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Paula Bennett now believes in education for solo parents

Written By: - Date published: 9:27 am, June 11th, 2014 - 70 comments
Categories: benefits, budget 2014, labour, national, paula bennett, welfare - Tags:

For the past five years the left has pilloried Paula Bennett for her hypocrisy.  She is something of a poster child for the National Party, someone to persuade the electorate that National is not full of rich white males wanting to increase their control of our society.  What better person to parade than someone who is female, part Maori, and allegedly someone who improved herself through her own efforts.

The claim of hypocrisy is made because Bennett was able to gain a University degree when she was a solo mum, which is fine, but one of the early things she did as Minister was to prevent other solo mums from doing the same after cuts were made to eligibility to the training incentive allowance, a payment which made education for solo parents easier to attain.  The hypocrisy was palpable as was the stupidity of the decision.  Why would you make it harder for solo parents improving themselves and trying to get themselves off the DPB?

This decision has opened her up to continuous attacks for climbing the state provided ladder and then pulling it up after her and then setting fire to it.  It has been part of a theme relied on by Labour to highlight the difference between the parties.

National is moving to dim the difference.  From the Beehive website:

Budget 2014 will make it much easier for sole parents to move off benefit and into full time study announced Steven Joyce, Minister for Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment and Paula Bennett, Minister for Social Development.

The Government is investing between $18 and $24 million over four years to implement three policy changes that will align the student support system for sole parents with the benefit system.

It is estimated the changes will see around 3,000 more sole parents move into fulltime study over the next four years, adding to the 2,400 currently accessing mainstream student support.

From July 2015, sole parents taking up full-time study will receive at least the same level of accommodation support from the student support system as they do with the benefit system.  Currently they may receive up to $165 less per week.

The change is cynical.  It does not return the situation to what it was when National gained office but they can say now that they are improving things.  No doubt they will say that the country could not afford this policy back then but this did not stop National from giving large tax cuts to the already wealthy at the time.

And suddenly Paula is a champion for solo parents receiving education to better themselves.

It makes sense to invest in education for more sole parents.  We know that a sole parent with no qualifications spends on average around 17 years on a benefit at a cost of $230,000 over their lifetime.  That’s compared to a sole parent with a tertiary qualification spending seven and a half years less on benefit, costing $88,000 less over a lifetime.”

If this is the case then why has Paula actively disrupted efforts by solo parents to better themselves during the past five years.  Could it be that National’s internal polling shows that issues relating to poverty and inequality are becoming critically important and they realise that they are especially vulnerable on these issues?

70 comments on “Paula Bennett now believes in education for solo parents ”

  1. Ant 1

    They are pretty cynical. The symbolic “just enough to look good” play seems to be working for them with the electorate, which is kind of sad considering it just glosses over real problems that need attention.

    • Tom Gould 1.1

      “Just enough to look good” only works if their cronies in the MSM write it up that way. Bit like Joyce and his 3 new ICT Grad Schools funded to the tune of $28m … over 4 years … including $11m contingency … so actually about $750,000 for each grad school each year … which hardly pays the rent and power bills … but makes for really cheap headlines to feed the ‘rock star’ narrative that the Tory MSM is so crazy about?

  2. just saying 2

    Tertiary education incurs many extra expenses. Those beneficiaries with good support will be able to make use of this, those who are without the extras, those most hard-up will be far less likely to be able to benefit from the policy.

    Same old, same old.

    • weka 2.1

      I agree, this from Bennett is typical obfuscation

      “It makes sense to invest in education for more sole parents. We know that a sole parent with no qualifications spends on average around 17 years on a benefit at a cost of $230,000 over their lifetime. That’s compared to a sole parent with a tertiary qualification spending seven and a half years less on benefit, costing $88,000 less over a lifetime.”

      That takes no account of the other barriers to education. The problems can only be solved by looking at the whole picture.

    • KJT 2.2

      Take it away, then give a quarter of it back 4 years later, just before the election. National all over.

  3. Awww 3

    She might just mean a change to accommodation supplement(???)
    Right now if you are a single parent on a benefit you get a higher amount of AS than if you were on student allowance.

    However you are still subject to a FT work test on a benefit. Understandably the minions have caused trouble attempting to implement this.

