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Paula Bennett, Climate Change Minister?

Written By: - Date published: 8:27 am, December 8th, 2015 - 68 comments
Categories: climate change, disaster, Environment, global warming, john key, national, national/act government, paula bennett, Politics, same old national, science - Tags:

So Paula Bennett is now Minister in charge of Climate Change issues.

Like everyone else I thought Simon Bridges would be given this very important portfolio. After all he is Minister for Transport and Energy and apart from agriculture these are the sectors where issues of climate change are most relevant. The Government does not want farming to worry about the future devastation of the world’s environment so the other Minister with a deep interest in the subject, Nathan Guy who is Minister for Primary Industries, was not going to be troubled with this issue.

But in a surprise move Paula Bennett has been appointed Minister in charge of climate change. My first response was “what the”. This was my second and third response too.

The rationale according to Jane Patterson is that Key thought that Bridges being Minister for Climate Change would involve him being in a conflict situation in that he has to do such things as grant permits for deep sea oil drilling and it would be awkward for him to then attend International Conferences.  I guess it would but only if you accept that allowing deep sea oil drilling is a given and will and should continue.  Bridges will be Associate Minister of Climate Change.

Bennett was asked by Patterson if she had any experience in the area of climate change and she said “no, none at all”.

As to her qualifications she has a degree in Social Policy from Albany University.  She has worked as a receptionist, an electorate secretary, and a middle management recruitment consultant before becoming a Member of Parliament.

I had a search through her parliamentary speeches.  The only mention of “science” in her speeches were either “social science” or variations of “it is not rocket science”.  “Climate change” and “greenhouse gas” do not appear in any of her speeches.  On the off chance I searched for “anthropogenic” and as expected it did not appear.

Bennett’s previous portfolios have included Minister in charge of beneficiary bashing and releasing private details of Government critics, terrorising local government and selling off state housing.  She has not shown the slightest inclination of being involved in any scientific issue or environmental issue for that matter.

You would think that a basic grounding and/or an interest in the science would be a prerequisite for someone to hold the Climate Change role. At least if the minister was actually expected to achieve something.

And what Twitter thinks …


68 comments on “Paula Bennett, Climate Change Minister? ”

  1. dv 1

    Minister in charge of IGNORING climate change.

    • mickysavage 1.1

      Or is that Minister FOR climate change?

      • Bill 1.1.2

        Of and for? Hmm. I’d punt whenever she walks into a room the atmosphere changes kinda straight away. Maybe we just need to send her to the poles to introduce a bit of coldness to proceedings? Send Collins along too for that extra boost of iciness?

        Y’know, now that I think about it, I’m reckoning National are onto it!

        • AmaKiwi

          Jacinda Ardern is shadow attorney general, with an AB in communications and ZERO legal experience. David Cunliffe and David Parker, with extensive finance experience, are passed over to give finance to Grant Robertson, who has none.
          Ann Tolley was minister of un-education despite having no university degree.

          I am sure all of you can give numerous other examples.

          Instead of a twenty-first century meritocracy we have a nineteenth century elected dictatorship of incompetents.

          A curse on both your houses. You should be ashamed of yourselves.

  2. Sabine 2

    Well i guess its as good a ‘perk’ as any.
    She has nothing do to, is not expected to do anything, heavens forbid she’d do anything as clearly the current National Government does not want to do anything on climate change. But she gets to travel a lot overseas to nice places and gets to stay in nice hotels, and you and me Schmuck DumbArse TaxPayer will make sure her first class ticket gets paid, cause she clearly has not met a government benefit she does not like and of course she would never ever refuse a benefit she is entitled too.

    • Ffloyd 2.1

      Thank you Sabine. Exactly what I was fecking thinking. Thought a few other things well but they would have been unprintable and potentially open to a libel case. What a bunch of feckers!!

    • Kiwiri 2.2

      ” you and me Schmuck DumbArse TaxPayer will make sure her first class ticket gets paid”

      Any airpoints accummulated as a result of travelling on government work must also be applied back into government work, and not be used for personal, holiday or family purposes!

