Paula Bennett

Paula’s revolving staff door continues

Paula Bennett has developed a reputation for being hard on staff.

She has had a considerable turn over of staff and now another has left.

The press secretary for Social Housing Minister Paula Bennett has unexpectedly resigned.

Former top investigative reporter Phil Kitchin, has been in the government spin doctor role for less than a year.

He confirmed his resignation on Tuesday.     Read more »

New social housing rules enforced from today

Those looking for state homes could be thrown off the waiting list for 13 weeks for turning down a house “without good reason” more than once.

Currently, potential housing tenants can turn down three homes deemed reasonable before action is taken.

Additionally, they’ll also have to name at least three suburbs they want to live in, as opposed to one, currently.

Social Housing Minister Paula Bennett said people being “overly demanding” had been slowing the process down.

“Too many people have been refusing offers of social housing properties without a good reason and this is delaying others from getting into homes that suit their needs,” she said.

Ms Bennett said 414 houses out of 10,000 offers had been rejected without good cause in 2015, including for reasons such as wanting a garage or a bigger back yard.

You basically get given a free house, many times on top of free money, and these people can say “no”?   It’s about time harder rules were enforced.   Read more »

Hooton on Collins’ revival and leadership contenders

Matthew Hooton discusses the rehabilitation of Judith Collins.

Right now, if some personal tragedy were to befall Mr Key, there would be a period of shock and mourning and the prime ministership would pass to one of his close lieutenants, most probably his deputy Bill English.  Were there a more managed transition over the next four or five years, with Mr Key still popular, incoming Climate Change Minister Paula Bennett, Energy and Transport Minister Simon Bridges or even Justice Minister Amy Adams would be contenders.  A premium would be placed on a record of loyalty to the current regime.  (Despite the big-noting of his associates, Steven Joyce would never have the numbers.)

Ms Collins is not preparing for those circumstances.  Her moment comes if and when the public develops fatigue with Mr Key’s blancmange style of politics and perceives his government’s lack of a serious reform programme will only ever deliver slow relative economic decline, out of the first world and into the second.

Steve Joyce hasn’t a chance, and despite the claims of Hooton, Garner and others neither does Paula Bennett. I’m prepared to put money on that…the only rider on that is the feeling that caucus might want someone to take one for the team in the chook and in that case Paula Bennett will qualify ably in that regard.

Over the past year, Ms Collins has proven herself a highly astute political player.  To force her return to government, she adopted the doctrine that “it’s the squeaky wheel that gets the oil” – a strategy that seldom fails with the risk-averse poll-driven fruitcakes running Mr Key’s government.  Ms Collins pursued the strategy with aplomb, never crossing the line into outright sabotage.

Ms Collins also made clear to her supporters on the right of the party, in the Auckland business community and among the law-and-order brigade that she was more one of them than the wets and corporate-welfarists who currently dominate Mr Key’s circle.

Read more »

Government proud of small reduction in government employees. It’s not good enough

The government is trying to reduce troughers and bureaucrats and has made a good start…but it is nowhere near good enough.

Decimation would be a target to aim for.

The number of backroom bureaucrats is at its lowest since a cap was set in 2012.

State Services Minister Paula Bennett says there were 35,632 full time staff at the end of June, 474 fewer than in December.

“This latest result is 843 under the cap set by the Government in 2012, and the lowest since it was introduced,” she said today.

“The Government has made it a focus to cut unnecessary bureaucracy and waste and target expenditure where it will deliver measurable results.”    Read more »

Question: why is this scumbag not locked up pending trial?

The tester arrived at the property with a security guard after getting consent from a female tenant.

However, a relative visited during the testing and contacted the woman’s partner, who returned and avoided the guard by climbing over the property’s back fence.

He unchained his two dogs and closed them in the kitchen with the tester and held the door shut.

The guard pushed his way into the kitchen after hearing the tester screaming and found him trying to climb out a window.

HNZ chief executive Glen Sowry said the man received “pretty severe wounds” to his legs, hands and forearms and was in hospital for several days.

“I can’t imagine how horrifying it must have been to have the partner come into the house, abusing and screaming at you and grabbing the dogs, shoving them in the door to attack you – and then shutting and holding the door locked behind you while the dogs set on you,” he said.

“It’s unconscionable.”

[Paula] Bennett was horrified to hear about the case.

HNZ has made a formal complaint to police, and Sowry has apologised to the tester.

“The tenant’s partner effectively used a weapon on the tester to try to inflict harm. It happened to be two vicious dogs.”

The dogs, which Sowry described as “pit-bull type fighting dogs”, had been put down by Animal Control and the tenants were evicted under a fast-track process because of the severity of the incident.

