Paula Bennett - Asshole of the Week Award | The Jackal

5 Aug 2011

Paula Bennett - Asshole of the Week Award

Yesterday, the Minister for Social Development, Employment and Youth Affairs, Paula Bennett was asked by Trevor Mallard "How can she justify cutting the very benefit that allowed her to get her qualification, and how can that not be hypocritical?"

After the speaker requested that Trevor Mallard rephrase the question, Bennett couldn't or wouldn't answer it properly. Even the inept Chris Finlayson tried to defend the bumbling Bennett, to no avail.

Bennett then went off on a rant that is irrelevant to the question asked, closing with the statement "then that would be a ridiculous position to be in." Did you understand that people? Bennett is in a ridiculous position and would not qualify under the new criteria the National party has implemented. I've embedded the video below so you can review the reference if you like.

To be perfectly honest, Bennett said it would be ridiculous if an MP couldn't change policy so that someone else in the same position was then disadvantaged, but this is still a ridiculous statement and position all the same. It's also the same argument she used back when the changes were made.

You might say that these changes were made in 2009 and therefore irrelevant, but the negative impacts of the archaic policy change are still in effect and very relevant, particularly because those already receiving the allowance for university degrees when the changes were made, became ineligible in May 2011. This will mean that many half way through studying will now have to stop because of financial restrictions.

After Bennett became an MP, she then went about removing the very advantage that helped her gain qualifications while being a parent. No longer can sole parent beneficiaries access higher education (level 4 and above), which contradicts the governments promoted objective of lower unemployment.

The more heavily monitored access and a narrower criteria to gain the allowance meant that many people were disadvantaged and therefore unable to move back into paid employment.

The TIA is an important allowance for single parents studying, as it helps them address barriers to entering employment and provide financial help with the additional costs of studying and raising children.

The changes disproportionately impact females, as 87% of sole parents studying are Women. Although thousands have been effected, savings of only $2 million were projected.

National undertook no proper assessment of the potential impact of its negative policy decision on sole parents and their children before it was implemented. The archaic administration and changes to the TIA has undoubtedly added to the increased levels of unemployment we've seen under a National led government.

So for being a fashion disaster, being a complete hypocrite, being ridiculous, breaching peoples privacy and bribes to keep people silent amongst other transgressions, Paula Bennett is this weeks Asshole Award winner.