  3. One Two 3

    No human being is qualified to be a member of parliament, let alone a minister or prime minister. This is beyond what any human being is qualified to be responsible for

    Expecting that the system, which foists such unqualified and inept human beings onto the global populace will magically provide offer up a functioning solution, is deluded

    To get to the correct answers, first one must know the appropriate questions to ask

    • Bill 3.1

      Aye, One Two, but in the meantime it’s what we’re stuck with. I agree with you it’s always going to be pretty bad in terms of what it delivers, but does it have to be this bad?

      • One Two 3.1.1

        Yes Bill, it does “have to be this bad” , because ‘we’ let it

        It is going to get significantly worse, and will continue to do so until the country, and the world put a stop to it. Failing to put a stop to it, well, I believe from your comments that you have a good grasp on where its going to end up

        Will ‘we’ hit rock bottom and enter recovery, or will ‘we’ flat-line

        Only one of those two outcomes can eventuate

        • weka

          “because ‘we’ let it”

          I tend to agree. The middle class on the left in NZ is good at naming the problems and organising within its comfort zone, but it still is largely unwilling to give up its privileges to make actual change happen. So, yep, this is happening in our time with our passive assent.

      • AmaKiwi 3.1.2

        No, it doesn’t have to be this bad.

        We, the people, can speak out. We can demand better.

    • Richard@Down South 3.2

      Canada 2015:
      Minister of Health is a Doctor
      Minister of Transport is an Astronaut
      Minister of National Defense is a Sikh Veteran
      Minister of Youth is under the age of 45
      Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food is a former farmer
      Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness was a scout
      Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development was a Financial Analyst
      Minister of Finance was a successful businessman
      Minister of Justice was a crown prosecutor
      Minister of Sport, and Persons with Disabilities is a visually impaired Paralympian
      Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, and Canadian Coastguard is Inuit
      Minister of Science is a medial geographer with a PhD

      IMO, we could do better (whether the government is left leaning or right)

      • Lara 3.2.1


        Now THAT’S how to do it.

        You show us all up Canada! Wow.

        Makes NZ’s government look pretty embarrassing actually.

      • acrophobic 3.2.2

        Canada 2015:
        If you disagree with the new PM on a certain ‘conscience’ issue, you will not be a candidate in his party.

      • Robert Atack 3.2.3

        But lets keep the unprofitable, but oh so polluting Tar Sands going, who is subsidizing this massive loss?

        • Richard@Down South

          The Canadian Govt certainly isn’t ‘all good’, many of their policies are definitely not what I would call positive… but my point was that there is room for improvement in New Zealand for getting people into Parliament who have relevant experience for portfolios

      • AmaKiwi 3.2.4



  4. savenz 4

    I guess after Key being laughed out of Paris and being named Fossil of the day, Paula is a distraction from John Key’s disastrous performance and making her the joke, instead of being serious about a serious issue of climate change.

    He might pull the wool and control the MSM in NZ but internationally the truth is coming out, NZ’s once world renowned image of being a leader of the environment has been irradiated internationally.

    He takes the heat off by appointing Bennet.

    But the heat should be back where it is, John Key and Tim Groser.

    And to the solutions that need to be addressed.

  5. shorts 5

    if this government doesn’t believe in climate change as they have said so many times… why the need for a minister – seems like just an excuse to pay someone more from our taxes

    in short – we are all doomed

    • Manuka AOR 5.1

      “why the need for a minister”

      To hold climate activists at bay?
      … To minimise their effectiveness?
      To protect oil rigs, frackers and mining officials from protestors?
      To ward off legal suits?
      To keep the wider public uninformed?
      To prevent activists endangering the beloved TPP (one level to be signed here in NZ in January)

      All of the above and more – She will be busy…

  6. Smilin 6

    Upping her profile with the current international activity, ratings etc after all she is Keys no1 protege in the leadership stakes
    Knowing anything significant about what needs to be done about climate change is the last thing Natcorp wants to address after Keys bombed speech at the conference
    Ignorance of bliss

    • David Farrar this morning on Morning Report (about 4min20s into this audio) argued that giving Bennett Climate Change could actually prep her for a leadership role.

