Paula Bennett

The contenders?

Radio NZ has prepared a list of contenders for John Key’s job:

Prime Minister John Key’s surprise announcement that he is standing down, after 10 years at the helm of the National Party and nearly nine as PM, will have the contenders jockeying for position before the caucus vote on 12 December.

Mr Key said whoever was chosen as the next leader would have his “unwavering support”, but if his right-hand man – Deputy Prime Minister Bill English – put his name forward, he would support his bid.

Mr Key and Mr English have been the closest of partners but there will likely be challengers from the caucus.

Here’s a quick rundown of who might consider themselves leadership material:

Bill English

A former leader of the National Party in the early noughties, Mr English has been a steady hand on the economic tiller and Deputy Prime Minister since 2008. He knows politics inside out – having been an MP since 1990 – and has held a number of other high-profile positions including Minister for Infrastructure and Leader of the Opposition.

Speaking at a media stand-up this afternoon, Mr English refused to be drawn on whether he would seek the leadership, saying he needed to talk to his family and members of the caucus first.

But Mr English said he will probably announce his decision tomorrow and wanted to make sure he had enough caucus support.

Mr English, who led the National Party to its worst election defeat in 2002, said he had learned a lot since then.

Read more »

National is getting pretty good at announcing housing

It might be nice if they could arrange for some houses to actually get built sometime soon.

Meanwhile, they are inoculating the housing crisis with cash:

An extra $300m will go towards providing emergency housing over the next five years, the Government has announced.

The money will fund 1400 places around the country, 600 in Auckland and the remaining 800 in high demand areas around the country.

The $303.6m package, over this financial year and the next four, is made up of:    Read more »

Prime Minister Paula Bennett? You are taking her for a spin today

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The keys to the country have been handed down the ranks – five places. On Thursday, Paula Bennett is Prime Minister.

She’s taken up the reins because John Key is in India, Bill English and Steven Joyce are across the ditch, and Gerry Brownlee is in Paris – meaning the Social Housing Minister is officially the acting Prime Minister.

“I am the acting Prime Minister for I think all of 24 hours. The boys are leaving it to me,” Ms Bennett told Newshub. Read more »

Paula Bennett and Nick Smith, you are the weakest link, goodbye

Paula Bennett and Nick Smith, your time is up.

John Key must surely realise these two muppets are costing votes in Auckland.

First-home buyers have only been able to get their hands on 18 affordable houses across all of the Auckland Special Housing Areas.

New data released to Labour from Auckland Council shows while 1029 “affordable units” have been consented for special housing areas across Auckland, just 18 have been built and sold to first-home buyers.

There are 154 special housing areas across Auckland – meaning 151 of them have failed to produce a single house that’s gone to a first home buyer.   Read more »

Not sure if this was clever Paula

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Normally Whaleoil wouldn’t give Simon pimp-the-poor Collins much credit, but this time the numbers are hard to dispute:

The Government has abandoned a target of increasing the numbers of subsidised social housing places to 65,000, despite growing reports of families living in cars and garages.

A pre-Budget report released by the Treasury today shows that the target for social housing places has been cut from 65,000 to 64,100, apparently for fiscal reasons.

Labour housing spokesman Phil Twyford said it was “a broken promise”.

“It’s just more evidence of this Government running down of state housing and social housing in the midst of a housing crisis.” Read more »

Nobody truly cared about the homeless until National blinked

“The country has been shocked by the recent rise in homelessness,” Labour leader Andrew Little says.

“No New Zealander feels good about children sleeping rough and families living in their cars.”

Social Housing Minister Paula Bennett was asked by Labour’s Phil Twyford in the House on Wednesday if she would support the investigation.

However, she said the Government was already doing work on the problem.

“We have a range of initiatives, some which are already implanted, some which we are implementing and some that are still in the negotiating stages – all of which will make a huge difference in the issues of homelessness and emergency housing, and that’s what we want to concentrate on,” she said.

Mr Twyford then asked whether she’d influenced her caucus colleagues on the Social Services Committee to vote against the proposal, considering “they’d been supportive” of it before.

“I didn’t instruct the caucus to do anything. We had a discussion and we came to it as a collective,” Ms Bennett replied.

Nevertheless, Labour and the Greens will soldier on with the investigation, which will include hearings in a number of main centres for public submissions.

Mr Little welcomed the involvement of any other political party which wanted to join the cause.

“It is disturbing that National MPs on the committee were supportive of our proposal, but they appear to have been slapped down by the Prime Minister who ruled out an inquiry on Monday,” Mr Little says.

Greens’ social housing spokeswoman Marama Davidson says the Government could have supported a cross-party inquiry but instead have “chosen to ignore” the problem.