  4. Mary 4

    This speech by Bennett epitomises so much of what she’s about. Jenny Shipley used to perform the same way. Bennett talks as if what the government is doing will make people’s lives better, but what she’s really saying is that government will do nothing and that if people’s lives don’t improve it’s their fault.

    This performance should be compulsory viewing in every politics/sociology/media studies course in the country, even if only to show the ability of one human being to talk so much shit in a limited space of time. It’s hard going getting through all of it but it does make you stronger.

    • ffloyd 4.1

      Couldn’t do it. What a load of bullocks! What’s with the swearing? Who was her audience? Might have misheard but I thought I heard her say ‘invasive’ corrected to ‘innovative’ at one stage. Couldn’t bring myself to go back to check. She has obviously been getting tutoring from key, her “political crush” as she once called him. Lot of verbal garbage about nothing. What was she trying to say? Had to stop listening halfway through.

      • Mary 4.1.1

        It’s hard going, I know, but you’ll be richer for the experience. Think of it as being similar to a anti-nazi activist reading Mein Kampf.

        • Once was Tim 4.1.1.1

          Except that its just hard to warm to feral men or women at times … especially ones that belong to the feral nouveau riche wing of the Natzi parties (growing in number it seems).
          Btw …. I did “sorta” sit through “sorta” three “sorta” quarters of the 1st link, “sorta” skipping through most of the “sorta” repeating herself, and “sorta” repeating the pre-programmed “sorta” mantra, but it just “sorta” became too “sorta painful Eh? ^^^^ ???? squeek!

        • leah 4.1.1.2

          Oh MY GOD.

          • Mary 4.1.1.2.1

            Precisely, and your reaction says that what she does and what it means deserves total deconstruction, critique and attack. It’s easy to dismiss Bennett’s performance as a bit of sick humour, but exposing what her performance stands for is more important than we think. (It’s similar also, I think, to shining truth on to the Key phenomenon – but I digress.)

    • Richard Christie 4.2

      ughh, kinda Ricky Gervais in drag, yeah?

  5. dave 5

    National won’t look at the
    Big picture its to unpleasant for there rose coloured glasses

  6. Molly 6

    Had a unusual knock on the door a few weeks ago, apparently my house had been selected for a survey on – Adult Education. Given that I live rurally – this seemed to be a fairly inefficient method of choosing survey respondents. (I do live in the worst house in a fairly well-heeled area though).

    I asked who the survey was for – NZ government – and it was being conducted to find out what people thought of education on offer for adults. I asked how they were choosing survey respondents, and they said a random selection of every eleven houses, and then a series of questions to get to eligibility. It was completely voluntary – though when I declined I was told that I would receive a $50 koha – and had a very interesting and assertive survey man spend up to ten minutes trying to persuade me to participate. I asked how they would apply this data and conclusions, and they said it would be provided to the government to do with what they will.

    I suggested that a random selection of voluntary (paid) respondents in a high decile area, gives a very flawed view of adult education, and given that the government has access to those very details would prefer that they use their wider stats from their statistical department to help draft policy rather than random questions to people who may never have considered the role of adult education. And given the constant changes that have happened over the past five years to our educational system, I did not want to participate in something that may or may not be used to make it worse.

    I’m guessing those who did participate – indicated a change was necessary. Good on them.

    • bad12 6.1

      Feel free not to answer my little question Molly, but, do you live in a safe National held electorate, safe Labour one, or one that is marginal,

      i am just trying to get an idea of who, i would suggest a private organization being paid from the tax base, are the target of such questions,

      The worry here is this may be a ”novel” means of having the taxpayer cough up the coin to provide the present Government the answers to far more political questions than simply those surrounding adult education,

      What better means of checking out the pulse of the party base,(if the questions are being asked in only National strongholds), than have particular points of past or intended future policy canvassed by other than that which is obviously the political Party,(clever sods if so),

      i cannot really be at all grumpy about the changes intended by Paula, i am pretty sure i heard Her on NationalRadio the other day saying that all that was being done was ensuring that those beneficiaries studying were no worse off financially than those who were not,(the one member of the whanau at present doing so will be chuffed), and of course, ”no worse off” when considered further would make the intricacies of the current Ministers mind as a study in the vein of a comics short guide to madness of interest to those who thrive upon the dissection of such things…

    • Treetop 6.2

      I was staying with a relative when they were selected for the study. I went to the door to check it out to make sure they were not being scammed.

