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God, she writes like she talks

Written By: - Date published: 2:44 pm, July 5th, 2010 - 53 comments
Categories: health, humour - Tags: ,

TVOne reports:
Claims by Social Development Minister Paula Bennett that increasing the cost of tobacco could result in family violence are “pure speculation” according to one expert.

In official papers released to ONE News, it’s emerged Bennett had concerns in February there would be an increase in family violence as a result the tax hike.

“Because of that sort of addiction it can be really tough on them and you see, certainly, financial hardship being increased and I think also with that sort of stress you can look at domestic violence,” Bennett said in a letter to Associate Health Minister Tariana Turia.
Ok, Bennett’s point is bollocks but I’m more interested in her writing. I’m sorry, but I don’t think that sentence would pass the national standard.

Bennett’s got this weird semantic structure all of her own where tenses change at random, everything is ‘sort of’ vague as if she ‘sort of’ doesn’t know what she’s talking about and is ‘sort of’ making things up.

Maybe she wasn’t joking when she said her greatest academic achievement was third equal in synchronised swimming.

53 comments on “God, she writes like she talks”

  1. Lew 1

    Hey Marty, look on the bright side: at least she writes her own letters.


    • Craig Glen Eden 1.1

      All I can say is she is not a Westie cos we can speak proper out West aye. She grew up in Rotavegas I think, and as we all know was educated in the back seat of a Holden.


      • Pete 1.1.1

        Taupo I think – not that we should use this as a basis to judge Tauponians…

        • Ag

          I remember her from Taupo. One of those people with few brains and a loud mouth as I recall. However, I don’t remember her being a malicious or mean spirited person, so her joining the National Party would have been hard to predict.

          But don’t blame Taupo College. I went there, and it was a pretty decent secondary school as far as I remember.

          What’s worse is that the person who wrote that letter apparently graduated with a BA in social policy from Massey and is supposedly going to attend graduate school at NYU.

          Degrees for everyone!

    • You mean a b c d … ?

  2. just saying 2

    Is she using Dragon perhaps?

    It sounds like a very strange ‘stream of consciousness’ rather than a formal letter.

  3. ianmac 3

    Crikey Paula! “Because of that sort of addiction it can be really tough on them and you see, certainly,……..”
    In a chat probably OK, but for a letter to another Minister? And on an important issue?
    Perhaps preparing cover for a rise in family violence caused by unemployment, rising costs etc?
    As a matter of interest what are her qualifications? BA? MA? Dr? MPsych?

  4. rich 4

    I’m like, ya know, like.

  5. Scott 5

    If this is how Bennett communicates by letter, imagine how rough her emails must be.

    Muddled writing usually reflects muddled thinking. How did she become a minister again?

    • Cnr Joe 5.1

      She ran the photocopier in a Nat electorate office and was willing.
      Sort of. Like.

      • Anne 5.1.1

        It was Murray McCully’s photocopier in East Coast Bays. Don’t know what that says…

  6. roger nome 6

    Hmm – perhaps there should be some kind of exam that you need to pass to become an MP? Certainly it would wee the GWBs, Sarah Palins and Basher Bennits out ….

    • Lew 6.1

      If people want folk like that as representatives, why shouldn’t they have them?


      • Scott 6.1.1

        But did people really know what they were getting when they voted for Bennett? Most people with a reading age of 10 or more would be embarrassed by her effort to construct a sentence. If you asked people whether they would vote for an MP who was semi-literate, I’m picking most would say no.

        • Lew

          Fair enough question, but it doesn’t really matter. If they didn’t know then, they sure do now, and are perfectly free to pick the articulate, competent Carmel Sepuloni in 2011. If the good people of Waitakere stick with Bennett despite her manifest lack of coherence, then I think that’s unfortunate, but it’s their choice.


      • Rex Widerstrom 6.1.2

        Good point Lew. But then in the interests of a properly informed populace every prospective MP ought to have to pop along to their local Returning Officer after the writs have been issued and write, under supervision and with no spin doctors allowed, 300 wrods on “Why I want to be an MP and what I’ll do for you if elected”.

        This then gets printed and sent to every household. Much like, if you’re standing for a school board, you get to write 100 words that’s sent to all parents, and that’s it.

