

  18. 350ppm 18

    Corporate philanthropy in the US is driven by generous tax breaks. She doesn’t need five weeks travel to find that out.

  19. gobsmacked 19

    Here’s a prediction for y’all …

    This jolly junket won’t happen. Or if she does go, Bennett won’t be in her current job.

    Fast forward a few months: tough budget, unemployment still high, Whanau Ora a mess, and the government/Maori Party in real strife over any number of related issues. Not least in Bennett’s own portfolio.

    There’s no way a Minister can walk away from all that, and keep her job. Key will have to justify her prolonged absence. Imagine the media reaction when she does a runner, while her portfolio is all over the news, as it will be.

    If she’s not needed when the going gets tough, why is she needed at all?

  20. john 20

    America is the last place to learn “Corporate Responsibility”, it’s non-existent there. Greed, profit, making money is what counts. 50,000 Americans die each year from treatable conditions ’cause corporate insurers won’t cover them or they can’t pay premiums. The US Government is run by the rich for the rich and is in the pocket of US Wall Street Corporations. Wall Street’s casino capitalism has wrecked the US economy. Trillions of hard working US worker’s taxes have been given to these banksters while 38 million Americans are on food stamps and a few million are losing their homes and living in tent cities. the biggest growth Corporation in the US are Private Prisons where 2.3 million Americans are penned up. The US has Third World conditions in the maldistribution of wealth and income.It’s bizarre that poor Americans are ministered to by Oprah Winfrey who is a BILLIONAIRE TWICE OVER! Colin Powell is a War Criminal from a War Criminal Bush Regime. He lied to the whole World that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction when Iraq had been certified free of the same by weapons inspectors. the US is a Neo-liberal disaster zone, it has privatized wealth so much that it’s incapable of doing anything to help its people other than employing them in the Army to invade other countries, and of course paying others to pen them up.John Key is a Wall street man who worked for Merrill Lynch and has a home in Hawaii, he’s a corporate man, the corporation is heartless and souless and only believes in self perpetuation and profit: Whales, your old school poorer people don’t figure.
    It’s pathetic that this Government would look to morally, economically bankrupt corporate greed America for anything and in fact shows how bankrupt their vision for New Zealand is.If only Paula and John would stay over there and not bother us any further.If only this NACT government would emigrate en masse to the land od corporate greed irresponsibility!

  21. randal 21

    anti-spam=anywhere.
    yep thats where the government wants beenit. anywhere but here.
    I bet JOhn Keys is really embarrased by the manques parvenus and general lack of quality of people he got teamed up with at the last election.
    they arent really good at much except sounding off about things they nothing about.

  22. Frank Macskasy 22

    A few points to consider…

    1. Whether we like it or not, there are people in this country who are and always will be unemployable. They are people that no employer in his/her right mind would ever take on. These are people who mostly once resided in institutions, but are now living in the community.

    2. There aren’t enough jobs at present to meet the needs of 168,000+ unemployed people in this country.

    The recent spectacle, in Manukau, Auckland, where over 2,000 people turned up to apply for 150 vacancies at a new supermarket brutally underscored that grim reality. http://tinyurl.com/ybvn623

    3. Some folk need to be reminded that we’ve just gone through the worst recession since the 1930s. It is not the fault of our fellow New Zealanders who became casualties of this economic mess, brought on by financiers, banks, etc, in Wall Street, USA.

    4. Anyone who thinks that living on the dole is desirable should try it. I can guarantee that no one in his/her right mind would willingly swap a $500/wk job for a $194/wk benefit.

    The only thing that beneficiary-bashers are proving is that prejudice is alive and thriving in our little country. And there’s no need for it.

    Those of us lucky to have kept our jobs or businesses should count ourselves fortunate. 100,000 of us weren’t so lucky.

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