Pickled Paula picked a pair of Peters

Written By: - Date published: 12:13 am, May 6th, 2010 - 56 comments
Categories: welfare - Tags:

So, Paula Bennett appointed this guy Peter Saunders to her Welfare Working Group.

He’s an English guy living in Aussie and tied in with the extreme Right Centre for Independent Studies.

A wannabe fiction author, he penned a xenophobic book called The Versailles Memorandum set in 2046 where Islamo-fascism has taken over Europe and said that “low average intelligence and low class position”. Not, um, not the most stable guy but Bennett appointed him.

Or did she?

When asked about Peter Saunders’ comments, Bennett said she had read his book “Welfare to Work in Practice” and thought his views were worthwhile. But that’s a different Peter Saunders. This Peter Saunders is an expert on welfare issues and is critical of privatisation of social welfare.

See, there’s good Peter Saunders and bad Peter Saunders. Which one did Bennett appoint: the one with the bigoted right-wing views or the one who wrote Welfare to Work – both of which Bennett attributed to the same person?

When asked about this by Catherine Delahunty in the House yesterday, Paula Bennett looked like a stunned mullet. She had no idea which Saunders she had appointed.

Some people are now asking whether Bennett actually ever read the good Saunders’ book. Others are asking if she has actually ever read a book.

To compound the hilarity, Bennett quickly put out a press release titled (seriously!) ‘We got the right man‘ trying to cover her arse, basically saying ‘it’s really confusing’.

Read the press release below and tell me which Saunders she appointed:

Welfare Working Group member Professor Peter Saunders was chosen as an expert in his field to participate in the Group’s examination of the welfare system says Social Development Minister Paula Bennett.

However, he is not the only Peter Saunders in existence.

Question time in the House today saw the matter arise, with a question mark over whether the right Peter Saunders was appointed to the Group.

‘I can assure you, we got the right man,’ says Ms Bennett.

To set the record straight about any confusion there may be over which Peter Saunders has been appointed, it may help to clarify the following.

There are two men called Professor Peter Saunders.

Both studied in England, both were based in Sydney Australia at the same time and both have continued to lecture on social policy and welfare and both have written a number of books on the subject.

‘This clearly creates potential for mistaken identity,’ says Ms Bennett. [see Lyndon Hood’s hilarious take on this]

I think it’s safe to say Bennett doesn’t know which Peter Saunders she appointed.

I suppose it’s lucky that Paula Bennett is only the minute taker at the Henderson Community Board and not a Minister of the Crown in charge of $20 billion of taxpayer money. Oh, wait….

56 comments on “Pickled Paula picked a pair of Peters”

  1. felix 2

    Wayne Mapp’s “Oh you’re fucking joking” look says it all.

  2. eye saw 3

    no no no it’s not that paula bennett it’s the other one,isn’t it.

  3. Ron 4

    Wayne’s look is a classic isn’t it.?
    Nothing in the media yet. They’re probably confused.as well, poor things…

  4. ghostwhowalksnz 5

    There must have been blind panic in Bennetts office last night, so they tried the defence of saying they are twins and arent they cute and cuddly

  5. There is also Peter Saunders the wine critic who I have this recollection of being a National Party candidate for Mangere many years ago.

    Maybe Paula was sharing a couple when she made the decision.

  6. just saying 7

    Which photo is which? Is the ‘left-wing’ or the ‘right-wing’ Peter on the the left above?
    Cause I’ve made my guess (purely on appearances) and I want to know if I’m right (that left is left).

    • toad 7.1

      Correct. It’s that steely-eyed, mean visage that gives the one on the right away.

      • Lew 7.1.1

        You mean the determined, self-reliant, triumphant, exaltative, mocking, heroic visage?



    • Marty G 7.2

      I love that you can tell just from their pics. The good one looks like Santa. The bad one looks like your cousin’s dodgy business partner who’s cooking the books.

      • HitchensFan 7.2.1

        hee hee I picked the Santa guy too! Just confirms a conversation I was having with my partner the other night, that righties fundamentally lack empathy which colours the way they think about everything. And you can tell it from their eyes LOL!

  7. tc 8

    See what happens when kids play with sharp knives and matches

  8. “Pickled Paula”? Whatever could you be suggesting?

  9. Craig Glen Eden 10

    Everything about this woman is a disaster but no surprises in that we have all become accustomed. The speakers ruling however? That was a interesting way to help a sinking Minister!

  10. Lazy Susan 11

    Which is the real Paula?

    Paula 1
    – the struggling solo mum who worked hard to become a member of Cabinet. She feels honoured and humbled to hold this position and is able to empathise with people who struggle. She is delighted that she can use her position to really help better the lot of the less fortunate members of society and make New Zealand a decent and responsible society.

    Paula 2
    – the struggling solo mum who worked hard to become a member of Cabinet. Sitting at the Cabinet table, she feels entitled and priviliged and looks down her nose at the rabble of a society that surrounds her. Now she can really punish those losers who simply just aren’t smart enough to do what she’s done.

  11. Olwyn 12

    Does anyone know which Peter she’s appointed, or will the Welfare Working Group wait with baited breath to see which one shows up?

  12. uke 13

    Reminds of that song:

    Will the real Pete Saunders please stand up, please stand up, please stand up…?

    • freedom 13.1

      i was thinking its more like a telling of ‘ Who’s on first?’ by wayne and schuster

  13. exbrethren 14

    Not smart enough to do what Paula Bennett has done? Paula and smart in the same sentence does not compute.

  14. Craig Glen Eden 15

    This story has got some legs to grow as Owen has pointed out, Its like a trip to the beach with the family, the anticipation ( it will be fun kids).

    I think this could well highlight what this Government will be remembered for, basic mistake after mistake after mistake.