      9,000 participants from NZ are required and it is an international study of 150,000 participants.

      In the area (provincial) I stayed in, every fifth house was selected. When it came to who was eligible there was a gap in the first initial of the christian name and the surname was the same. It had to be the right christian name initial.

      I think the programme used was from Germany.

      A $50 note was given at the end of the survey, I thought that the survey payment would need to be deposited. The survey took over two hours.

      I like your suggestion of who the participants should be.

      • Molly 6.2.1

        Different survey I suspect, this one was from NZ, and the selection criteria went down to a random number that was applied to the adults in the household not the initials of the christian names.

        • Treetop 6.2.1.1

          The questions were on education and employment during the adult years and some general background was asked for e.g. school qualifications.

          • greywarbler 6.2.1.1.1

            And the money. When I was doing surveys of a marketing type, we didn’t offer money. People were asked and one might try to coax them but no money. They weren’t supposed to take longer than say 20 minutes though.

  7. fisiani 7

    As you can see there is a “rolling maul” of good news coming from the government. This rolling maul will continue to spread the good news for the 100 days. The people know that the country is heading in the right direction and the investments in getting people off a lifetime of benefits is plain to see. National is spending money on getting solo mums a decent education and thus a better paid job. Labour is offering cheap cookery classes to the middle class.
    National is building 4 lane highways.
    Labour wants trucks banned from the fast lane.
    90 day chance to prove yourself has been a raging success.
    Labour fought it tooth and nail.
    National are winning hearts and minds and votes across every portfolio.
    Manufactured goods on the rise, terms of trade best in decades, primary produce growing. House price rises slowing. Wages up 3.2%
    This is what the Brighter Future looks like. It will only get better with JK at the helm.

  8. Treetop 8

    I want to see a grah since National became government in 2008 of how many receiving the sole parent benefit are doing tertiary study.

    Will those who take up the study offer be reclassified so the sole parent stats decrease?

    How many sole parents were in teriary education under the last two terms of the Labour government?

  9. xtasy 9

    Hah, I suppose the drive to pressure more sick and disabled into part time work is “saving” WINZ and MSD money, so they can throw back a few morsels to sole parents wishing to study to get better chances to return to work.

    This is just another election year carrot, and by looking closer at it, it does not look that great at all.

    While the media may allow Paula to “window dress” her policies and her own “efforts”, the cold fist of welfare reform is hammering down in other areas. I hear of thousands now being re-assessed, gradually that is, and doctors now finding a high number of them “fit” to do at least 15 or so hours of work a week, persons who were NEVER BEFORE seriously considered to be so for years:

    ‘WORK ABILITY ASSESSMENTS DONE FOR WORK AND INCOME – PARTLY FOLLOWING ACC’s APPROACH: A REVEALING FACT STUDY’

    http://accforum.org/forums/index.php?/topic/16092-work-ability-assessments-done-for-work-and-income-%E2%80%93-partly-following-acc%E2%80%99s-approach-a-revealing-fact-study/

    Also essential material to study is found here:

    http://accforum.org/forums/index.php?/topic/15463-designated-doctors-%e2%80%93-used-by-work-and-income-some-also-used-by-acc/

    Wait until after the election, if the Nats win and get their third term, they will drive all this further, and more ruthlessly as they have done so far. Sadly too few are aware of what is happening, and the silent majority is too busy working and looking after themselves. Beneficiaries have a bad reputation, thanks for many years of bashing and stigmatising, and we can thank the NatACT governments, even the last Labour government, and the oh so “helpful” media for it.

    Stuff you, Paula Bennett, go to fricking hell, where you belong, “my dear”!

    • bad12 9.1

      X, in this life you can only feel stigmatized if you have the slightest belief that the portrayal of those that dish such, for want of a better word, shit out has a shred of veracity…

    • Treetop 9.2

      A bit like leaky homes, when you go to the Supreme Court the smile gets wiped off the Auckland City Council.

      At some point I have minimum two years of litigation against ACC and the DHB and that will be my 15 hours a week, even though I am not being forced to be assessed or trained. I always pulled my weight when I was able to.

      Yes, this is one reason why the government has to change. If using coat tailing does it, then it has to be done.