      His reasoning was that a Prime Minister in waiting needs to be near or in a major portfolio such as Foreign Affairs and so this is ‘testing her out’ and helping her ‘spread her wings’ in a more internationally focused role.

      Climate Change has an international orientation which would allow her to slip, relatively easily, into Foreign Affairs at some point when McCully moves out (apparently he is ill, according to Bill Ralston earlier on Morning Report). Hey presto, she has the gravitas to move into the top position some day.

      If he’s correct then it seems that Key has made a Cabinet appointment on the basis of grooming someone for leadership – and providing a stepping stone – rather than on merit or suitability to the tasks involved in the portfolio.

      • Anne 6.1.1

        it seems that Key has made a Cabinet appointment on the basis of grooming someone for leadership – and providing a stepping stone – rather than on merit or suitability to the tasks involved in the portfolio.

        I am reminded of the oft quoted meme that Winston Peters learnt his M.O. at the knees of Rob Muldoon. There’s no doubt Basher Bennett is learning hers at the Key knees. So, should it succeed, we can expect a continuation of shallow, manipulative pathological lying with a few drops of pure spite thrown in for good measure? We already know Madam is capable of the latter – and I reference her behaviour towards Carmel Sepolini during the 2011 election campaign in the old seat of Waitakere, as well as the bashing of the beneficiaries who dared to criticise her.

      • AmaKiwi 6.1.2

        Puddleglum +1

        Image replaces competence as the primary qualification to get elected.

  7. Macro 7

    wadda ya mean? Paula has it sorted! She’ll hire Paula Rebstock – she is good at making cuts seem like a serving of Chocolate Gateaux with cream and a double latte – and it’ll only cost $10,000 a day!

  8. Anno1701 8

    couldnt make it up could you….

    all the hot air the woman spouts is surely accelerating polar melt…..

  9. slumbergod 9

    Way to go Paula. Now you can help fuel global warming and at the same time justify the war on the poor by saying there is no need for “warm” homes any more.

  10. Tracey 10

    I don’t agree that Minister’s need to have some background,a s such, in a particular area, provided they have the ability to learn.

    Key is Minister of Tourism. Only qualification is he has been a tourist alot in his life.

    Collins former Tax Lawyer who made money helping people arrange affaurs to reduce their tax = police, justice, corrections 🙄

    And so on…

    • Sacha 10.1

      Wouldn’t really hold Collins up as a success in any regard. She must have been a nightmare to manage when Chauvel was her boss.

    • And those that are qualified are not necessarily the best. Nick Smith is no fool – he has a PhD in civil engineering and knows the Resource Management Act well, but at the same time he has displayed what I think could be called deliberate ignorance of how resource consents work, and would know very well the pressure being put on our freshwater resources by dairy farming.

      • Tracey 10.2.1

        “Before entering parliament, he worked as an engineer for the Rangiora County Council, and as director of his family construction company. He also served on the Rangiora District Council, unsuccessfully standing while still at secondary school in 1983, and successfully standing again in 1986 aged 21”

        He is essentially anothe rcareer politician… which, apparently, is only a bad thing if you are in a party other than the National Party…

    • Lara 10.3

      I really do think that in the area of climate change having some science background is enormously beneficial.

      The ability to understand the basic science behind it is important. There’s a helluva lot of scientific illiteracy in NZ. We don’t need a scientifically illiterate idiot in charge of our preparations (or lack of) for climate change.

      As the level of formal scientific training and learning increases those people tend to have a higher rate of accepting the science of climate change. Simply because they understand it better.

      • Tracey 10.3.1

        I believe our MPs are advocates, not experts per se. Most important to me is their ability to listen, to read, to understand, to critically think.

