Tips from Paula Bennett on how to be a Hypocrite




Recent comments by Paula Bennett regarding introducing tipping to New Zealand are more revealing of National’s contempt for workers than most realise.

On 22 May, Bennett was reported as promoting tipping for reasons that – on the face of it – sound reasonable, but are questionable;

TDB Recommends

“ If you receive excellent service, you should tip.  I don’t think that tipping should be mandatory in New Zealand, but I do think that we shouldn’t tell people not to tip when they come here, which we did for a while.

 People will enjoy their work more and get paid more – it’s plus plus plus.
I don’t want us to turn into that mandatory tipping for people just to survive, but I do think if we reward good service it’s going to make everyone smile a bit more.”

“Smile a bit more”? “People will enjoy their work more”?

Perhaps in Bennett’s narrow world, hermetically-sealed in Parliament with her ministerial salary; perks; golden superannuation; and tax-payer-funded housing.

To put Bennett’s comments into some context, in March 2012 NZ Herald journalist, Fran O’Sullivan gave us a glimpse of her privileged life;

My sense is that Bennett always knew how to work the system to her advantage – and good for her. Let’s face it, at the time she went on to the domestic purposes benefit in 1986, knowing how to rort the system was a national sport.


At just 17, she gave birth to her only child, a daughter she named Ana. Just two years later, she got a Housing Corporation loan to buy a $56,000 house in Taupo. All of this while on the domestic purposes benefit.


Bennett was also fortunate in getting a training allowance to go to university when her daughter was 8. Her backstory suggests that she was still on a benefit while studying.

The Training Incentive Allowance that paid for Bennett’s university education meant she was not lumbered with any of the $15 billion debt that 728,000 other Kiwi students are now facing. Her tertiary education was free.

This would not be a problem – except that one of Bennett’s first acts on becoming social welfare minister was to remove the same Training Incentive Allowance that she used to put herself through University;



Evidently, Bennett’s working life was “too exhausting” and she made a “career move” back onto the DPB;

“ Then I pretty much fell apart because I was exhausted. I went back on the DPB.”

In opting to chuck in her paid job and return to the DPB, she became an oft-parroted cliche that  many on the Right – especially National/ACT supporters – often accuse welfare beneficiaries for.

From being an on-again-off-again beneficiary on the DPB, in 2005 Bennett became a beneficiary of the Parliamentary Service and she entered Parliament on the National Party List.

Today, as Deputy PM, the tax-payer is responsible for meeting her $326,697 p.a. salary, plus free housing, and other perks.

It would be a fair guess that Bennett does not require tipping to make up her weekly pay packet, to meet the necessities of life that many other New Zealanders find challenging in the 21st Century;



In 2007 – and for the following five years – the former Dear Leader, John Key, constantly made eloquent speeches on raising the incomes of New Zealanders;

We think Kiwis deserve higher wages and lower taxes during their working lives, as well as a good retirement.” – John Key, 27 May 2007

We will be unrelenting in our quest to lift our economic growth rate and raise wage rates.” – John Key, 29 January 2008

We want to make New Zealand an attractive place for our children and grandchildren to live – including those who are currently living in Australia, the UK, or elsewhere. To stem that flow so we must ensure Kiwis can receive competitive after-tax wages in New Zealand.”   – John Key, 6 September 2008

I don’t want our talented young people leaving permanently for Australia, the US, Europe, or Asia, because they feel they have to go overseas to better themselves.” – John Key, 15 July 2009

Science and innovation are important. They’re one of the keys to growing our economy, raising wages, and providing the world-class public services that Kiwi families need.” – John Key, 12 March 2010

We will also continue our work to increase the incomes New Zealanders earn. That is a fundamental objective of our plan to build a stronger economy.” – John Key, 8 February 2011

The driving goal of my Government is to build a more competitive and internationally-focused economy with less debt, more  jobs and higher incomes.” – John Key, 21 December 2011

We want to increase the level of earnings and the level of incomes of the average New Zealander and we think we have a quality product with which we can do that.” –  John Key, 19 April 2012

Who would have thought that Key’s goal of raising wages would be achieved… with tips.

It speaks volumes about National’s disconnect with the working men and women of this country, that the best that our generously paid Deputy Prime Minister can come up with is that raising wages should be dependent on the largesse of others.