      • Tracey 9.2.1

        look how long it took til someone could afford to take such a crucial issue to the sc.

        In a proper system such a question as built date vs limitation should be able to be sent straight to the sc, at taxpayers cost for a judicial interpretation.

        • Treetop 9.2.1.1

          And now the fight for the compensation to be paid.

          The best of luck to them.

        • Draco T Bastard 9.2.1.2

          The entire justice system needs to be funded by the government because if some one can’t afford to go to court then we don’t have a justice system, we have a system catering to the rich only.

    • greywarbler 9.3

      xtasy
      I had a suspicion that the medical man Mansel Aylward would be the Brit who was driving people with ME to despair over there with a regime based on the idea that one can become habitually idle after recuperating from illness, and then apathetic and all that is needed is some exercise and cognitive work.

      And indeed it is him over here now and he is peddling his psychological approach everywhere. Brits seem to specialise in allowing certain fervent medical believers, where there is room to insert their prejudices, and an opportunity to save money, to take over the discourse on illness.

  10. geoff 10

    2014 – The year of token socialism from the National party.

    No principles, no morality, no brains, just greed and hunger for power.

    • KJT 10.1

      Just goes to prove that the left is winning the idealogical battle. National has to pretend to be more left wing to keep in power. So they can continue the great NZ, asset strip!

      • geoff 10.1.1

        here’s how i see it….(very broadly)
        In the 70’s and 80’s it became unacceptable to be publicly sexist.
        In the 80’s and 90’s it became unacceptable to be publicly racist.
        In the 90’s and 00’s it became unacceptable to be publicly homophobic.

        Now that, publicly, at least everyone is considered equal (i know i know, there’s still a looong way to go) on those terms, now the target of equality is focusing on economic equality.

        I think it all started in the counter-culture of the 1960’s. Powerful stuff.

    • greywarbler 10.2

      geoff (contd)
      And baubles, and status objects, and comfort, and expensive stylish things, and the latest machinery and technology and everything new except where something is desirably old or rare, which is covered by the category of expensive stylish things.

    • Tiger Mountain 10.3

      There can be a fine line between people reinventing themselves, genuine epiphanies and opportunism.

      When that person is a politician however the change in belief is highly likely to be about–vote for me! With tory politicians the opportun-o-meter rapidly hits 100%.

      Pullyer Benefit did not take long to shed her animal skin prints and leave her West Auckland 9 vote majority behind in her rush to grasp a new electorate. This woman seems to detest beneficiaries and gleefully went along with Paula Rebstocks ‘war on the poor’.

  11. greywarbler 11

    Education is amazing. Paula was bound to learn something one day. All you have to do is to be keen to know new things, and conquer (or conk her) understanding of the material.
    Like Manuel – she can learn – to allow others to learn.

  12. Tracey 12

    Mickey

    What is the comparisson between what paula tooketh away and what she now proposes to giveth back?

  13. NZJester 13

    Nationals new plan seams to be to take most of Labors popular policies and put in a half assed versions of them so they can claim in debates that they are already doing something about them and that those Labour policies are no longer of any importance.
    I just hope Labour is able to point out how these policies put in place by National do not go far enough and are likely to be pulled again as part of a deal with coalitions partners if National wins the election.
    They are trying to claim they are moving to the left to attract votes from left of center with these policies while in the back rooms doing secret deals with the far right. You can bet all these left like policies are being offered up to the extreme right as things they will remove again if those coalition partners wish.

  14. Tracey 14

    Was this in the budget? Am assuming it was otherwise where is the money coming from? If it was in the budget the opposition, and media must have known it was coming.

  15. greywarbler 15

    Nick Smith in Nelson has got some more publicity puckering his lips to a toddler he is holding in his arms while his young attractive blonde mother looks on. Helping teenage mothers with further education has suddenly been found to be a Good Thing. (Was running well with good results since 1994 and possibly before that.)

    Inspiring Kiwi: Susan Baragwanath
    For many Kiwi teens, an unplanned pregnancy can signal the end of formal education. Our Air NZ Holidays Inspiring Kiwi this week is a woman who challenged that discrimination head-on, when she established He Huarahi Tamariki, a school in Wellington for young parents. http://www.hht.school.nz/
    Susan Baragwanath’s school opened in 1994, and moved to several different locations including a disused tavern, before finally constructing a purpose-built premises complete with adjacent daycare facility.

