Paula Bennett owns up to undermining Key; refuses to apologise

I made it up, so what...

I made it up, so what…

How on earth could anyone have ever considered Paula Bennett leadership material when she gets busted telling fibs to the PM.

Paula Bennett has owned up to wrongly advising John Key that welfare officials and the Salvation Army had visited people living in cars.

The Prime Minister last week said “MSD and the Sallies went around and knocked on, I think, eight cars that they could find. All eight of those people refused to take support either from Sallies or from MSD.”

The Salvation Army issued a statement saying it actually declined the Ministry of Social Development’s invitation to accompany its officials.

“MSD officials did not accompany Salvation Army social personnel to Bruce Pulman Park last Monday night as part of the army’s regular visits to the site,” it said.

Lying to the Prime Minister should get you sacked. I suppose when you are on Bill’s team you think you can get away with it.

Some of those it helped distrusted officials, the organisation said, and it feared its relationship with those people may have been put at risk because of the incorrect information about MSD’s involvement.

In Parliament on Tuesday, Labour’s Phil Twyford asked Ms Bennett, the social housing minister, whether she was responsible for the advice given to the Prime Minister.

“Yes. I told the prime minister that the ministry of social development was working in conjunction with NGOS, including the Salvation Army, to reach out to homeless people to see if they could offer assistance,” she replied.

Ms Bennett said she hadn’t been clear enough that MSD “was not actively with the Salvation Army”.

Mr Twyford asked her why she hadn’t apologise for “misusing the good name of the Salvation Army”.

Ms Bennett didn’t answer directly but said a number of NGOs had visited homeless people last week and most didn’t want help.

She’s just blustering, and lying. She should be apologizing to John Key, and to the public.

No wonder Trans-Tasman doesn’t rate her highly. It is embarrassing cock-ups like this that undermine whatever credibility she had.


– Newshub



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  • Sailor Sam

    Phil Twyford undermining Paula Bennett is an own goal.
    With Bennett the possible successor to John Key, his action actually helps Judith Collins’s caue.
    Collinsis a much better potential leader and regularly makes a little party MPs look foolish, so a little party should be “nice” to Bennett to help their own cause.

    • contractor

      I don’t see either as good candidates at all to fill Key’s big shoes. English is the nearest although his failure as leader earlier is a lingering trait of perhaps being a tad boring, until you tune into his thinking which is very sound but not charismatic enough. Good leaders are more scarce than hens teeth (and I’d exclude our former mother hen for whom economics was an inconvenient non-truth).

      • TM

        Agree – neither Collins or Bennett are leadership contenders – they simply don’t have the overall package of being liked, intelligent and large generalist support base. What has Collins actually done to improve the Police force in her time in charge – past and previous – if she wanted to she could have changed them for the better many years ago.

    • zotaccore

      I’m not sure Collins is the best contender though. A lot of baggage she has (some not of her own doing) but I don’t see her as a leader. Her performance in the chamber hasn’t been what it used to be. I’m not sure I’d vote National if she was the leader – she has much more work to do to convince.

  • contractor

    Wherever you look good leadership is extremely scare. Labour; vacant (so much for Davis’ initial “future leader” rating, whats his name grandson of earlier Labour leader marginally better than Davis), Greens; muddled (Shaw not near his initially billing), NZ First = nothing post Winnie the aging night owl.

    Same anywhere; USA, Europe, rest of the world.

    Despite all his foibles, John Key is head and shoulders above alternatives in any political party. Understands economics, takes a long view, builds business, balances importance of business and society, not perfectly but he and Nats are addressing many issues as best they can in a complex and challenging world, and results are building or coming down the pipe (including house supply, influencing Akld Council but we have to shift the lefties out from there).

  • Isherman

    All this talk that’s gone on for awhile about Bennett being a contender for the leaders position baffles me. Can anyone actually explain why she would be a good choice?, because I don’t see it myself. As for lying to the PM causing that sort of embarrassment, it’s something you should only ever do once…if it was me she’d be gone. Beyond that, lets remember that Key was parachuted in, perhaps it’s something they need to consider again, though I wouldn’t wait too long, but there must be other comparable people out there who would fit the bill far better than the likes of Bennett.

    • Ross

      Whilst I agree with you re leadership, I’m a bit disappointed with Paula here – she usually comes across as diligent and well-researched, and has the reputation for being a hard worker. not to be confused whether or not she is true leadership material.

    • Wheninrome

      It is all about stepping up to the next level when it comes to leadership, Many feel they are chosen, very few make the grade.

  • axeman

    Key, Joyce or English will take Bennett aside and let her know in very certain terms that she has erred and not to do it again or she is gone. Only she and possibly senior advisers will know about it. A good leader won’t chastise her in public

  • Big_Al

    By the same token, will Angry Andy be apologising to John Key for calling him a liar on national TV over this incident? Did’nt think so.

  • cows4me

    Why would anyone want to enter politics in NZ especially if they have good leadership skills? Our country is generally run by mediocrity, just look at our political system. When you have unelected MP’s drawing large salaries, a system where no real progress can advanced because it can be brought to a halt because some little nothing party isn’t happy then you get what we get. When we live under a system and a mindset that looks upon winning other than at sport as undesirable and tall poppies are either described as “rich pricks” or privileged. Leaders will come forward if they can lead, political correctness, countless laws designed by leftist ninnies, unelected representatives and huge bureaucracies are the real threat to leadership.

  • stephen2d

    More positioning for the Leader’s job once Key has had enough.

  • The Fat Man

    What have we not learned about pimping out the poor.

  • kayaker

    Paula Bennett’s misdemeanour aside, the Salvation Army wasted no time in making political mileage out of this.

    While they say – “Some of those it helped distrusted officials, …and
    it feared its relationship with those people may have been put at risk
    because of the incorrect information about MSD’s involvement” – it has been stated that the homeless do not overly trust the Sallies either for various reasons, and are not that responsive when they come to call.

    • zotaccore

      The Sallies do a lot of good work at ground level, but their leadership is about as red as it gets. Enough said.

      • kayaker

        Hence my comment about political mileage. I’ve always thought positively about the Sallies, but their stance on LGBT has disappointed me as I had always considered them to be inclusive. With this latest episode, I was surprised to read that some of the homeless are wary of them and the reasons why.

  • Keanne Lawrence

    Funny how so many only ever expected to see Bennett much further back in the seating plan and got a good laugh at the suggestions of advancement to higher office. Lol

  • The Fat Man

    When Parliament is finished with Paula Beneficiary, she will be back on the benefit quick smart.

    Is she still of child bearing age.

  • PersonOfColor:WHITE

    She lost me, when, as minister for climate change she signed the Paris agreement when Treasury advised that it would cost NZ $36B over 10 years….sorry. I think she’s lost it completely.

  • Petem8nz

    I never rated her for leadership. Unfortunately most NP members I know think the sun shines out her backside. Here’s hoping she never becomes leader.

    • contractor

      I do think she is a good person who has achieved a lot personally and in her portfolios. But PM material is a whole different league.

  • Second time around

    Unlike Phil Twyford I really cannot get too excited that the visits to the homeless were not done by the Salvation Army and MSD driving around in the same vehicle. I can understand why people on the fringes of society would feel uncomfortable dealing with a religious group dressed up in uniforms. Paula Bennet can be irritating, but the important matter is surely that the government is taking reasonable steps to deal with the long term homeless, a problem that almost certainly would not be resolved in the first 100 days of a Labour Green government.

  • Weju

    Reminds me of another Minister not so long ago telling the PM porkies and she got booted out and was in Coventry for quite a while. Why they let her back in I will never know.