“You only have to walk along Courtenay Pl and Queen St to see that homelessness is growing in this country and, as MPs, we can’t stand by and watch that happen,” she says.

“I have seen first-hand how serious the homelessness crisis is, but the Government is refusing to take any meaningful action, and people are hurting.”

Under questioning by her in the House this afternoon, John Key said the rate of homelessness had increased under his prime ministership.

The plight of the homeless, including those living in their cars has come to the fore over the past few months.

A number of protests and support events have been held across the country in which people with homes spend the night in their cars.

Mr Little says the idea for the inquiry initially came from the Coalition to End Homelessness – a group of NGOs working with the homeless.

National are faltering in managing this political attack, and the Media-party-assisted pressure from the left is resulting in poorly thought out strategy and public statements from the government.

Labour and the Greens are smelling blood, and they may actually be onto something, for once. Read more »

Paula’s $5000 relocation bribe a godsend for one solo mum

The Government’s relocation scheme might have been branded a failure by the Opposition, but there’s at least one very happy recipient.

Mother of three, Ally*, has taken up the offer and moves to Hamilton next week.

The Government is offering up to $5000 to social housing tenants and those without a home who move out of Auckland to the regions.

The grants don’t have to be paid back and can go towards moving costs, bonds, letting fees and other expenses for a social house or a private rental.

Ally and her mother were both successful applicants and have accepted two houses just a few doors from each other.

Ally will live in one house with her 19-year-old daughter and 11-year-old son, while her 24-year-old daughter and 3-year-old granddaughter will live with Ally’s mother, 77, in the other.
Ally has wanted to move out of Auckland for the last two years, but the high cost of moving has held her back.

When she heard about the Government’s relocation scheme, she made “at least 10 calls” to Housing New Zealand, Winz and the Ministry of Social Development but no one seemed to know what she was talking about.

“Apparently I had more information than they did just from what I’d read off the internet.”

Yes, that’s what happens when you make up policy during a media appearance.  Your own departments are somewhat flatfooted by it.  Word from insiders is that Bennett hasn’t been getting any praise from the people she made work for.  Read more »

Paula Bennett is planning a second refugee centre in Mangere – for New Zealanders

Paula Bennett wants to build a slum emergency housing…in South Auckland.

A “pop-up” housing park of 100 or so prefabs for temporary use could be established in South Auckland by next autumn, says Social Housing Minister Paula Bennett.

It would house present state tenants whose property was being redeveloped and others in urgent need of housing.

She told the Herald on Sunday she was thinking of about 100-150 houses for the first and she had identified three sites in South Auckland that could take that number.

But “temporary” housing has yet to be defined and she was looking at several options.

“Some of the modular housing is just outstanding – for like 20 years,” she said.   Read more »

Paula Bennett’s incompetence is being exposed by an incompetent Labour – how embarrasing

You have to wonder what Murray and Bill have on John for him to keep Paula Bennet around, when she is making stuff up after stuff up.

If you thought that Paul Foster-Bell’s staff turnover was bad, you should check out Bennett’s.

But she’s got herself in a pickle again with silly statements about homeless people.

Mind you, Maiki Sherman is an activist. I wouldn’t mind betting she will be a new media star recruited for Labour next year.

Social Housing Minister Paula Bennett is challenging Ministry of Social Development (MSD) data which shows the average time it takes them to house the homeless.

According to MSD figures the average length is around 155 days. But when quizzed on this, Ms Bennett said the numbers weren’t accurate and it was the fault of the ministry.

“That’s not actually correct. As I’ve dug deeper into that, what we’re discovering is that it also counts a whole lot of people who’ve been inactive, so for whatever reason they’ve had a change of circumstances, we’ve been unable to get hold of them.

“As a consequence they’re still on the list, but not actively looking for a house.”

She says even if people aren’t actively looking for a house, their application isn’t cancelled.

“We keep counting those days, they might go off and come back on and so that accumulation is a lot longer than what I think it is,” Ms Bennett says.   Read more »

Sack her then

John Key says Paula Bennett’s staff were wrong to have discussed a police investigation with dodgy journalists who don’t respect their sources.

The Social Housing Minister’s staff should not have discussed a police investigation into the Te Puea marae chairman, says Prime Minister John Key.

The minister, Paula Bennett, apologised to Te Puea marae chairman Hurimoana Dennis last week after one of her press officers told a journalis the was being investigated by the police.

The Auckland marae has been taking in dozens of homeless families, many of which have found new homes.

At a meeting with Mrs Bennett to discuss what help officials could provide to the marae, Mr Dennis told the minister about the police investigation – information one of Mrs Bennett’s staffers then passed on to a reporter.

“There was a sense it was more widely known than maybe it was and I think that was the mistake that the staff member [made],” Mr Key told Morning Report.    Read more »