Monday, September 29, 2014

Who will replace Paula Bennett?

TV3 is reporting that Social Development Minister, Paula Bennett, wants a change and the PM agrees. Apparently she has a big future and needs to build experience.

If people really do enter politics to make a difference, she should stay put. She's done a better job than any other recent social development minister. Her 'been there, done that' background is hugely valuable. She can handle the opposition which is amongst the most vitriolic by nature. She's tough, she's Maori, she's young. All a great fit for that portfolio.

OK, she's been in the job for 6 years but it'd take that long to get a grip on the vastness of the biggest spending bureaucracy dealing with over a million New Zealanders.

It's my guess that the popularity of her reforms - only a start - helped with National's re-election. Only a week before the election she was promising to reduce beneficiary numbers a further 25% by 2017. People believe her.

It is also my guess that she has inspired many young Polynesians in West and South Auckland in an unprecedented way. She's fiesty and aspirational.

Moving her on might be good for Paula. It might be good for National. But will it be good for the country?

Apart from which, off the top of my head, I can't envisage a suitable replacement.


S. Beast said...

Hekia Parata would be my first pick for who they have in mind. What a disaster.

gravedodger said...

I agree with the post sentiment but accept she needs to widen her expertise and abilities in other areas.
Perhaps Amy Adams another with ambitions for higher honors as a replacement, not suggesting for a moment as pale and a vastly different start point she has Paula's natural advantages. Ability wise a yes.

Anonymous said...

A Catholic with a conscience, perhaps?

Lindsay Mitchell said...

Bill? He is the only appointment that would give me confidence. He has taken a strong interest in welfare for .... probably longer than I have.

Anonymous said...

She's starting to look scarily like Jenny Shipley in that photo! A damn sight more competent than the Dame, mind you.

Anonymous said...

Well that would be a real sign Key is thinking 4 or 5 terms: English to welfare, Joyce and Bennet to finance.

baxter said...

If they had formed a strategic alliance with the Conservatives Christine Rankin could have been considered.

Anonymous said...

Rankin was out of her depth,thought Bennett was too...but having a touch of the Ruth Richardsons seems to have made her.