Lesson for beneficiaries: don’t mess with Paula

Good to hear Social Development Minister Paula Bennett saying she is unrepentant about releasing personal financial details of two solo mothers who have gone public about cutbacks to a training allowance.

Did anybody seriously expect her to say oops, sorry, after she provided the New Zealand Herald with details about the sums of dosh Natasha Fuller and Jennifer Johnston have received from the state.

The PM is standing by Bennett – good for him – and says she was bringing balance to the women’s grizzles about the impact of cutbacks on the training incentive allowance, announced in the May Budget.

That’s in line with what Bennett said – she released their personal details because they were presenting a skewed picture to the public.

No doubt that’s part of the story. But Alf suspects she also is demonstrating her powerful inclination to become bloody-minded and bitchy, when someone pisses her off. Henceforth he will be sure not to rile her.

Come to think of it, she joins Crusher Collins among our Ministers with a flair for ferocity. Paula the Brawler, perhaps.

But that’s what you would expect from a Westie, eh?

One Response to Lesson for beneficiaries: don’t mess with Paula

  1. Sprung says:

    Of interest: The following post was published on the Herald online “your views” section.

    The strange thing about this is that it exceeds the character limit for posting in that section. The limit is 1200 characters, the post is 3,100 characters.

    Who is D-V of Wellington that they can get their post inserted against system limits at the Herald? Looks like the propaganda machine is running overtime.

    “Lets put things into perspective:
    1) No minister has the right to release any information without the express permission of the client. Privacy Act. Its law. There can be no justification for disclosure at all, regardless of what the information holds.
    People here are making a dangerous mistake in using the released information as a justification for disclosure.
    2) As to the actual amount of $715, bear in mind, this is to help clothe, feed, and house 3 (Three) people, not one.
    Basic Weekly Expenses. (I’m guess-timating here as I am not in possession of all the facts.perhaps the kind minister would like to release the expenses of the client too?)
    I think these are reasonable costs, no frills, just the bare necessities.
    $300 Rent (small 2 bedroom place)
    $200 Food (Food For 3 people)
    $60 Petrol (Or transport)
    $30 Phone (LandLine or Mobile)
    $30 Electricity (or Gas)
    $95 Misc (Misc expenses for example but not limited to: School Clothes/Shoes, Books, School excursions, and a hundred other things).
    Not much left to put in the bank for that European Holiday.
    This woman is bringing up 2 kids through school, who, in all probability, will go on to work and pay taxes. On top of that, its not as if she is saving it, the money goes back into our economy, and that money is taxed all the way down the line, so we get a big chunk of it back!
    To all those high horse moral crusaders who are questioning the family circumstances, please, people in life are subject to many different factors, some of which are beyond their control. It is not our place to judge.
    I am speaking from painful experience. 6 Months ago, my wife and I were successfully employed, making some good money. Working hard. Putting money in the bank. Enjoying life, getting ready to have kids, because we could afford it. I even paid cash for a sports car I had always wanted. And paying taxes. When the company we worked for closed overnight (owing pay), we were both out on our ear. Being well educated, experienced, we expected to back in employment with a week somewhere else, so we lived off savings. We cut back, to keep expenses down. Despite looking, applying, being interviewed, neither of us have had offers. 6 months later, the car and the savings are long gone, rent isn’t being paid, basic bills are barely covered.
    Prior to this situation, I would have been shocked to even consider going to Work & Income for assistance. I used to think people on the benefit were no hoper, drug addicts, with 10 kids. In the end, we did, and receive $196 a week to help us through, for which I am, like 99% of beneficiaries, truly grateful.
    While I would never wish a similar set of circumstances on anyone, its funny how a change of situation beyond your control can change your attitude and open your eyes. I am just very thankful that I live in a country where the people and government respect people that have fallen on hard times, or been dealt a bum hand, and help them through, helping them get back on their feet and preserving their dignity. We don’t need politicians undermining these principles by wrongfully disclosing private information for others to judge people by.”

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