        One of the drawbacks to having someone with, say, a PhD in forestry, being Minister of Forestry is that their PhD is usuallly pretty narrow and they can be as beholden to a particular world view of forestry… sometimes knowing less, and having to read all sides gives you a better position from which to advocate.

        Just my 2 cents

    • emergency mike 10.4

      I’ll admit that Paula Bennett was probably a not bad receptionist. If only she had stuck to that calling.

      Come to think of it, what does a receptionist do? They keep people waiting, allow people to enter, or get rid of people as desired by their employer. She’s the climate change receptionist. Damn Key, you evil genius.

    • Colonial Viper 10.5

      I don’t agree that Minister’s need to have some background,a s such, in a particular area, provided they have the ability to learn.

      This would have once been true, when the NZ public service was burgeoning with expertise and experience, and able to present neutral advice in the interests of NZ.

      • AmaKiwi 10.5.1

        “I don’t agree that Minister’s need to have some background, as such, in a particular area, provided they have the ability to learn.”

        The stupidity of this comment leaves me speechless.

  11. op-amp 11

    I see the appointment of thug as ignorant as “Paula ‘gravy-train’ Bennett to the most sensitive and important portfolio in government as a symptom, rather than a cause.

    It’s clear after thirty+ years of terrible governance, where decision after decision was taken against the majority of the populations’ interests by both Labour and National, that capitalism is too fragile for any real change to be contemplated, let alone executed.

    There will never be an adequate government response to climate change. To do so would destroy the ability of the economic system to keep delivering tangible rewards to it’s owners. Yes, sea levels will rise. Alarmingly so. But how could NZ’s farmer and landlord culture afford to build new towns above the rising waters?
    It won’t happen.

    Even basic things like vehicle emmissions go unregulated. Most garages don’t even possess a 3-gas analyser or somebody trained to use it. Successive governments have allowed the the importation of Japan’s WOF failures as a cheap solution to the lack of public transport. These bombs are driven on our roads in any old state becuase the alternative is to load $2-3000 per car, per year onto vehicle ownership costs, which would be a spur to wage growth. The CTU wrote a position paper on the topic years ago.

    Perhaps one day there will be desperate calls for action by the Nats when rich farmers find themselves driven into bankruptcy by endless drought or flooding, but you can bet the solutions posed will be about “taking the cars of those loafing townies”, rather than dealing with agricultural methane emissions.

    Of course we should all do what we can to reduce our own carbon footprint. But to get any meaningful government action will take direct action by large numbers of people. The recent marches were encouraging. People are going to have to get really frightened and then really angry….

  12. BLiP 12

    Bennett was asked by Patterson if she had any experience in the area of climate change and she said “no, none at all”.

    That makes her perfectly qualified to carry on with National Ltd™’s climate change policies.

  13. Paula Bennett has more than just sea level changes to worry about as Climate Change Minister. She also has the acidification of the oceans from all the carbon entering it – remember the oceans hold about a quarter of the worlds carbon emissions – and most disturbingly the huge loss of marine life that will go with that acidification. We are talking about creatures with exoskeleton having trouble forming it. Those with shells like paua, will have trouble calcifying. The coral reefs will start to collapse because they rely on the ability to calcify.

    We are talking about marine catastrophe, where there will be only one culprit. Man.

  14. Tautuhi 14

    Don’y worry she will learn as she goes along just like Key and Collins it is all an adventure, reminds me of Alice in Wonderland.

  15. greywarshark 15

    Silly! Poorer Benefit is just the person for the job – she is a master at changing the climate of anything.

    Feeling happy, she’ll make you unhappy. Feeling comfortable, she’ll make you uncomfortable. Feeling depressed…er. Well two out of three anyway. Maybe she could be used as a totem to bring rain. But it would be awkward, because that would only work when you didn’t want the rain. Still you can’t have everything she would say cheerfully. Pour me some more of the good juice.

  16. Chris 16

    Putting an arrogant dim-witted bully with bullshit self-assuredness into any cabinet position shows exactly what they’ve got planned for the portfolio.

