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.   

“But anyway, they shouldn’t be talking to other people about that stuff.”

Mr Key said he had “huge confidence” in Mrs Bennett.

Last week Mrs Bennett said the actions of her staff member were very disappointing, but the remarks had been made were in error.

“I can see that it was a genuine mistake in how they’ve spoken to someone. I just expect it not to be happening and certainly expect it not to be happening again.”

She acknowledged the leak was unacceptable, as it happened after a private conversation between her and Mr Dennis, at which the staffer was present.

And how did the staff member get the information? From the minister, of course. The buck stops at the top. The information came from the top and I struggle to believe that staff acted unilaterally without tacit approval of the minister.

Key sacked Judith Collins for less. Why is he protecting Paula Bennett? Collins was sacked for comments someone else made. Why isn’t Bennett likewise under the hammer?


– RadioNZ

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