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National's former deputy leader and election 2020 campaign manager, Paula Bennett, to retire from politics after 15 years

National's former deputy leader and election 2020 campaign manager, Paula Bennett, to retire from politics after 15 years
Paula Bennett

National's former deputy leader Paula Bennett won't be standing for re-election at the September 19 election. 

Bennett, who has been in politics for 15 years, made the announcement on Monday, saying it was the right time for her to take the skills she’s learnt in politics into the business world.

When Todd Muller and Nikki Kaye last month ousted Bennett and Simon Bridges from their leadership roles, Bennett also lost her job as campaign manager for the upcoming election. 

Bennett was Deputy Prime Minister under Bill English, and held 14 portfolios within the 2008-2017 National-led government.  

Here’s a statement from her:

Today I am announcing that I will not be standing at the next election.

I have had an incredible time in politics for the past 15 years and now I am looking forward to my next career. 

In 2005 I entered politics on the National Party list. I was absolutely thrilled in 2008 when the people of the then seat of Waitakere chose me as their electorate MP, I served them for six years until that seat no longer existed. I then went on to win the seat of Upper Harbour where I have served for the past six years. Being an electorate MP and working on behalf of constituents has been a privilege and it is work I have really enjoyed. I believe Jake Bezzant, the current candidate for Upper Harbour, will do an outstanding job and I wish him all the best in the upcoming election.

After just three years as an MP, I became a Cabinet Minister in 2008. I have held 14 portfolios, each bringing their own challenges and achievements. I have many people to thank, too many to rattle off here, but I believe that much of my success has been due to the incredible people who have worked with and for me. I am particularly proud of my work as Minister for Social Development and Child Youth and Family for more than six years. 

I became the Minister as we were feeling the brunt of the Global Financial Crisis, vulnerable families and communities needed our immediate help and I ensured they had it. But they also needed hope of a better future for them and their families. I set about reforming the welfare system. With more emphasis on what people could do, increasing our expectation on people to get work ready and look for a job and changing the system so that more help was available for them. The number of sole parents on benefit dropped by more than 30,000 and the number of teen parents effectively halved. This meant tens of thousands of people no longer dependent on the state and living independent lives

Many think being a Minister is a hands off role. I loved being hands on. I implemented those reforms, drove the change and the daily execution, and most importantly saw people’s lives and livelihoods improve.

I then served as a senior Minister from 2014 in the John Key and Bill English kitchen cabinet and held portfolios ranging from State Services, Associate Finance, Climate Change and Police and I was Deputy Prime Minister when John left and Bill took over.

Since the last election until recently I have been the Deputy Leader of the National Party and Campaign Chair. Interestingly, it has been in the past two and a half years that I have probably learnt the most.

The whole thing though has been a hell of a ride and I have loved it. 

Now it is time for the next chapter. I am excited to take the skills I have out of Parliament and into the business world. I have always wanted another career after politics and now is the right time for me to go and pursue that. 

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National should not mimic Labours leadership setup -- a young woman + a mid aged man.

National should come up with some new.

All they have is gimmicks and no MPs with any substance or ability.

So Paula Benefit is on her way. I wonder if she was tempted to write a book like Collins has and perhaps say that she was also thrown under the bus just like she was. Obviously, if you even got close to slightly deviating off the needle balance - to the negative - then you were toast as far as John Key was concerned.
Fancy Collins releasing her book so close to the election. Not a good look for National. Is she tired of Muller already.

Collins knocking on the door, Paula goes out the side door, Todd twiddling his thumbs, Key gone girl. Interesting times, aye.

They should definitely come up with something new.

They need to come up with policies that embody Burkean conservatism and address he needs of a broad array of New Zealanders.


Yup, ditch the PM and go for presidential position (for life)


No sad loss there. With Tolley going as well I'd say that Muller's memos are finally being received. All eyes will now be on Bridges.
National has a long history of 'efficiently' dispatching losers.... usually to try and present publicly a fresh, rejuvenated face. But so far I'd say Muller and Kaye (his 'pin up girl') resemble nothing more than another turn of the same old screw. It's time to move on from personalities and start pronouncing POLICIES. New Zealand is waiting!

I can't tell if this is a shitpost or just a shit post.

If you think it's either you may have difficulty in understanding how the various political machines in New Zealand work. Time for some swot perhaps?