Is this the essence of National’s ambition for New Zealanders?  That not only should we be tenants in our own country



– but that we should be paid as such?

On 18 April, our new Dear Leader, Bill English announced a $2 billion pay increase for under paid care and support workers in the aged and residential care sector.

However, there appears to be a ‘fish hook’ in the much trumpeted announcement;

Cabinet today agreed to a $2 billion pay equity package to be delivered over the next five years to 55,000 care and support workers employed across the aged and residential care sector.

The pay increase will be “delivered over the next five years“.

On 22 April I wrote to Health Minister Coleman asking, amongst  other things;

” You state that the amount of $2 billion will be  “delivered over five years” and  increases will be implemented incrementally over an annual basis. If so, how will that incremental amount be determined?

… will the planned increases be inflation-adjusted, to prevent any increase being watered-down by inflation?”

To date, Minister Coleman’s office has put off replying, stating that his office was busy and “response times vary between 4 – 6 weeks but also depend on the Minister’s schedule and availability“. (More on this later.)

Perhaps aged and residential care sector workers  should ask for tips in the meantime, from their clients?

According to the website, New Zealand wages have not kept pace with our nearest neighbour;



Former Dear Leader Key’s grand ambition of matching Australia’s income levels have remained illusory.

In fact, despite heightened economic activity through immigration and the Christchurch re-build, wages have remained suppressed. As Head of Trade Me Jobs, Jeremy Wade, said in April this year;

We’re seeing small increases in average pay across growth industries such as Construction and Customer Service, but overall wages aren’t matching demand.

The number of roles advertised has exploded in recent months which in turn means that the average number of applications per role has dropped 13 per cent on this time last year. Job hunters can be more selective, which makes it harder to fill these roles.

Some employers have looked to immigration channels to address this shortage. Immigration alone won’t correct the shortfall, though it may be suppressing wage growth…

Immigrationmay be suppressing wage growth“.

There is no “may” about it.  Immigration is suppressing wage growth.  The simple laws of market supply & demand dictate that in times of “low” unemployment, wages will rise as the supply of workers does not meet demand.

This is not some marxist-leninist tenet. This is core doctrine of the Free Market;

The law of supply and demand is the theory explaining the interaction between the supply of a resource and the demand for that resource. The law of supply and demand defines the effect the availability of a particular product and the desire (or demand) for that product has on price. Generally, a low supply and a high demand increases price, and in contrast, the greater the supply and the lower the demand, the lower the price tends to fall.

The only way that the price of labour can be suppressed is to increase the supply of labour. National has opened the floodgates of immigration, increasing the number of workers, and hence the price of labour has remained suppressed (also incidentally fuelling increasing housing demand, ballooning prices, and construction in Auckland).

There is a grim irony at play here.

National has exploited high immigration to generate economic activity and National ministers continually boast to the electorate that they have boosted economic activity;

Despite the dairy sector continuing to be under pressure, other sectors are performing well and contributing to an overall solid rate of economic growth.” – Bill English

We are the fifth fastest growing economy last year in the developed world. That’s unexpected.” – Steven Joyce

That’s why the good economic growth we’re seeing with rising incomes and a record number of jobs available is the best way this Government can help New Zealanders. ” – Paula Bennett

The New Zealand economy is diverse and dynamic. Strong GDP and job growth, together with the impact of technology, is driving change in every sector.” – Simon Bridges

But the same immigration that has generated that economic “growth” has also suppressed wages. National’s exploitation of high immigration to pretend we have “high economic growth” may have worked. But the unintended consequence of suppressed wages is now starting to haunt them.

What to do, what to do?!

Enter Paula Bennett and her desperate plea for New Zealanders to tip each other.

Unfortunately, tipping each other is simply a band-aid over low wages. In the end, like a pyramid scheme, the money-go-round of tipping fails to generate long term wage increases and we are back at Square One: low paid jobs and no prospects for improvement.

To compensate for chronic low wages, Labour introduced Working for Families in 2004. This became a means by which the State subsidised businesses to ensure that working families had some measure of a livable income.

Bennett’s lame suggestion – tipping – does not even pretend to come close to Labour’s solution.

