Paula Bennett

Who feeds them in the holidays?

Paula Bennett is dead right, and of course the usual harpies of the left are moaning that she is benny bashing.

But is she?

Minister of Local Government Paula Bennett says she expects parents to send their children to school with lunch.

National, ACT and United Future parties have voted down the Feed the Kids bill by 61-59 which sought to feed 20 per cent of New Zealand’s lowest decile school children.

“It absolutely is the right thing to do. We provide breakfast into any school that wants it and this is being taken up which is great, but we believe in parental responsibility and I stand by the decision we made,” Bennett says.

Meanwhile Labour Justice Spokesperson Jacinda Ardern says of course it’s the role of parents to feed their kids but some parents cannot afford to feed their families. ¬†¬† Read more »

What would National get for a pig hunt with Paula?

The pommy tory party has managed to auction off shoe shopping with Theresa May for an awful lot of money.

A mystery bidder paid more than ¬£17,500 for a shoe shopping trip with Theresa May at Tory’s annual Black and White fund-raising dinner.

The dinner raised far in excess of its ¬£3million target and was hailed as one of the most successful fund-raising events in the party’s history.

The opportunity to go shoe-shopping with the Home Secretary, which included tea and a £500 voucher for store in Bond Street, central London, was one of the star lots and bidding continued until after midnight. Mrs May is renowned for her leopard-print kitten heels and diamante patent brogues.

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National aware of State Housing sell-off risks

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I’ve criticised National a number of times about the handling of the Housing New Zealand “asset sale” because the government isn’t in control of the message with Labour pushing it very hard as another John Key asset sale where people with no money are left on the streets.

Cabinet papers from December – prepared by the offices of the Minister of Finance Bill English and the Minister for Social Housing Paula Bennett – which were released by Treasury late yesterday show that overall, Housing New Zealand will shed up to 8000 properties by 2017.

These papers were dumped late on a day before a long weekend. ¬†The Government doesn’t want these papers to be discussed in the media. Read more »

Winners are grinners, thanks John

John Armstrong tries to have a dig while at the¬†same time declaring me a winner of the year…ah and there is yet another cartoon about me.

He will be the next target of Giovanni Tiso’s Stalinist inspired online bullying.

Winners: Andrew Little; Paula Bennett; Cameron Slater. Has Labour’s luck finally changed? Little nearly did not make it back into Parliament following Labour’s dreadful election. His victory in the party’s subsequent leadership contest could hardly have been slimmer. But he has taken on the cloak of leadership with gusto. Labour finally has a game-changer. National would be foolish to still believe otherwise.

Bennett got the jobs she wanted in the Cabinet reshuffle. Now positioned as deputy leader-in-waiting as a minimum – and could go even higher when Key eventually departs.

Slater got slam-dunked by Dirty Politics; his influence within the corridors of power has consequently diminished. Outside, it has grown exponentially. Bad publicity is good news for Whale Oil.

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Big projects on back burner, but not Len’s canoe centre

Auckland Council has decided to stop spending any money on maintaining basic infrastructure to save money for Len’s pet project. This is bad news for everyone.

This comes in the wake of the Auditor-General’s report that Len Brown is quickly redacting before submitting it to Council on Thursday.

This is the most basic of functions for a council. Capital works are already paid for by residents over extensive periods of time thanks to depreciation included in our rates.

So what does Auckland Council do?

Defer capital works in a bid to save money for Len’s pet train set.

Only last month the auditor general issued a dire warning about the condition of infrastructure around New Zealand in which she says much of it will fail unless local government gets its act together and focussed on core assets.

She also issued a warning to Len that any attempt to start the train set without funding is irresponsible.

Aucklander’s should be calling for the government to do something before the city falls to bits. Local government minister Paula Bennett needs to issue a letter and publicly redress Auckland Council for the choices it is making – clearly instructing them to focus on the core services as a priority.

That’s what Councils are supposed to do. Keep the roads, sewer, potable water, stormwater and parks in tip top shape through careful management. Not ignore them to build a project it can’t afford.

Speaking of which, a lot of projects may well be on the back burner but one project is steadily moving ahead and that is the expensive white elephant canoe centre in Manukau.

The diggers and trucks are shifting tonnes of dirt at the moment.

Why is that project going ahead when other more important infrastructure projects are being shelved in favour of Len’s train set?

If this isn’t stopped, the rot will result in Auckland becoming a broken down wreck the the government will have to pay to fix.

And we all know how that will go?

Two pussies in parliament

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Check this out

Labour MP Phil Twyford has apologised on Twitter after Social Housing Minister Paula Bennett bailed him up as sexist for making a cat claw gesture at her in Parliament.