My issue is more referring to the only MP to ever beat Ardern in a straight electorate contest (twice) as a pin-up girl - even if it is being said ironically, it's somewhere on the same level as Gareth Morgan's obsession with lipstick and pigs.


On that point, Kaye did not beat Ardern twice, as you infer. The gentrification and Sinofication of Auckland Central beat Ardern twice. But she had to earn her stripes with electorate defeats before being 'gifted' Mt Albert by her ex-electorate office boss and mentor, Helen Clark.
I refer to Kaye as a "pin up girl" because that's exactly what she is. She's the 'young, Auckland, liberal, female achiever (that beat Ardern twice)' to complement the 'flinty face' of the middle aged, white, corporate male, safe pair of business savvy hands that Muller represents. It's just National trying to be many things to as many people as possible. It's politics!

Agree National are hardly looking dynamic are they and time is running out. Muller seems to think NZrs are falling over themselves to revert to the halcyon days of Key and Corporate NZ. No substance, no initiative, no platform, no news except for bacon and egg pies and dogs with wagging tails. Looks to me like the National Party magician has reached in and just pulled a white china bunny out of the hat. If the same old stuff goes into the screw, then the same comes out.

"no news except for bacon and egg pies and dogs with wagging tails."

What... no ponytails then? ;)

With his height, he can't hide if he pulls that trick.


"National has a long history of 'efficiently' dispatching losers...." How do you explain Nick Smith then?

even bill English , had to lose two elections before he got the nudge

Bill English

Only some 'losers' not old boy network losers like Nick Smith

Or how they efficiently dealt with Peters...

Both. I'm keeping count of the 'courageous' posters aka the Shenzi, Banzai and Ed brigade. They are pumping today. Best leave them to it.


be interesting to see which board she ends up on,


Correction: ...which Chinese board...

Not gonna happen, mate. The Chinese are too clever for that, methinks.

A Rabbit Board! (remember them?)


Would probably be better to have a real 15 year "Career" first and then get into politics and not the other way around.

well... that applies especially to the current government.. at least some of the National Party have had real jobs

Please elaborate on "real".

Tobacco lobbyist?


it is a shame really. I always considered her to be capable, even if I disagreed with her politics. This just makes National seem more like old, stale, pale and male.

But no mistake - with 12 years under her belt as an MP, she will leave with a full parliamentary pension and benefits. Something no other ordinary working Kiwi will get. when we are talking about inequity in society, here is a classic example of it.

Ageism, sexism and racism in a single sentence! Maybe consider them on their ability, rather than their race, age and sex.

It is just another example of the hypocritical mentality of the far left. They attack everyone but if somebody takes offence, they plead that they are the victim?

Foreign buyer, You'll have to define "far left", because your far left seems to be not very left at all.

NPC, Because that's how it has been done in the hundreds of years?

Where is the ageism and racism? And for that matter the sexism, I personally believe women to be just a capable as men and there are not enough in the National Party as pointed out last week?

As to being far left, as i asked several times on this forum, when people are advocating a move back to centre from the right can the less cerebrally endowed recognise the difference?

Well, they are very adept at selling land and assets to foreigners. They're also good at securing Chinese donations. They were also strong proponents of low skilled mass immigration. They also propped up the housing rort and subsequent debt bubble.

Decisions decisions...

Still waiting for them to get on to that "productive economy" and addressing the housing crisis, that Key campaigned so strongly on in 2007. Thirteen years long enough for them to get some policies sorted?

Paula Bennett was responsible for the excessively punitive welfare policies that made those who could least afford it much worse off. Huge numbers of working poor, people sleeping in cars, people being refused what they were actually entitled to.

And then there's the meth debacle that cost this country over $100 million, ignored science and ended up evicting hundreds of beneficiaries who had done nothing wrong.

A vindictive nasty piece of work.

I concur. I always had an issue with her being behind such policies when she herself had been the recipient of benefits which no doubt helped her get to where. she was/is. I myself was on the DPB for 2 years under Clark govt, the Training Incentive Allowance and fully funded childcare allowed me to finish my degree. When I finished my Masters under Key govt I learnt from classmates that tertiary funding for people on benefits was limited to courses that lasted up to 6 months, so basically single parents were much more limited in terms of future employment prospects.

