Update2: IrishBill: The facebook email has been released:
Things went really well she wasn’t that scary I dropped the tears a few times and she felt sorry for me wont put me back in the media and get me hurt again and willing to talk settlement. I’ve got a tough choice to make have two days to come up with what I want as a payment I don’t want to sound greedy but its hard to put price on what iv been through
As Danyl points out over at the DimPost this doesn’t look like a joke so much as a breach of a confidential agreement that needed to be passed off as a joke. I only hope Fuller got a decent payment after what was done to her.
[Update: TV3 now admits its ’emails’ were a Facebook exchange between Fuller and a friend and Fuller says she made up about the money. For fuck’s sake, TV3, you can’t run a story based on someone’s Facebook comments. Still, Bennett should not have been meeting with a complainant just before the report is due out. It’s clear she is looking to avoid an embarrassment]
Yesterday I thought I was going to write a piece on the advisers Paula Bennett has appointed to the Welfare Working Group. There’s Peter Saunders, a man who says there is a link between “low average intelligence and low class position” – that people are poor because they are dumb – and that the DPB makes welfare dependence attractive (Saunders is in high company on that belief – “breeding for a business” Key called it). And then there’s ex-ACT President Catherine Issac who wants a “competitive market for sickness, invalid, and unemployment insurance” – profit-seeking parasites taking a slice of the welfare budget.
Or how she has her ministry writing to Kiwis asking them to spy on their neighbours who are getting a benefit. This goes far beyond an invasion of the privacy of people who are entitled to assistance when they fall on hard times. It’s the nasty turning of neighbour on neighbour that reminds us of East Germany, Orwell’s 1984, or Thatcher’s Britain.
But her attempt to bribe Natasha Fuller into silence overrides those issues, for now.
You’ll remember how Natasha Fuller was one of two DPB mums who dared to question why Bennett had canceled a training allowance designed to help DPB mums get off the benefit – an allowance that Bennett herself took advantage of. For their trouble, Bennett released their private benefit information unleashing a torrent of bigotry on these poor women that was so vicious Fuller had to move house and get counseling.
Now, we learn that Bennett had a meeting with Fuller on Wednesday and, according to Fuller, offered her money to drop her complaint with the Privacy Commissioner (which raises questions about why the second DPB mum, Jennifer Johnston, suddenly dropped her complaint after meeting Bennett).
With Palin-esque implausibility, Bennett refuses to confirm or deny meeting with Fuller. [overtaken by new facts as above]