        Essays by the likes of Bennett would make fascinating reading…

        Why I wont to be a MP

        by Paula Bennett, aged 41 & 3/4

        Coz like, you know, it’s better than washing dishes and stuff, like wot I done before and that. Peepil have to, you know, like respect me now, and I bet all those mean girls at skool they’re like solo mums and that, and now I get to say what money they have and stuff. Like they say I’m mean and that but I’m soooooo not, they’re just jealous.

        And it’s really cool, I get this guy to drive me round and he has to take me anywhere… even to the shops… it’s kinda like a taxi, but like, you don’t pay or nuffin.

        Course they want me to read all this stuff and like it’s not even about celebrities or nuffin but I make them draw pictures and then I pretend to read it but I got New Weekly hidden in the middel like what we did in 4th form.

        Hey guess what, my dad owned a grocery store and some one at this Party confrince was telling me that that makes me a grocers daughter and so was this bird called… Margret Fatcher or summint? Anyway this weirdo was getting all excited and saying how I was the National Party’s Margret Fatcher. I got away from him tho coz I thort he was gettin a bit TOO excited, if youse know what I mean.

        So yeah, anyway, youse vote for me and I’ll see if I can get that guy with the car to take youse all for a spin, eh? We can be all like those chicks from “Sex and the City” in that car that one time. That’s my favrite filum, that one.

    • prism 6.2

      Wee or weed?? Are you taking the p…s?

  7. prism 7

    She can talk the talk, but where is the practical caring policy that makes positive changes to back it up?

  8. roger nome 8

    Lew – are you assuming that a democratic nomination practice actually exists, and support of various powerful non-democratic individuals and institutions isn’t essential.

    If they can be plutocratic, why shouldn’t we be meritocratic? The former favours the right and the later favours the left (i.e. making people believe that they should vote to make the elite wealthier and yourself poorer, requires a certain amount of obfuscation), which is somewhat dependant on a dumming-down of political discourse.

    • roger nome 8.1

      Continuing on from the last post…

      i.e. Is democracy primarlily not a means to an end rather than an end in itself? I believe that the participation and engaugement in society that democracy promotes is good, but if we can conceptualise democracy or political freedom as a continuum, surely if you chose extreme democracy you subvert its original intention – i.e. liberty and prosperity for all.

      • Lew 8.1.1

        No, I’m not really assuming anything about the selection process within National. It’s not really relevant, because the competition is against other parties who themselves may or may not have democratic selection processes. But a robust, competitive democratic selection process is its own reward because it will tend to select better candidates than those chosen for nepotistic reasons. Whether that improvement in quality can be parlayed into votes is a problem for the parties, not something to be manipulated by the system.

        I really wish the left would think through the probable consequences of their illiberal electoral suggestions. The suggestion here seems to be a sort of literacy/articulateness qualification to stand for office. Wanting to ensure that is a noble goal, and I really want to ensure it as well — but it’s arbitrary, and opens the door to other arbitrary qualifications which could be manipulated to advantage other characteristics which are convenient to a given political movement. Suppose you’re right that setting an academic bar to candidacy would advantage the left; according to the same principles, people could be barred from standing for office if they’re not net taxpayers, or if they haven’t owned a business, or if they don’t have a family. Or, say, if they’re Muslims (for fear that they might campaign to implement Sharia). If we can screw with the fundamentals of democracy, they can too, and that’s an ironclad reason not to do so.

        To answer your second question: no, as far as I’m concerned, democracy is not a means to an end, it is an end in itself. It’s government by the governed — even if they’re venal and stupid. This isn’t an absolute condition, there are limits, but those limits must be broadly-agreed, not implemented to advantage one “side”. The line of argument you seem to be taking — that democracy is a means to good policy outcomes — is dangerous, because it’s easy to justify impositions on democracy where a “good” outcome (whatever that means) can be predicted. That’s authoritarianism, even if it is benign, and benign authoritarianism can easily be perverted.


        • Puddleglum

          I remember hearing once that anyone who wanted to be an MP in the Scottish parliament had to sit an economics ‘test’ of some sort or other (anyone else heard of that?).

          If we’re stuck with representative democracy rather than something more participative then I agree with Lew.