    He Huarahi has helped hundreds of parents over the years – mainly women – to gain their secondary school qualifications while simultaneously supporting them as mothers. One such woman is Helen Woolner, who is currently an MA student at Victoria University majoring in chemistry. TV1 item undated.

    At the end of 2004, after 37 years of teaching, Baragwanath retired from He Huarahi Tamariki.Having built a new school complex in 2003, she left an institution with abundant assets, no debt, $50,000 in a scholarship fund, and $100,000 in the bank.And she can say, “My former students, who had been consigned to the rubbish heap, are now in the New Zealand police, social workers, teachers, nurses, electricians, car mechanics, university students, or working in jobs with prospects.

    http://www.zoominfo.com/p/Susan-Baragwanath/6473423

  16. dimebag russell 16

    paula bennet doesn’t give a hoot about lurning to reed. all she wants to do is grandstand while she hands out patronage. this woman is a fraud and she will go in september. It will be very interesting to watch these tory party hacks who make it back into parliament dealing with being in opposition. Bennet for one wont be able to hack it. I’ll lay money on that.

    • greywarbler 16.1

      I think that Poorer Benefit will be back in parliament. She is a quick learner and we have noticed how good she is at a chameleon act. She is now a model of a perfect major National, and may be disassembled so she can be studied and reverse engineered so they can get more like her.

  17. RedBaronCV 17

    Wow Paula at her most underwhelming. The quick read I had in the MSM suggests this policy is coming in in 2016 – so plenty of time to decide that it won’t be done. Secondly, look at the numbers,
    there used to be around 100,000 single parents on a benefit. So we currently have 2% studying (2000) and it is intended to add another (3000) making 95000 who are not going to have the chance of further study.The whole policy is just in the margin of error not a sea change.
    Lipstick on the pig – those polls must be showing a zero female vote.

  18. felix 18

    Hey! Paula was never a bogan beneficiary!

    She’s a well dressed professional North Shore Girl™ and always has been, mkay?

  19. Mr Oh Well 19

    A letter to Paula Bent It, Parata-Fritata and Keys Fees.

    Dear Paula and co, so you stole my Skoda, forgot that you stole it, then for some reason rummaged around in your man bags giving me back my fluffy dice. I bet you can’t even recall why you gave me back my fluffy dice. Except for some latent subconscious nagging in the back of your tiny widigitless mind that maybe, just maybe you did or were part of some evil empire that steals from people, and you kinda feel a teeny weenie bit guilty (only cause its election year). Your kind of an inverse Robin Hood a Paula Hood et al who steals from the poor, then patronizes them by giving less back than what she stole from them in the first place.

    Bugger off Paula et al, I want my Skoda back (ok its only a Skoda but its better off than not owning one), oh and my fluffy dice. Oh, and stop pretending to be my mate. Everyone use to have been entitled (rich, poor, unemployed) to a good low cost, low debt eduction.

    How come they gave you a Free, yes that right folks free Eisenhower Scholarship to the states, why? (Rhetorical question people)

    Amazing, how people forget, we had an education/university system that use to be relatively cheap and easy to access (for all, even the unemployed). People were not in debt. I wonder where oh where is the money all bleeding to and what the effects of high student loans and who benefits by them.

    Its amazing how under Nationals mind control policies student debt and headlines such as the below are the new normal, you would a thunk, that with that over the years, with all these education, social, and government cuts we would be a super efficient society. Yet still we plunge deeper and deeper into the abyss. Huummmmmmm,

    • Student loans face timebomb, says Labour http://m.bbc.com/news/uk-politics-26705164
    • $1tn student debt crisis crushes home-buying dream http://m.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-26893131
    • Total student loan debt sits at more than $13 billion, and is projected to hit $14b by next year. http://www.stuff.co.nz/manawatu-standard/opinion/9809500/Student-loan-plan-likely-to-miss-target

    You know bloody well even after getting there nice new shinny degree, certificate or whatever, the chances of getting a well paid job in the exact area they studied are, well, not very high. Particularly when you have been poorly educated in the first place.

