Paula Bennett gets owned by Phil Twyford in question time

Written By: - Date published: 4:35 pm, July 27th, 2017 - 22 comments
Categories: housing, labour, national, paula bennett, phil twyford, same old national, the praiseworthy and the pitiful, you couldn't make this shit up, youtube - Tags: ,


Today in Parliament Paula Bennett was shown up big time by Phil Twyford who asked her a series of questions about the housing crisis.

It was almost too painful to watch, almost.

And it showed how badly this Government is handling the issue.

It started off with Twyford asking Bennett to confirm that as of 30 June the Government has delivered only 323 of the additional 1,400 emergency beds that were promised at the start of November last year.

Her answer involved providing different statistics but essentially claiming that the Government had met its total.

Then Twyford asked her to confirm that the Government had budgeted $2 million for emergency special needs grants to put people up in motels but spent $8 million in the first quarter, $9 million in the second quarter, $13 million in the third quarter, and at current rates would spend $50 million over the year. Wow. That is a real blow out. And the crazy thing is that there are no new beds created. The Government is essentially paying money to retain existing beds for

Bennett’s response was to put it mildly nonsensical.

As was said about June last year—and, actually, by the member’s party itself—it was quite distressed that there were people who were going into motels, which had been happening, by the way, for decades in emergency situations and those beneficiaries themselves were expected to pick up the bill, yeah? So we did do something about it. We are picking up the bill for those who go into those motels. Because we were the first Government to actually do something about people who needed emergency places, we did not know how much it would cost in total, but we are picking up the bill for those who are most disadvantaged.

Call me stupid but I don’t think there ever has been a time where the mass use of motels to house the homeless has ever been necessary.

Twyford then laid a trap. He asked Bennett to confirm that when the Government came into office in 2008, it owned 69,173 State houses and it now owns 64,068 which is a reduction of more than 5,000.

Bennett replied by talking about how social housing community provided beds have increased.

Twyford then asked:

Will she confirm that according to the Ministry of Social Development’s latest quarterly report, there are only 66,068 social houses, including those provided by community providers, which is some 3,000 fewer than the number of State houses when her Government came to office?

I am not sure where Twyford’s figure came from as the report indicates that there are 66,332 social houses, although the principle is still the same.  And of those 1,794 were vacant.

Bennett’s response was again nonsensical, claiming there were more social houses but then conceding that she did not have the figures. She also talked about the Tamaki Regeneration project which is really odd because as far as I am aware not one house has been completed there.

It got worse. Twyford then asked:

Will she confirm that her briefing as the incoming Minister said that the Government has, since 2008, taken 1.8 billion out of Housing New Zealand in dividends, tax, and interest payments?

The figures are from page 41 of this document.

Bennett replied by talking about how the Government is putting billions into social housing through capital spend and income related rents. She clearly does not get it though. At a time when all indications are going backward the Government is treating the Housing Corporation as a cash cow AND it is reducing the number of social houses available.

Question time then descended into pathos.

Twyford asked:

Why will she not admit that she is spending $140,000 a day putting homeless people up in motels because her Government has sold off so much State housing, has failed to build enough new ones, and has allowed the housing crisis to get totally out of control?

Bennett’s response was to talk about how the Government had housed two, yes you read that right, two people with long term housing needs.

Hon PAULA BENNETT: I know that that member would like to pretend that we have only had homelessness in the last few years, but, actually, just this week we look at the gentleman who is on the streets and says he has been there for 26 years—which, by the way, was through your Government’s time as well—and, unfortunately, he thinks he will be there a lot less. He is a man who has now got a home but was homeless for three decades. I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. I think I am being quite generous in giving my answers, and I would appreciate it if I could at least do that without being constantly—

Mr SPEAKER: Order! [Interruption] Order! That is not an unreasonable request. There is one particular person, who should know better, who continues to interject at a very loud level. If the member Phil Twyford is going to take the opportunity to ask a supplementary question, I think his own colleagues owe him the decency of allowing at least Phil Twyford to hear the answer.

Hon PAULA BENNETT: As I was saying, we have a man who has actually been, unfortunately, homeless for three decades but has now found a house under this Government. We also have another man who has been homeless for 33 years but, thanks to the help of this Government, now has a home. The reality is that we have had to pick up those who were left behind under a Labour Government many years ago.

Watch it here for a full sense of how bad Bennett’s response was.

At a time when we have the most appalling housing crisis imaginable and potentially 40,000 homeless we have a Minister claiming credit for housing two, yes two, people and trying to blame a Labour Government 30 years ago for one of them.

This Government is out of touch, out of ideas and totally lacking in compassion.

Time to change the Government.

22 comments on “Paula Bennett gets owned by Phil Twyford in question time”

  1. Agora 1

    What is a girl in the ruling nationalist party to do – tell the truth ? Nationalism is still the last refuge of the scoundrel.

  2. Sabine 2

    really can we all stop saying that she ‘ welfare queen extraordinaire’ does not get it.