Perhaps that is because National are in a quandry; cut back immigration to raise wages? That would wind back economic growth. Increase immigration to boost economic growth – and have wages stagnate.

This is what results when a political party with the unearned reputation of being “good economic managers” is revealed to being a fraud. Their short-term, unsustainable, “sugar-hit” policies eventually catch up with them.

Here’s a tip for you, Paula; saying silly things in election year is not helpful.





Fairfax media:  Deputy PM Paula Bennett calls for more tipping

NZ Herald:  Fran O’Sullivan – Bennett knows about life on Struggle St

Scoop media: John Key – Speech to the Bluegreens Forum

Beehive: Key Notes – Boosting Science and Innovation

Beehive: John Key – Speech from the Throne

Fairfax media: Key wants a high-wage NZ

NZ Herald: PM warns against Kiwis becoming ‘tenants’

TVNZ News: Cabinet agrees to $2 billion pay equity package for ‘dedicated’ low-paid care workers

Numbeo: Cost of Living Comparison Between Australia and New Zealand

Trade Me: New Zealand job market booming but wages languish

Investopedia: Law Of Supply And Demand

Fairfax media: Record migration sees New Zealand population record largest ever increase

Fairfax media: New Zealand’s economic growth driven almost exclusively by rising population

Radio NZ: Billions for infrastructure reflects booming economy – Joyce

Fairfax media: Minister Paula Bennett – Challenge to house more people on taxpayer dollar

Kapiti Coast Chamber of Commerce: Minister of Economic Development Announces New Economic Data Tool

Wikipedia: Working for Families


The New York Times: Why Tipping Is Wrong

The Huffington Post: 9 Reasons We Should Abolish Tipping, Once And For All

Wikipedia: Paula Bennett

Other Bloggers

Martyn Bradbury – Paula Bennett’s call to tip is National’s new plan to subcontract out lifting wages without raising minimum wage

The Standard: Tipping vs fair wages

Previous related blogposts

Paula Bennett shows NZ how to take responsibility

Letter to the Editor: Was Paula Bennett ever drug tested?

Hon. Paula Bennett, Minister of Hypocrisy

Housing Minister Paula Bennett continues National’s spin on rundown State Houses

Why is Paula Bennett media-shy all of a sudden?

Health care workers pay increase – fair-pay or fish-hooks?





Hat-tip for above cartoon: Anthony Robbins




= fs =


  1. We can be certain that Paula Bennett doesn’t tip her accountant, her dentist, or even tradespeople like plumbers or mechanics. Why would that be? Are people in these positions incapable of providing good service, or does Paula Bennett truculently refuse to acknowledge certain types of good service?

    No, it’s because, first, people in those jobs get paid plenty already, and second, they’d find it insulting because it would imply they’re lower-class types who need charity from their betters to get by.

    And those two reasons above are why NZ used to have signs in the airports saying tipping wasn’t welcome here. We expected to pay workers enough to live on and not to insult them by offering them charity for their work.

    The last 30 years have seen that approach to work overturned, and now we get ministers of the crown wanting us to extend charity to the lower classes who don’t get paid enough to live on. This story more than any other I’ve seen since 2008 reflects the kind of society National envisage for us.

  2. Good points Frank but I don’t think that depressing wages in unintended, I think it is very deliberate.

    • To damn right .

      It is notbing but a bloody smoke screen, when they say they want a high wage economy.

      This tipping crap is nothing but a distraction.

    • You’re probably right, Stephen.

      Even Bill English made the concession in 2011, on Q+A;

      GUYON Can I talk about the real economy for people? They see the cost of living keep going up. They see wages really not- if not quite keeping pace with that, certainly not outstripping it much. I mean, you said at the weekend to the Australia New Zealand Leadership Forum that one of our advantages over Australia was that our wages were 30% cheaper. I mean, is that an advantage now?

      BILL Well, it’s a way of competing, isn’t it? I mean, if we want to grow this economy, we need the capital – more capital per worker – and we’re competing for people as well.

      GUYON So it’s part of our strategy to have wages 30% below Australia?

      BILL Well, they are, and we need to get on with competing for Australia. So if you take an area like tourism, we are competing with Australia. We’re trying to get Australians here instead of spending their tourist dollar in Australia.