          It wasn’t that long ago that trade unions identified and groomed potential politicians from the shop floor. I doubt whether they all were thoroughly clear and articulate (at least in writing) – in fact that stipulation probably excludes a number of university students, business people wrapped in nonsensical jargon, marketers, philosophers, computer geeks (sorry lprent!), etc., etc.. I’ve always thought that part of the reason for that lack of clarity and lack of clear thinking is that we don’t (as a population) practice real, face to face debate on a daily basis – which is the mainstay of most ‘traditional’ societies’ decision making, including European ones.

          And it’s true that it tends to be the right that not only argue for ‘competency tests’ for office (and for the vote) but actually implement them. It’s a classic, elite stalling tactic to avert the possibility that some skerrick of power may inadvertently end up in the hands of the populace.

          Sadly, there’s an achilles heel in many people’s understanding of politics – they think it’s about making the right decisions. It isn’t – it’s about making our own decisions as a collective. In that vein, I remember back in the 1990s hearing a scary survey in which something like a third of people thought MPs should be replaced by unelected ‘experts’ – a technocracy.

          • Dan

            We essentially live in a world governed by an unelected technocracy businesses own governments through lobbying, donations and revolving door policies. We already have “experts” ruling much of the developed world, and we are heading down a very big hole… wait, perhaps fascism would be a better term?

  9. jcuknz 9

    It may not be ‘conventional’ writing but firstly it makes sense and what she writes can be understood.
    I have no problem in understanding her …. but then RedBaiter says I am a commie ignoramus.
    So she didn’t go to the female equivalent of Christs [ Woodville?], that from her upbringing she should be wearing a red tie, you folk are behaving like those who turned on the ugly duckling … shame on you.

    • uke 9.1

      Hear hear.

      It does make sense; ultimately, it’s not how she writes that’s the problem – it’s what she & her government does. Next there’ll be stories mocking Hone’s “Maori NZ English”. Aw, hold on, maybe that’s what Bennett’s way of talking-writing is?

  10. toad 10

    I’m sorry, but I don’t think that sentence would pass the national standard.

    It would pass Tolley’s, because no-one, including Tolley, has the faintest idea of what they mean or how they work.

  11. tc 11

    It’s always tough when these cabinet ministers remove all doubt as to the fact that they have the intellect of true knuckle draggers…..I prefer it when they just buffoon around the house and leave it at that.

    The nat’s sure can pick ’em.

  12. PK 12

    ***Scott 6.1.1
    But did people really know what they were getting when they voted for Bennett? Most people with a reading age of 10 or more would be embarrassed by her effort to construct a sentence. If you asked people whether they would vote for an MP who was semi-literate, I’m picking most would say no.***

    That depends on how dumb the population is, have you watched ‘Idiocracy’?

  13. Blue 13

    It sounds more like she had a secretary take down what she said as she was wandering around her office or talking down the phone.

    If she actually wrote that sentence then she may be in line to take the education portfolio from Anne Tolley.

    • felix 13.1

      Yep, my guess is when she said “write this up like into a letter an that” she assumed her staff would translate it into English.

      But sometimes when you treat your staff like crap they start taking you literally, aye.

  14. Rosy 14

    Clearly she thought the threat of domestic violence from joblessness, lack of money and ennui resulting from no chance of further education to improve work chances would be reduced by addiction to tobacco. Now that cunning plan has been shot down by increased tobacco prices!

  15. B 15

    Unbelievable! So Bennett acknowledges that financial stress causes domestic violence. She also appears to be concerned about child abuse. Is she incapable of seeing the obvious cause and effect of her benefit changes on children? Parents under the constant grinding stress of poverty cannot be as caring and nurturing as parents not under stress. And for those prone to violence, stress is the trigger. Sanctions and forcing sole parents into work plus the tightening of invalids and sickness benefits, requiring expensive drs visits and tightening up on emergency food grants etc – What does she think the outcome of this will be on children? Forget about smokes. That is the least of the worries of most beneficiaries. Food bills and rent are what need to be paid and these are not covered by the benefit for many families.

  16. Graham 16

    I give up. I don’t see any reason to come to The Standard in search of the left’s balance to the right any more, if this is the sort of rubbish you come out with.

