Why Can’t You Be Like Paula Bennett? – Guest Post by Tara te Heke

There’s been heaps written about but I can understand where she’s coming from. She’s escaped into a new world. A better world for her and the whanau. She’s broken the dependency cycle.

Her daughter though is taking the old world with her and that’s all I will say on that matter judging that decision.  Than there must be relief today in the papers that her and the “baby Daddy” have broken up.  For now anyway.

The point of that comment is that Paula Bennett now earns $200,000 a year+, wears suits, gets free travel and has status in society. Wicked for her and I’m pleased for her. But when your kid has got a problem, money can’t necessarily solve the problem, but it is better than being broke. Much better than being broke.

Bennett has connections now. She can get the father of her grandbaby help inside.  She can help him when she gets out.  Or not if she wants.

Bennett’s story is an exception. Although she’s a “rolemodel”, most of us will never get there. We won’t be so lucky. We are looking to Paula to deal with many issues. She’s going to fail because the issues are so massive.

1. Like reigning in the deadbeat Dads and making the public get down on them as much if not more than us.

2. Like making people realise that individual responsibility and choice is all fine and good, but try doing that with three kids, ill parents, and generations of debt, failure and dependency.

3. Like making those of us on wonder why families in NZ earning income we can only dream of, are also receiving in the form of working for families?

That’s a good point. Welfare is for people who genuinely need it. I can live off my income from the state, why can’t a family with only one kid live off theirs that is twice or three times mine? Why are they now a beneficiary?  They are like us.

Paula Bennett has done really well for herself. But if another middle class, well-dressed person asks me why all of us can’t be like Paula, I will scream!

I have three kids. I have no one to turn to in order to look after them while I am either at training or working. I’d love to go work with adults, speaking adult and not baby. I can’t afford childcare so what do you do? If someone looked after my kids during the day I wouldn’t need an excuse, I’d work again. While it’s not fun to work in a low wage job, it is what adults do and I can’t wait until my children are at school and old enough to let me get back in there.

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