Mr Twyford made the gesture indicating Ms Bennett was catty after Ms Bennett said he appeared to be struggling to understand her answers to his questions about housing. Read more »

Little wades into the Sutton/Rennie debacle

Choose one: ¬†Inquiry or resignation. ¬†(It doesn’t get much more creative than that, does it?)

Andrew Little has made his first big call as the leader of the Opposition.

It’s for the head of State Services, Iain Rennie, over his handling of sexual harassment allegations against CERA boss Roger Sutton.

On Monday it was Mr Sutton in the firing line.

“I have called women ‘honey’ and ‘sweetie’ and that is wrong,” he said.

Six days later it’s his boss, Mr Rennie, in the firing line because he gave Mr Sutton the chance at a news conference to speak about his resignation following a sexual harassment inquiry.

“That is such a departure from the standards that we ought to expect from those whose job it is to maintain standards in the public service, I think now we’re entitled to conclude that Iain Rennie is unfit for the job and there’s got to be now an investigation into his fitness to hold that job,” says Mr Little.

Sorry, my mistake. ¬†An inquiry AND a resignation. ¬†How original. ¬† However, Little is right about Rennie having put himself in a very indefensible position. ¬† Read more »

What do you call and asset sale when you sell assets, but you campaigned on no more asset sales?

Seriously, the wheels have come off this government’s tight communication strategy. ¬†Did National really think they could sell thousands of state homes out of Housing New Zealand’s stock, essentially cashing them up and adding the funds to the consolidated fund, and not get accused of selling assets?

It’s gob smacking.

This is entirely aside from the issue that selling them may be a good idea with a sensible explanation.  My problem is that National seem to be trying to sell assets while claiming they are not selling assets.   I can just see that going wrong.

Social Housing Minister Paula Bennett says “thousands” of state houses could be sold under the Government’s new approach to social housing.

But she would be surprised if those sort of numbers were sold in the short term, and Housing New Zealand would be the dominant force in providing social housing in “the foreseeable future”, she told TV3’s The Nation.

She would not make a commitment that all money earned from the sale of state houses would go back into housing.

“Well, we see ourselves reinvesting and using it better to help vulnerable New Zealanders,” Bennett said.

Now some state houses were in the wrong place or were the wrong size.

“Our intention is for people who need housing support to have more stock available. We just may not own it.”

She denied it was an asset sale but later said “this is not a big asset sale”.

/facepalm. ¬† They are assets. ¬†You’re selling them. ¬†For crying out ¬†loud. ¬†¬† Read more »

Tracy Watkins needs to stop drinking the gallery Koolaid

The problem with the Press Gallery is they are generally actually out of touch with what actually happens in politics.

Preferring to talk about factions and plans and conspiracies when none actually exists. They are particularly tits at these prognostications with the National aprty.

We often see stories about faction wars inside National when none exists. We know they don;t exists because if there were factions then i’d be in one of them and if there was a war there would be bodies floating down political rivers.

Tracy Watkins embarks on another gallery fantasy…that political parties groom future leaders.

Helen Clark’s mistake in being too slow to rejuvenate her caucus left a very deep impression on Key. He has been far more proactive, creating an expectation that there is no room in the caucus for seat warmers.

The departure of a slew of National MPs at the last election is evidence of his more ruthless approach, as is his approach to Cabinet reshuffles.

For the first time that anyone can remember Key has made a practice of demoting ministers for performance issues, rather than the more traditional route of sacking minister’s only when they have transgressed.  This has given him room to constantly renew his Cabinet. Key rang the changes with a reshuffle which he hopes will mitigate the effects of third-termitis.

Elevating the likes of Paula Bennett and Simon Bridges up the Cabinet rankings also shows Key has a succession plan in place ‚Äď along with Steven Joyce, they are being looked to as the next generation of National leaders. Will the drive for renewal reach even higher to the leadership and deputy leadership?

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Do we really still need the Maori seats?

The Maori seats are becoming a bit of a joke.

They have the lowest voter turnout, were supposed to be temporary and now after the last election seemingly irrelevant when 19 Maori were elected in general seats.

About the only use I can find for Maori seats is that it parks a whole bunch of Labour votes that might make the difference in general seats like Bay of Plenty, Rotorua and East Cape and sequesters them in irrelevance.

Parliament now has more Maori MPs than ever before, prompting one commentator to question whether Maori seats were still needed.

Nineteen Maori MPs have been elected in general electorates and on party lists. Once the seven Maori seats are included, the total number of MPs who identify as Maori is 26 – up from 21 in 2011.

This means one in five MPs in the new Parliament were Maori, compared to one in seven in the general population.

The National Party’s caucus is 15 per cent Maori, including two MPs likely to be given high-ranking portfolios – Paula Bennett and Hekia Parata.

The growing proportion of Maori in Parliament was met with mixed responses from Maori leaders.¬† Read more »