    National does not want to govern.

    National wants to privatise and make money.

    Selling statehouses and such is what needs to be done in order to make money.

    By removing the state to help vulnerable people into houses and pay rent to the government for these houses, people are now forced to either go into private rentals they can’t afford or end up in hotels that they equally can’t afford.

    The ‘nationals – can’t be fucked and has no shame government’ happily doles out ‘taxpayers’ fund to prop up hotels and private landlords with their high rent claims.

    Bingo, state housing is gone, private businesses get tax payers funds for no return (and no housing people in hotels is not a good return on investment) and the national party has made its owners happy.

    the National party is a party for business and only business. it never was a party for the people.

    and Mrs. bennett should she want to continue her $950 dollar shoe collection knows which arse to kiss and which boot to lick. She knows full well who owns her.

    • Chch_chiquita 2.1

      Please, can we also stop this “National party is a party for business” as well. Because as a small business owner, the National party is doing F all to help my business. My business need people that are paid properly so they will have the money to spend, and it needs commercial property costs to go down so my overhead will stop getting more and more expansive every year. I know the issue of commercial property is not as stressful as the residential property problem, but small businesses are struggling as well due to these costs, and the building banking in commercial is just as big an issue for small businesses.

      • Sabine 2.1.1

        sorry let me rephrase this

        a party for big business, small business needn’t apply. you are just someone to pay the bills that big business doesn’t . in fact small business owners are just glorified drones in their eyes.

        sigend. fellow small business owner.

      • Sandy 2.1.2

        Who owns the property you rent for your business?

  3. Wensleydale 3

    This must be the most awkward, embarrassing and soul-destroying part of being a politician — and a Tory politician especially. Having to continually lie about things, all the while knowing you’re lying about them, and knowing that the opposition and members of the public (the few who are awake and interested) are wholly aware you’re lying about them too. Then you have to go home at the end of the day, awash in shame (presupposing you’re capable of feeling shame), and look yourself and your family in the eye. The level of self-loathing must be mind-numbing. And to do this day-in day-out must take a herculean constitution.

    Either that, or the money’s just really, really good.

  4. Paula – you deserve to be on the billboards at Bill’s side.

  5. Ad 5

    Time to change the Government.

  6. greywarshark 6

    Could someone tell me the gent on the right of the image? And also who is pollie behind her?

  7. Grafton Gully 7

    The men Bennett talks about have been homeless for 30 odd years, so they are probably men who prefer to live without a home. A New Zealand tradition I admire. Rural and small time swaggers and con artists and the blokes who spent the night under Grafton Bridge with their newspaper blankets and Tatts tickets glued to the concrete. Bless their memory. Bless them, bless them !

  8. Why do we put up with governance that believes in non governance ?

    Why do we pay these people salary’s ?

    How do we tolerate Liberalism’s small / governance ideology ?

    Why do we allow these people to continually con us ?

    Why is Paula Bennett even in government ?

    Why does this government not fear the people ?

    Full Metal Jacket Opening Scene – YouTube

    • Red 8.1

      Q Why do we put up with it, A the alternative is simply not bearable and life ain’t that bad unless you are regressive left, and a folllowers of neo miserablism This cohort of voters represent at best 10pc of voting public, simple really

  9. JustMe 9

    Not too long ago Bill English, when Finance Minister, was ‘absolutely certain NZ cannot afford 6 months paid parental leave…’. Another time he said that whatever comes from the TPPA is ‘just guesswork’.

    It certainly does look like this govenment applies alot of ‘guesswork’ and very little(if any)real attention to what is going on in NZ.

    Instead it looks like this government views the NZ taxpayers as the ambulance at the bottom of the cliff to bail them(National)out of such matters like buying an apartment in New York for ONE person, buying a mansion in Hawaii for again ONE person(and his wife). About 34 Beemers with bum warming seats. Bribing an already wealthy Saudi businessman so he doesn’t ‘sue NZ’. The list goes on.

    This government has failed the people of NZ.

    Still it’s funny to see that every time a National Party MP is caught in a corner he/she MUST always resort to typical National Party propaganda as it’s the ONLY way to explain away things. He/She will try to throw blame back upon others because they just don’t know how to handle a situation that is now well out of control eg the housing crisis. And so blaming a previous government over the last 33 years is the best Paula Bennett can do because she just cannot think of the fact she is now in 2017 and being held accountable for the actions/inactions of the political party and government she is a MP of.

    I do wonder how many times the lady from Taupo has offered say a Mattress to a homeless person? Probably never. Well most certainly not since she became an MP.

  10. newsense 10

    Good work Mr Twyford.

    Did this lead the 6pm news or get as far as morning report?

  11. newsense 11

    Imagine if a Labour Deputy PM was as incompetent as Paula Bennett. They would be so hounded and ridiculed by the press. The country doesn’t like her by and large.

  12. Delia 12

    Labour has its problems, but it does not make up rubbish on the hoof.

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