    I don’t think of myself as “left” or “right”; rather I think both the major parties have good policies and bad policies. I tend to read blogs and forums on both sides of the political spectrum, to get some balance. So I might read the comments on Kiwiblog to see what the right-wingers are saying, then I’ll come here for the left-wing balance. Or I’ll start here, then head to Kiwiblog. The theory is I’ll get both points of view presented by (generally) intelligent people.

    But no more. This is yet another nasty, personal attack on someone. Despite all the sniping you make at David Farrar, he tends to write fairly moderately and without too much malice. Sure some of the commentators there can be pretty nasty, but David himself presents a pretty reasonable tone.

    This is just nasty, and I fail to see the need for it. More and more, this site is reading like a teenager’s Facebook site – except most teenagers aren’t quite as full of hate as you are.

    I give up.

    • Scott 16.1

      You obviously think it’s okay for ministers in charge of important portfolios to have difficulty with basic communication. If Bennett can’t string a sentence together then there’s a good chance she’s unable to understand and analyse a lot of the Ministry materials she has to read as part of her job. That’s an issue of basic competence.

      If the sentence in question had appeared in an email to a friend or close colleague I’d be less concerned. But this was a letter to someone from a different political party.

  17. jcuknz 17

    As I read the comments following my contribution the thought strikes me that some leftwing writers are getting desparate without adequate leadership and policy to promote, and are loosing it. First I read about Philu’s way over the top comments which got him banned from Kiwiblog and it does seem Marty and others are going in that direction, though pretty mildly in comparison. I feel sorry for and that Philu ‘broke out’ becuase he did have to put up with some horrible abuse at KB, but fortunately, why I appreciate this blog, that is little present here.

    • uke 17.1

      There is no way Goff or any serious Left politician would ever comment on the “issue” of PB’s speech style.

      It is way too trivial and would make them look childish.

      Concentrate on what she is DOING: the message there is absolutely crystal clear.

    • lprent 17.2

      Abuse is a right restricted to moderators. I’m known to go completely unreasonable and vitriolic if I’m given sufficient cause in my wee [notes].

      We do like robust debate though.

  18. Emp 18

    Haha classic. Not paula but you Marty. This is a classic example of why Labour are the real snobs. Good luck trying to win back the west by telling voters they don’t speak perfectly.

    Labour hates it when a maori single mother gets ahead. Paula’s a great MP and a great minister and she will clean your labour clocks next year.

    [lprent: N: it isn’t how she speaks, it is how she writes that is the issue. The question is if that same confused comprehension also applies to the written materials that she has to read as part of her portfolio. If her comprehension is as vague as her writing, then it goes a long way to explaining her poor decision making evident over the last 18 months.

    BTW: Why are you back here? ]

    • Emp 18.1

      PRENT if you labour hacks stopped going around saying “vote for us we’re smarter than you” and instead said “vote for us we share your values and ambitions” you would get more votes. Instead you socialists are so arrogant and think people are impressed. It proves the opposite of what you’re saying. You’re not smarter than voters, you’re not smarter than bennett. She was smart enough to wipe your stupid labour faces last time and she will do it again as long as you patronise her. Wanna know why maori chucked you bozos out? Because you EXPECT their votes and then abuse them when they don’t vote for you. Spend more time getting to know the voters and treat them with respect. Otherwise you’re just another fucking socialist loser deluding yourselves that you’re better than everybody.

      [lprent: Yeah right – dream on with your stupid presumptions. You seem to be merging the individual with a party. I’m definitely an individual – not an organization.

      Sure I’m a member of the Labour Party in that I pay the minuscule amount every year. Just as I do with barnardos, greenpeace, various computing groups, etc etc. That hardly makes me the spokesperson for those groups or someone that those groups can be examplified by.

      The most I’ve ever been formally involved in the party is a branch chair and secretary decades ago, and turning up at various conferences and getting terminally bored with remits.
      I’m hardly a ‘hack’ since I’ve never been employed by the NZLP. I do voluntary unpaid work for them because I feel it is important to be involved in political discussions. On the other hand I’ve probably spent more time than you have in phone and door canvassing. Plus of course I like arguing politics with almost everyone at workplaces and in social settings. Of course the NZLP has zero control over this site. In fact I’d often suspect that they’d prefer it was not there based on some of the moaning we’ve had from them over some of our authors posts.

