Image source http://www.teamkey.co.nz/paula-bennett
Age: 45 Ethnicity/Nationality: Māori New Zealander Highest Education: BA (Social Policy)
Paula Bennett is the Waitakere electorate MP for the National Party. Her official National Party profile page is available here. On her page, you will see that Paula raised her daughter as a solo-parent and lives by the mantra:
“Self-belief – with a dose of hard work – can make anything possible”
While Paula currently holds the office of Minister for Social Development, Minister for Local Government and Associate Minister for Housing, she also has a special interest in all issues relating to the wellbeing of children, families and communities.
Paula’s interest in politics stems from her desire to:
“…make a difference for New Zealand, and to have the chance to advocate for children, families and individuals who are in need”
She was motivated to join the National Party because her own beliefs aligned with the Party and she believes that:
“The National Party is a party of opportunity, and has given me the opportunity to affect change for New Zealanders”
Paula’s personal philosophy is that:
“…everybody has the power to achieve and excel, and the Government should be there to create the right conditions so that people can thrive”
She considers the people most influential to her politics are the:
“…everyday New Zealanders who work hard and usually have a healthy disdain for politics – it keeps it real”
Although Paula holds some feminist views she would not describe herself as a feminist; however, she believes in “absolute equality between men and women” and considers herself very lucky to live in a country that she believes has “a great record of equal opportunity”.
On women’s reproductive rights
Paula is pro-choice.
On women’s economic contributions (other than paid work)
Paula observes that in her time as Minister:
“…she has met hundreds of women making a difference in their families and their communities, and in their own way they are each contributing to building a stronger society”.
On wage disparity
Paula is fully committed to policy that encourages:
“…up-skilling women to give them more opportunities so they can get higher paying jobs and wages”.
On support services for women
Paula considers that there are ample levels of “support provided for all people in need – women, men and children alike”, but considers more can always be done to improve the services provided and the ease of access to them.
She has a particular focus on sole parents, and is pleased with the welfare reforms she introduced as Minister of Social Development that she maintains have seen an 11% reduction in sole parents on the benefit in the past year and almost “30,000 fewer children in benefit dependent homes compared to two years ago”.
General Q & A:
What is the one skill you wish you had (that you don’t already)?
“Backing the boat on a trailer straight down the boat ramp”
In everyday life, what is your pet peeve?
“Dishes on the bench when the dishwasher’s empty”
What do think is the biggest problem facing the world right now?
“That’s a hard one. I’m horrified at the treatment of girls and women in some countries, like not allowing them equal access to education”
What is the best gift you’ve ever given?
What is the best gift you’ve ever received?
Describe a time when you wanted to quit, but you didn’t:
“Many times when I was working, raising my daughter, and studying at the same time”
If you could have a special power/magic what would it be and why?
“I’d love a teleporter so I could instantly be anywhere in the world I wanted”
You can see more of Paula on:
Personal website: Hon Paula Bennett
Facebook: Paula Bennett MP
Please check the About page if you are interested in the question selections.