I find your racist, ageist and sexist comments offensive. Change your "stale, pale, male" comments to apply to any other grouping of people and see if it's still an acceptable way to talk. Would you make similar disparaging comments to point out gender or race differences in say a group of midwives? I do not accept the argument that you can't be racist or discriminatory against some groups of people with a certain set of physical characteristics. Your words are incredibly divisive. Here is some Martin Luther King for you: "I have a dream that my four children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the colour of their skin, but by the content of their character”. Isn't that what we should all be aiming for?

A group of mostly men who spend too long inside (not getting out into the real world and seeing the effects on ordinary people, a common failing of politicians), and most of their ruminations are about their own wisdom, and seldom believe anyone else can bring much value to their group without some degree of indoctrination. It is their attitudes and actions that are being measured. It is a grouping and dynamic that I have seen in action too often in too many areas. I do not believe a person's gender, race, age, religion or culture qualifies, or disqualifies them from any position. You can place your interpretation on my comments anyway you will, but understand that is your interpretation, not mine. So if you are offended it is because of your view, not mine.

Wonder if she's vying for one of those golden parachute roles on offer from the Middle KIngdom.

A seat of one of the CCP banks boards perhaps?

Can someone post anything apart Paula achieved while in office? Any legislation of merit...any ideas that have improved our lot?

That wan't her role.

She entered Politics in 2008 ..apart from eating rolls what was her role then?

My point..... exactly!

Is she walking the plank or are they getting her to walk the broken bridge

Huge loss.good looking lady

Reinforcing those stereotypes there HW, well done (/s)

One of the few MPs the Nats had who can think on their feet. Goldsmith doesn't seem to be able to. Kaye seems almost there. The rest seem to be just rattling off soundbites and barely interact with the person asking the question. Compare Ardern or Robertson with Twyford and you get the same impression.

Really genuine and caring. Not fake and power hungry like JA


How's the weather..... in that parallel universe?


Your an odd cookie HW

I dont doubt it but if your attempt at humour ar 3.02 is the best you can offer then you're even more odd. Stop trolling.

Fantastic humour. Just picking myself up off the floor. Tell that to the thousands of working poor and on welfare she terrorised during her reign.

"Huge loss.good looking lady"... alcohol does affect the perception part of the brain

“Despite all of that he is though entertaining, one has to admit.” Quote, words to that effect, Wellington on General Erskine.

You should check out Brian Tamaki. I think you'd like his look.

I just wonder now Tolley and Bennett are leaving if this is to Pre-empt and stave off future embarrassment for National, should Winston stay good to his claim that he is still going to have a 2nd court case regarding his Pension and his privacy.....??

Ann Tolley wanted to be speaker , she was not prepared to sit another term in opposition to wait for that option so good luck to her on new projects

The first part of your sentence is entirely correct. No secrets there. She had made all the right moves: gave up life as a Cabinet minister (and all the perks) to eke out a humble, obscure existence on the back benches, offending no-one for 3 years; she is presently Deputy Speaker; she distanced herself from the hurly burly of partisanship by choosing to give up here long held, safe seat in favour of a list position in September. And then April rolled around. Bridges and all his close associates got rolled. Tolley was immediately sent helter skelter down the rankings to #32. Ouch! But it looks like this week she finally got Muller’s memo, and I’ll bet it read something like this: “If National wins the election in September we won’t be putting you forward as our nominee for Speaker.” I.e. it wasn't really her choice.
And so it goes… and so does she! Her final political aspiration in tatters she bows out of politics. She does it in the usual diplomatic way, citing spending more time with family, re-prioritising life, etc. Time to think during the COVID-19 lockdown was a novel one, I thought :-)

Does mean we get a decent MP to represent us with both red and blue pretty decent now.

The speaker implies. The listener infers.

Rats + sinking ship

I'm guessing there must be a big Chinese corporate coming to NZ soon that will need some defectors, I mean directors.

Benefits of having been a Minister, you say ?

With Judith ringing the door bell, Paula probably knew that her time was up. Hope Todd gets the signal, loud and clear.

Key's rolling is complete, you think ?

Oh hey girrrl, don't let the door hit you on the way out!

Paula Bennett highlights her biggest achievement as 'reforming the welfare-system'. Regardless of one's ideologies, 99.999 percent of people have at least half-a-brain.