      However I find it pointless discussing politics with you. You just don’t have much to say that is of much relevance – probably because you come across as a complete dickhead with opinions that you can’t argue. That shows in your comments under various identities, including the one above.

      I wouldn’t disagree that I’m arrogant. But that is just my nature – just the same as it appears that it is Paula’s nature to be terminally sloppy, and yours as being pig-ignorant. Learn to live with your deficiencies and mine. It is rather hard to see how you jump from that to assuming that the other members of the NZLP are the same. But I suppose it is just another example of your moronic thought processes….. ]

      • Emp 18.1.1

        There you go again PRENT pretending you’re smarter than everybody just like that other labour party hack MG. Well if you’re so smart how come you can understand the hopes and ambitions of voters in west auckland? Why is Paula so popular and your lovely Labour Party leader goof on 3%? Because voters rejected you because you’re too arrogant to govern in a democracy. Secretly you socialist hacks aren’t democrats at all because you hate the idea that ordinary people go out and cast their votes. You don’t trust people to form an honest opinion about their future so you want to try and make decisions for them. Have fun in opposition sucker!

        • lprent

          Well for a starter I don’t live in West Auckland and have never lived there. I’ve lived in Mt Albert, Auckland Central, Mt Eden, Onehunga, Manurewa, Taupo, Hamilton East, Rangitikei, Epsom, Birkenhead, and Dunedin North electorates at various times. But you’re correct, I’ve never lived in West Auckland (and have no real desire to do so).

          But if you also notice, I haven’t ever commented on Paula as an electorate MP. I have no idea how well she represents Westies. If you’re one then I’d suggest that she represents you quite well.

          I’ve commented on her capabilities as a Minister acting on behalf of the whole country. I suspect the distinctions of that point may be lost on you..

          Secondly, I’ve never stood for office. So consequently the voters have never been in a position to ‘reject’ me.

          You do realize how much of a jerk-off these types of moronic presumptions make you look – don’t you? Did you bother to read my note before you wrote that reply? If you had you might have realized the point that I was making. But it appears that your level of comprehension is even lower than Paulas appears to be…..

          • Carol

            Just a nit-piccie little point. Bennett is MP for Waitakere and not for the whole of west Auckland, or even the whole of Waitakere City. I live in Waitakere City & thus west Auckland, and David Cunliffe is my MP.

            • lprent

              Yeah, I was casting the brush a bit wide in the hopes that ’emp’ would be able to understand it if it was a done without much subtlety….. He does seem a bit oblivious to subtle points.

              I’ve only ever worked in New Lynn, but it is rather different to Waitakere from what I’ve seen.

              • Carol

                Well Waitakere is quite a diverse area. I’m not too clear on what Bennett’s constituency is like. But New Lynn electorate is also a diverse area. New Lynn centre is quite blue collar, as is a lot of Chris Carter’s constituency in Te Atatu. There are some “real westies” in those areas, and they seem to have chosen a Labour MP/s.

                I’m actually not so clear about what is different about the Waitakere electorate that they chose Bennett.

                • Emp

                  People voted for bennett because she listens to them and talks to them straight, doesn’t bullshit and doesn’t look down on them. She’s honest and hard working and inspirational, not like whatshername who was never going to be in cabinet.

                  • B

                    Paula won Waitakere by a TINY margin. I live out west and can tell you most of those who didn’t vote for her think she is an embarrassment.

      • Maggie 18.1.2

        National really treats voters with respect by telling them: “Vote for us, we believe what you believe? What’s that, you don’t believe ANYTHING? Well, that’s ok, neither do we…..”

  19. Mark 19

    The problem this post highlights is , how most politicians speak like they write.
    Which is why they sound wooden and false.
    Goff is a good example . When he speaks you wonder where the autocue is

  20. Maggie 20

    Paula joined the Nats simply because she once worked for a National MP. Thank God it wasn’t a Labour one…..

  21. Anne 21

    Interesting hypothesis Maggie.
    But I don’t think she would have made it through the selection process. Labour activists are rather more intelligent and discerning than their National counterparts. 😉

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