    I wonder how the privacy settlement is coming along?

  15. NickS 16

    And it might just be the lack of coffee talking, but that press release does not make any sense to me what so ever.

    Perhaps Bennett sidelined her media people to write it herself?…

    • Lew 16.1

      Nick, my read on it is: “whichever one we picked is the one we meant to pick”. Sort of like the Gandalf Defence, viz: “A wizard is never late. Nor is he early. He arrives precisely when he means to.”


      • pollywog 16.1.1

        I think her argument is so powerful that it’s not neccessary to talk about it.

        Key being the banker that he is needs to step in and bail her out, cos frankly, she’s too big to fail

        • Lew

          Gold, PW.


        • Rex Widerstrom

          Ahhh damnit PW, I sniggered and in the process lost any chance of that political correctness gold star I’ve been working towards 😀 Brilliant!

  16. HitchensFan 17

    Obviously the briefing paper contained words, rather that diagrams and pictures, so poor Paula got herself in a pickle because she can’t read…..

  17. Hilary 18

    If it is the British based one, who pays his travel expenses to the Wellington meetings of the Working Party (NZ taxpayers I presume?)

  18. randal 19

    well this is what happens when you tap the inmtes to run the asylum.

  19. Pat 20

    Marty – I like the title of your post. Very good.

  20. Jeremy 21

    The really sad thing is, her fall back career option was lost when Rodney Hide abolished the Henderson Community Board…

  21. marsman 22

    A “Distinguished Fellow of The Centre for Independent Studies,a Sydney based ‘Think Tank’ “……….A lofty title for a Nasty Ideologue in a Nasty Neoliberal Hoodwink Academy.

  22. toad 23

    No Nat patsy question today to allow Paula to gloat over the drop in unemployment. Presumably they’re running scared of it being turned around by more supps on the Saunders debacle.

    • JAS 23.1

      maybe its just that her staff havent had time to draw pretty pictures so she understands the drop

    • Lew 23.2

      Toad, yeah. Looks like English will be taking the credit, using supplementaries and responses to Qs 3 and 4. Clear response to yesterday’s events. Let’s see if there’s a reprise of the “many, not the few” gag, though.


    • felix 23.3

      And no question to her from anyone else either. Bit disappointing.

      Although it’s probably safe to assume she won’t be there anyway.

  23. HitchensFan 24

    Do we know yet which one she picked??? I’m rather nervous, I have to say

  24. Rex Widerstrom 25

    Bennett: Don’t worry, I’ve wiped the vivid marker off the scree and typed up a press release clarifying the whole thing!

    Aide: *pales* May I have a look Minister?

    Bennett: See? It says ‘we got the right man’. Make me sound all decisive, and stuff. Like I’ve been mounted.

    Aide: Pardon? Oh, you mean, like a Mountie… so that’s what you’re going with? We got the right man? You do realise, Minister, that what you’ve just said is “we meant to choose the lunatic?

    Bennett: Shit! Why won’t this ‘recall message’ button ever work?!!?!

  25. prism 26

    Paula may have been thinking of the wrong person. Would she ever admit it? I think that Paula was chosen for her parliamentary role because she is so confident and cool and determined, not for her great enthusiasm for understanding her area of responsibility. When she says something that is it and the quotes (from Wikipedia talking to Alice in Through the Looking Glass) are rather suitable.

    When I use a word,” Humpty Dumpty said in a rather a scornful tone, “it means just what I choose it to mean neither more nor less.”….
    “They’ve a temper, some of them particularly verbs, they’re the proudest adjectives you can do anything with, but not verbs however, I can manage the whole lot! Impenetrability! That’s what I say!”[11]

  26. Salsy 27

    So if “low average intelligence == low class position”, what does that then tell us about both Key and Bennet, who have backgrounds on benefits?

  27. PK 28

    ***Europe and said that “low average intelligence and low class position’. Not, um, not the most stable guy but Bennett appointed him.***

    Actually, there is a massive amount of research showing that psychometric testing is pretty reliable across cultures and predictive of a number of outcomes. Harvard Professor, Steven Pinker wrote last year in the New York Times (‘My Genome, My Self’ 11 Jan 2009):

    “To study something scientifically, you first have to measure it, and psychologists have developed tests for many mental traits. And contrary to popular opinion, the tests work pretty well: they give a similar measurement of a person every time they are administered, and they statistically predict life outcomes like school and job performance, psychiatric diagnoses and marital stability. Tests for intelligence might ask people to recite a string of digits backward, define a word like “predicament,’ identify what an egg and a seed have in common or assemble four triangles into a square. Personality tests ask people to agree or disagree with statements like “Often I cross the street in order not to meet someone I know,’ “I often was in trouble in school,’ “Before I do something I try to consider how my friends will react to it’ and “People say insulting and vulgar things about me.’ People’s answers to a large set of these questions tend to vary in five major ways: openness to experience, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness (as opposed to antagonism) and neuroticism. The scores can then be compared with those of relatives who vary in relatedness and family backgrounds.

    The most prominent finding of behavioral genetics has been summarized by the psychologist Eric Turkheimer: “The nature-nurture debate is over. . . . All human behavioral traits are heritable.’ By this he meant that a substantial fraction of the variation among individuals within a culture can be linked to variation in their genes. Whether you measure intelligence or personality, religiosity or political orientation, television watching or cigarette smoking, the outcome is the same. Identical twins (who share all their genes) are more similar than fraternal twins (who share half their genes that vary among people). Biological siblings (who share half those genes too) are more similar than adopted siblings (who share no more genes than do strangers). And identical twins separated at birth and raised in different adoptive homes (who share their genes but not their environments) are uncannily similar.”


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