    So why are students, the poor and middle class funding our chums at the top, just how did this happen again, I forgot, I or did I?
    Recent asset sales: $100 million a year more flowing offshore every year (could have went to the education/university sectors) https://www.greens.org.nz/koa-why
    Student loans

    Isn’t it odd, that we were averaging about $20 billion of debt per year between 1933-2008 (see https://fmacskasy.wordpress.com/tag/2010-tax-cut/).

    This was through WWII and 16 world recessions and never getting above $30 billion.
    http://www.stocktradingtogo.com/2008/07/18/timeline-of-all-recessions-and-world-crises-since-great-depression/ (17 world recessions)

    Now we are spiking toward $60 Billion with National? (see below for the reasons0
    https://fmacskasy.wordpress.com/tag/2010-tax-cut/

    A few reasons why our debt skyrocketed from 2008 onwards…
    1. The Global Financial Crisis, which reduced corporate turnover and export receipts, thereby lowering the company tax take;

    1. Two tax cuts (2009 and 2010) reduced government revenue, thereby necessitatingborrowing more from offshore to make up the difference. In essence, we borrowed from other peoples’ saving to put more money in our (mostly top incomer earners) pockets.
      Using Parliament Library information, the Greens have estimated that this involvedborrowing an extra couple of billion each year.
    2. National could have kept Debt down by investing in job creation. Key’s cycleway project was promised to create 4,500 new jobs – it failed spectacularly.

    Gee National, I wonder what we could have spent that 1 billion dollar yearly tax cut on, education and universities?

    Watch the Documentary: Who Gets The Best Jobs (BBC).

    Bascially, its the top tier families children. Its getting worse in the UK and sure as night will follow day, it will get worse here to.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fSn9KE4ZEl8

    Who Gets the Best Jobs – BBC Documentary 2011

    “Britain is a less equal society than at any time since World War One. In Who Gets the Best Jobs, Richard Bilton investigates access to the professions – and finds that the best jobs are being snapped up by an increasingly small gene pool of privileged, well-connected families.

    Getting a good degree matters more than ever – and those from low income families can no longer easily work their way up from the bottom without the qualifications, contacts and social skills that their more fortunate counterparts make full use of.  Show less

    Britain is a less equal society than at any time since World War One. In Who Gets the Best Jobs, Richard Bilton investigates access to the professions – and finds that the best jobs are being snapped up by an increasingly small gene…

    Yeah, go National, you maybe winners in the PR space where as people have stated that you are getting major PR for sweet FA, but really, can you sleep at night?”

    • greywarbler 19.1

      Basically the neo libs have broken the society they started work on, and have no intention to rebuild it for the people who need it. They are just looting the notable artifacts and structures like Natis stealing art works and treasures to take them away and gloat over them. And we know what Natis thought about the ‘ordinary’ people who weren’t considered art works or up to standard.

  20. hellonearthis 20

    Will Nationals next trick be to reduce GST to the level is was before they increased it, after they had said they would increase GST.
    What a cunning plan, to get elected then cut great scheme only to reinstate them when a close election looms.

  21. Mr Oh Well 21

    Oh, the bit about
    Isn’t it odd, that we were averaging about $20 billion of debt per year between 1933-2008 (see https://fmacskasy.wordpress.com/tag/2010-tax-cut/).

    The 1933 should read 1993…

    So this statement

    This was through WWII and 16 world recessions and never getting above $30 billion.
    http://www.stocktradingtogo.com/2008/07/18/timeline-of-all-recessions-and-world-crises-since-great-depression/ (17 world recessions)

    Now we are spiking toward $60 Billion with National? (see below for the reasons0
    https://fmacskasy.wordpress.com/tag/2010-tax-cut/

    Is complete crap.

    Sorry.

  22. Draco T Bastard 22

    Changing Education Paradigms
    By Sir Ken Robinson

  23. logie97 23

    … was beginning to wonder where the Petulent Bean had got to.
    Currently MP for Waitakere but obviously keen to relocate to Hobsonville.
    Of course she has sorted all the problems of the West out. I remember the
    huge fanfare when she eyeballed some hoonish behaving girls in the
    West City centre, and all her followers thought that was just the ticket.
    “Good on ya Paula,” was the call. “You show them you mean business
    in their own manner. That should learn ’em!”

    Yeah right.

    Westie – who’s a Westie? Not my patch or problem anymore.

  24. NzJackson 24

    Nationals time is up

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