    • AmaKiwi 16.1

      And what they’ve got planned for the country.

      Paula will turn to the experts for advice: Exxon Mobil, the highway lobby, fart farmers, etc. Her advantage in knowing nothing now is that she can get advice from all the right people . . . very right people.

    • greywarshark 16.2

      For the Cabinet acshually. Looking for aspersashunal good looking young people with good teeth that can be moulded in the perfect model of a right wing mercenary. (Remind you of anybody.)

      Don’t let any jihad extremists into NZ, they might go away with all our methodology, and start slipping in for psychological training camps from our politicians!

  17. Bob 17

    Mickeysavage, lets run the same rule over the Labour shadow cabinet choice shall we:

    Megan Woods

    MP for Wigram
    Spokesperson for Canterbury Issues
    Spokesperson on Climate Change
    Associate Spokesperson for Trade and Export Growth

    Climate change given to an MP ranked 10 on the Labour list (actually she was ranked 13th when she was first given the portfolio), not exactly given to a heavy hitter in the party then was it.
    Megan Woods isn’t the shadow cabinet spokesperson for Transport or Energy or Primary Industries…didn’t see you mention this as an issue when the Labour Shadow Cabinet was announced.

    As to her qualifications PhD in New Zealand History from the University of Canterbury, Business Manager at Plant & Food Research, Community Board Member for Spreydon-Heathcote. That doesn’t exactly scream Climate Change Spokesperson does it?

    This does seem like a bit of a beat-up when BA in Political Science graduate Grant Robertson is Labours Finance and Employment Spokesperson, BA in Political Studies Graduate Phil Twyford gets Housing, Transport, Building and Construction, BCS graduate Jacinda Adern gets Justice, Arts Culture and Heritage, Children and Small Business… I could go on.

    • mickysavage 17.1


      Regrettably since the loss of Moana Mackey Labour does not have anyone with a specifically scientific background in the caucus.

      But Megan has a Phd, she is seriously intelligent. And she has interested herself in the subject and given speeches on the subject in the house. And her work experience was with a Crown Scientific Research unit.

      The difference is that Bennett has no relevant experience and her portfolios are totally unrelated. As I said in the post the Minister of Transport and Energy was the most appropriate appointee.

      • Noah 17.1.1

        And in truth Mickey neither does Basher,so why,because she can rant and blether on way the best of the bulshit artists that we find in our society with little knowing and plenty of rant.

        Lets see how she handles our now today released status on the climate friendly scale,we are now second down from China,China and us being lumped in the poorest grade, in the three tiered scale of,Best,Poor,and Worst.Lets hear how she waffles on relentless,without care or knowing, just waffle off numbers collated by others with relish, who she will insult and ridicule if the public turn on her.

    • Manuka AOR 17.2

      Megan’s background in Plant & Food Research is surely relevant, particularly for NZ: http://www.plantandfood.co.nz/page/home/landing-pages/environmental-industry/

      • Colonial Viper 17.2.1

        Like saying the accountant at Plant & Food Research is the go to guy for Climate Change.

  18. Tracey 18

    If climate deniers are both in government and wrong about CC, do nothing, then we are fucked. IF CC proponents are wrong, we get to live to have the deniers be self righteously smug.

    It REALL isn’t so hard.

    • Colonial Viper 18.1

      And what if CC proponents are wrong about the path to take or how severe CC is.

      I think CC is going to be severe and Nz is doing nothing about preparing the country to face 3-5 deg C of temp increases this century.

  19. TeWhareWhero 19

    John Key says that Paula Bennett brings ‘political nous and dexterity’ to the climate change role which, in Keyspeak, means she’s adept at looking like she is doing something while actually doing nothing, and is adroit at avoiding the responsibility for her failures. Just like him.

    • Tc 19.1

      An arrogant bully with a record of using ministerial resources for political advantage so very much a protege of shonkey.

