Paula Bennett - Asshole of the Week | The Jackal

9 Sept 2017

Paula Bennett - Asshole of the Week

It’s pretty obvious that Paula Bennett isn’t fit to be a Member of Parliament let alone Deputy Prime Minister. Not only is she rather obnoxious in person, Bennett’s been in charge of the largest government portfolios over the last nine years and has essentially achieved nothing!

The statistics don’t lie, but unfortunately Paula Bennett does. Under her watch more people have became impoverished and homeless in New Zealand than ever before.

To obfuscate that terrible track record, Bennett’s made an art-form out of ignoring and hiding information which shows that we’re going economically, environmentally and socially backwards.

However, it’s not just Bennett’s woeful political track record and questionable history that people should be concerned about… it’s the fact that she’s been blatantly trying to mislead voters during the election campaign.

Yesterday, Stuff reported:

Auckland school responds to Deputy Prime Minister Paula Bennett's claim of infiltration by Head Hunters, drugs

A west Auckland school has denied a politician's claim that gang-related drugs are in its system.

Deputy Prime Minister Paula Bennett said she had witnessed, via police, "horrific", gang-related "stuff going on in our communities".

She said gangs' drugs were "partaking to our kids, in our schools" and it was happening in west Auckland with the Head Hunters.

"Bloody get your drugs out of Henderson High School if you actually want to make a difference in the society," Bennett said.

Her comment at The Spinoff's Facebook live election debate on September 6 drew a sharp response from Henderson High School.

Its executive officer Gillian Hill said "that's not true", but couldn't comment further.

Bennett appears to have gone right off the deep end. By saying that a school has a gang and drug problem on a live broadcast, the Minister is ensuring that the school’s ability to conduct its business will be adversely affected.

There is no doubt that because of Bennett’s untruthful statement some parents will simply move their children to a different school. That means Bennett has impeded the schools ability to function properly under the current system that awards funding based on the number of students attending.

Is there any evidence that Head Hunter gang members selling drugs have infiltrated Henderson High School? The answer is clearly no! Even if it was true, and it’s not, such matters aren’t resolved by such disorderly public announcements.

It’s entirely unacceptable that a Minister has made such a statement without any corroborating evidence to back it up. In fact it appears that Bennett has once again simply made incorrect assertions in order to look tough on crime.

Unfortunately for the National party there are some unanswered questions concerning Paula Bennett's history prior to her becoming an MP.

These include:

1. Did she mislead WINZ about her income?
2. Did she claim the DPB while also receiving an income?
3. Did she receive a government home deposit she wasn’t entitled to?
4. Did she declare that she was living with a partner while receiving a benefit?
5. Did she fail to declare her correct address?
6. Did she assault a minor in her care?
7. Did she smoke marijuana in front of a minor?
8. Did she take class A drugs?
9. Did she prostitute herself before the 2003 reforms made it legal?

Since we’re talking about unsubstantiated allegations, it seems only appropriate to give the Minister the same respect she’s shown Henderson High School.

In my opinion Members of Parliament must adhere to the highest levels of scrutiny and accountability. It’s in the public’s best interest that these accusations are resolved one way or the other so that voters can decide their validity and Bennett's suitability to be in parliament or not.

Personally I don’t care if an MP was a prostitute prior to becoming a politician. Sometimes people have to do difficult things in order to survive and the law was changed for a number of good reasons. I also don’t care if politicians have or do smoke marijuana. That law should be changed as well.

However I do mind that a Minister of the Crown has been accused of assaulting a ten-year-old boy in their care, and that the assault may have occurred while the Minister was inebriated. These are serious accusation that must not be ignored by the media, the public or the police.

If the PM had any balls he would stand Bennett down until these matters were resolved.

Bennett's statement came less than a week after the police minister said some New Zealanders – serious criminal members of gangs – had fewer human rights than others.

At the National Party's launch of a proposed $82 million crackdown on drugs and gangs on September 3, Bennett was asked whether she believed criminals had human rights.

"Some have fewer human rights than others when they are creating a string of victims behind them," Bennett said.

"There is a different standard."

Prime Minister Bill English later said his deputy got it wrong.

Making up lies about a school being involved with gang members selling drugs and claiming that human rights should be allocated depending on a persons circumstance must not be an acceptable part of any campaign strategy.

The vast majority of voters are unlikely to accept such dirty tactics from a Minister of the Crown. That’s why Paula Bennett wins this week’s Asshole Award. She's clearly not fit to be a Member of Parliament.

UPDATE: Paula Bennett admits that she lied about there being drug dealing gang members at Henderson High School.