There were no children living in the home.

What is the difference between locking the guy in with two dogs and going there with two knives and slashing about?   It does my head in that HNZ has complained to police.  Why isn’t the story about how the guy’s been arrested already?


– Cherie Howie, NZ Herald

Time to rein in Auckland Council

The government needs to show some courage, and fix up the governing legislation they enacted to help fix Auckland.

Richard Harman at Politik looks at the issue:

Pressure is slowly mounting on the Government to review the legislation governing the Auckland Council.

And the issue has the potential to cool relations between the Government and its Auckland party members if the Auckland Council does not become more user friendly.

ACT Leader David Seymour is leading the charge with his party planning a one day conference next month in which he will float some ideas for change in Auckland.

But there are National Party members and MPs who also believe the time may be coming to change the legislation to make the Council more accountable to voters.

However the Minister of Local Government, Paula Bennett, has no plans at present to change the legislation.

She may not be able to hold that position interminably.

Questions about the Council surfaced at the National Party’s northern regional conference earlier this year and more recently POLITIK understands that similar questions have been asked at party meetings in Auckland.

One Auckland MP told POLITIK that he would be open to any change that would make the Council less remote and more accountable.

Read more »

Paula Bennett should call for an enquiry into why the SHAs have been stuffed by Auckland Council

The Government currently has egg on its face because the Special Housing Areas are a dismal failure. With only a fraction over 100 houses built the Government has to shoulder some of the blame but it shouldn’t shun the topic when it could hold an enquiry.

Everyone knows that Auckland Council has deliberately shafted the SHAs with infrastructure and planning decisions.

For example the council deliberately cut budgets so that it could say to SHA developers there is no money to pay for needed pipes and that it was unlikely to build them for up to 30 years.

I think Paula Bennett could do more than sit back and watch. As Minister for Local Government she could, and should order an enquiry so that the facts can be laid bare for all to see.

That would allow her to follow through with legislative changes that stop Auckland Council acting like a bunch of unconscionable ratbags.

Like other Ministers she doesn’t understand Local Government and it’s not a sexy portfolio. In her drive to the top she is also prepared to take whatever portfolio her boss gives her but she isn’t willing to do much. Rocking the boat might result in a screw up. So she has been prepared to ignore things.   Read more »

Len’s failure: Just 102 houses built out of target of 39,000

Well it’s fair to say that Auckland Council has stuffed up the delivery of housing in Auckland by trying to shaft the Government in a little Mexican standoff.

The Housing Accord was supposed to deliver 39,000 homes in three years. We all know Council didn’t want it to succeed and we all know they have been subsequently and deliberately killing off the Government’s plans by refusing to make the infrastructure connections.

Two years after Auckland Council and the Government signed a “housing accord”, only 102 houses are known to have been built under its “fast-track” rules.

All of them have been constructed in just two areas: Weymouth and northern Tamaki. The council is not aware of any homes being completed under the fast-track provisions in any of the other 95 special housing areas (SHAs).

Instead, at least two blocks of land and a commercial property have been put up for sale after their value was boosted by being designated as SHAs. One was advertised as “a land-banking option”.    Read more »

Don’t want to be part of a ‘super city’? Sorry, Paula says she’s going to make you

Here we go.  National is back into Labour-mode.

The Government is proposing a governance model similar to the Auckland Council for regions that have voted to reject a Super City-like structure.

Under the proposed changes, regions would be encouraged to integrate their core services such as water or transport across council boundaries.

Regions that took a more integrated approach, allowing the Government to work more closely with them, could be in line for a funding “top up” from central government.

Announcing the proposals earlier today, Local Government Minister Paula Bennett said: “Without a doubt there are regions in New Zealand that have got increasing expenditure needed in core infrastructure and looking at it in a piecemeal fashion by council boundaries is not in the best interests of a region as a whole.”

This approach did not deliver results for ratepayers or create an environment in which business could grow, she said.

In the past three months, Northland and Wellington have voted against amalgamating their councils. Read more »

Twyford thrown from the house after getting his arse handed to him

Phil Twyford is the fool who launched the chinkygate disaster for Labour, he whinges all the time about housing and he rates himself as the policy guru for Labour.

The only problem with all that is he is dead set stupid and walks right into fists in the throat from government ministers.

He got spanked in the house yesterday by a brutal Paula Bennett.

The Minister of Social Housing and her Labour opponent have clashed in Parliament today over the minister’s take on some state housing tenants.

Paula Bennett is taking a paper to Cabinet that will allow tenants to decline a house once, before being put back in the waiting queue.   Read more »