  20. Mike the Savage One 20

    Paula Bennett achieved stuff all with her welfare reforms, apart from putting endless pressures and fear onto the poor jobless, even the sick, disabled and sole parents, now expected to look for work when the youngest child turns 4 (I think), and she will achieve as much in “climate change”.

    That is apart from endless SPIN, great words, slogans and distractions.

    She is likely to come across with comments like: “CO2? I can’t smell any CO2, the air smells goood to me, what is your problem?”

    The sun will shine, she will wear a new one of her many dresses, some chains around her neck (with large stones or jade or whatever), and she will “breeze through” the House of Parliament, telling all, they have and are doing so much already (stuff all), that most electricity in NZ comes from renewables, that science will deliver on methane from cows to be reduced, that NZ is such a smallish place, it would not matter what we do, and “we are on target”, that is to achieve the miniscule CO2 reductions targets the NZ government has chosen itself to reach.

    The appointment of Bennett to that job really proves, that climate change issues have a very low priority for this government, and Bennett will do a “good” job doing stuff all.

    • weka 20.1

      Stand close enough and you can smell the CO2 on her breath.

    • savenz 20.2

      Oh Mike she did oversee the incident when a homeless mentally ill man murdered a WINZ officer trying to get accomodation …

      You know working for NZ – or working to drive the desperate over the edge.

  21. Stuart Munro 21

    They obviously want someone ineffectual – why not Nick Smith or Bill English? Maybe Paula wants to spend more time with her family.

  22. savenz 22

    Lets have a look at how other politicians would tackle climate change…..


    Then have a look at Nationals climate change


    p.s love the DON’T PUT IT ALL AT RISK… Labour and Greens would…. (don’t know if you can sue for slander for that)






    NZ First


  23. Idiocracy Movie Trailer

    Idiocracy is a 2006 comedic film, directed by Mike Judge and starring Luke Wilson and Maya Rudolph.

    The film tells the story of two ordinary people who are taken into a top-secret military hibernation experiment that goes awry, and awaken 500 years in the future. They discover that the world has degenerated into a dystopia where advertising, commercialism, and cultural anti-intellectualism run rampant and dysgenic pressure has resulted in a uniformly stupid human society devoid of individual responsibility or consequences.

  24. Colonial Viper 24

    Let’s see Labour put out a policy to end coal mining and oil exploration in NZ.

  25. Mike the Savage One 25

    Is it perhaps because of the absence of any significant scientific qualifications, and more so the absence of working experience in health and social science, that Paula Bennett as the then Minister, and the government, did not bother getting any evidence reports from their “UK experts”, when they drafted and introduced the last major social security reforms?

    A read of the following OIA information does seem to indicate that not much in the way of evidence reports was received, created and kept (unless some was gotten rid off, as it may have embarrassed them):

    The relevant post with the active links:




    Who needs scientific reports, when all that is needed is to “do things” and “take action”, as Bennett has repeatedly answered to various questions in Parliament.

    The IPCC and researchers will not be needed by Paula in handling her new portfolio.

  26. rich the other 26

    Instant success for Paula , she can put her feet up and relax .
    Up until this year, carbon emissions had been growing by more than 2 per cent annually for a decade. But in 2015, China’s coal consumption dropped alongside a decreased global appetite for oil and natural gas and a rising desire for renewable energy, according to the Earth System Science Data journal paper released on Tuesday.
    Scientific calculations based on these factors from June to October estimate that this year the world’s atmosphere will receive 0.6 per cent less carbon than in 2014.

  27. Takere 27

    You can put lipstick on a pig …… its still a pig!

  28. Srylands 28

    David Parker was Climate Change Minister. He was diligent. He was a lawyer with no science background. Pete Hodgson was a vet. He was also diligent.

    It is worth noting that both Ministers presided over huge increases in emissions. They both came to realise that reducing emissions in New Zealand is expensive and difficult. By 2005 the game was up.

    Nothing much has changed.

    So Paula Bennett is likely to do at least as well as her predecessors.

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