Paula Bennett’s open letter to New Zealand

Dear fellow Kiwis,

I’m sitting here in my Beehive office. It’s late in the week and I’ve got a few things on my mind. More than once this week I’ve been heckled, “Hey! It’s the new Nick Smith” by the press gallery. Sticks and stones may break my bones but names just break my heart.

Firstly, nobody in my office knowingly leaked the information about that guy at Te Puea marae. Yes some unsolicited words came out of my staff member’s mouth during a discussion with a journalist about road taxing in North Canterbury, but it was entirely in context and purely accidental. Earlier in the day we had had a short discussion in my office where I told everyone listening everything I knew about the police investigation. I can’t control what my people do after they leave my office. This was a mistake. Pure and simple. A mistake of media reporting the leak as a leak and not an exclusive government “source.”

All I have been working so hard this week trying to help people. I’ve been trying to help the long-term unemployed by modelling how people work hard by working hard to help people. I’ve been trying to help people leave my constituency office. I’ve been trying to help people find motel rooms. The work of a cabinet minister is never done.

You know, the thing that really gets in my craw, the most hurtful thing, is the fact the opposition have been calling me a liar. It’s so outrageous it’s laughable. I am not a liar. I never lie. I have never lied in all my years as a National Party politician. Never. Not once. I have only ever told the complete and utter truth. And the truth is this: I don’t lie. Ever.

Here are my learnings from this week:

  • Don’t ever talk to people again.
  • I’m not a liar.
  • The opposition is mean.
  • Some homeless people really like living in their cars (that’s actually a learning from 3 weeks ago when my flying squads sat in their offices and imagined what was happening to the people living in their cars before reporting back to me).

Thank you for listening to my plight New Zealand.

Kind regards,

Paula Bennett

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