Paula Bennett announced:
Today I am announcing that I will not be standing at the next election.
I have had an incredible time in politics for the past 15 years and now I am looking forward to my next career.
In 2005 I entered politics on the National Party list. I was absolutely thrilled in 2008 when the people of the then seat of Waitakere chose me as their electorate MP, I served them for six years until that seat no longer existed. I then went on to win the seat of Upper Harbour where I have served for the past six years. Being an electorate MP and working on behalf of constituents has been a privilege and it is work I have really enjoyed. I believe Jake Bezzant, the current candidate for Upper Harbour, will do an outstanding job and I wish him all the best in the upcoming election.
After just three years as an MP, I became a Cabinet Minister in 2008. I have held 14 portfolios, each bringing their own challenges and achievements. I have many people to thank, too many to rattle off here, but I believe that much of my success has been due to the incredible people who have worked with and for me. I am particularly proud of my work as Minister for Social Development and Child Youth and Family for more than six years.
This is not hugely surprising, but still significant. As I blogged last month:
She was one of National’s best performing Ministers, seeing through welfare reforms that saw a huge decrease in welfare dependency. Her office had some of the best staff around, and her office parties were quite legendary. Paula’s sense of humour was awesome.
When Bill English became PM, she became his Deputy PM and it is a shame she only had a year in the role. I ended up attending a couple of CEO meetings with her and she was one of the few MPs who could take questions over pretty much all of Government. She made a good team with Bill, and I think if they had carried on in 2017 they would have made a real difference with their social investment programme of early interventions.
Paula’s tenure as Deputy Leader of National has finished but I think we should consider how remarkable it is that someone who was a solo mother at age 17 should become the Deputy Prime Minister of New Zealand. Can’t think of a better example of National’s values in promoting equality of opportunity.
I am sure Paula will have a great career post politics. I wish her well.