      GUYON But is it a good thing?

      BILL Well, it is a good thing if we can attract the capital, and the fact is Australians- Australian companies should be looking at bringing activities to New Zealand because we are so much more competitive than most of the Australian economy.

      GUYON So let’s get this straight – it’s a good thing for New Zealand that our wages are 30% below Australia?

      BILL No, it’s not a good thing, but it is a fact. We want to close that gap up, and one way to close that gap up is to compete, just like our sports teams are doing. This weekend we’ve had rugby league, netball, basketball teams, and rugby teams out there competing with Australia. That’s lifting the standard. They’re closing up the gap.

      GUYON But you said it was an advantage, Minister.

      BILL Well, at the moment, if I go to Australia and talk to Australians, I want to put to them a positive case for investment in New Zealand, because while we are saving more, we’re not saving more fast enough to get the capital that we need to close the gap with Australia. So Australia already has 40 billion of investment in New Zealand. If we could attract more Australian companies, activities here, that would help us create the jobs and lift incomes.


      Every so often the facade will slip, and their true intentions will be revealed.

      • Good work Frank for highlighting this interview.

        We had a media once that did its job and held these people to account, in this current environment with its lack of accountability is ideal for a government like this to survive long term and continue its attack on the good people of this country.

        Great and timely post.

  3. Our Paula

    Found it easy to get stacks of help and assistance as and when she needed it.

    The people who gave it to her were the tax payers of New Zealand. They even put her through University. And have given her a romantic easy lifestyle in Parliament with marvellous perks.

    Which is why people despise her for putting mothers and children into dirty rental housing; into garages and motor cars on a massive scale. To be marvelled at.

    She is the female face of National. No Heart. No working Brain. No Conscience. No solutions to the mess she has fostered with her ditzy colleagues.

    Beloved by Billy English. Who spins and spins her like a spinning top.

    They are both there only for the fat cats – whom they suck up to night and day. They give the wealthy who earn $127,000 an extra $57 per week, and the give the poor who earn a mere $15,000 a mere $1.30 per week.

    If there is Justice in another life these two political love pigeons will burn forever. Won’t they Billy and Paula.!

    (thanks Frank Macskasy)

    • Thanks, Observer.

      Of all the things that Bennett has done to earn our ire, it is perhaps the elimination of the Training Incentive Allowance that stands out.

      I have a close personal friend who benefitted from the TIA and went from the Domestic Purposes Benefit into a career in early childhood education. (See:

      Just as Bennett used the TIA to give herself a hand up.

      By eliminating the TIA, she showed the naked hypocrisy and ideologically-driven self-interest that National is capable of.

  4. Go easy on Minister Coleman. He’ll be very busy in his office practising being an arse-hole. The lessons he has already taken have shown to have been successful.

    As for Paula saying silly things in election year not being helpful, I disagree.

    She says a lot of silly things, this whole article shows the little ball of hypocrisy she is, yet many think she is marvellous.

  5. If we’re going to rely on tips to make up low wages, shouldn’t we just join the Third World and complete the process?

    • Restaurants get super butt-hurt that they no longer have an exemption to paying their below minimum wage and will do everything in their power to make sure they don’t have to, but they should lose after a political battle that lasted far longer than it should.

  6. National’s policy’s over the last nine years all point in the direction of keeping the Low Wage Economy re-paying their wealthy benefactors handsomely .
    Have a look at Charter Schools to dumb down education through to Healthcare being striped of funding to put the squeeze on the low waged to cover living costs such as the price of Food and Power.

    Let alone the price of Houses or the Price of Rental .

  7. Words fail me when I think of the nerve of this bloody excuse for a woman, but then I realize all those Nat women are the bloody same.

  8. As usual I feel nauseated/irritated by National Party strategy.
    Take a person with mediocre abilities such as Paula Bennett or Christian Rankin, place them in the welfare sector; (i.e. non- National Party voters) ; expect in return loyalty and support for the National Party machine.
    Place plodders in a well paid position requiring only that they show loyalty and produce public relations gold for their political masters.

    Hypocracy does not apply.

  9. So who gets the pourboires from Paula? Does she ever tip the people who support the Smiley Faces? You know – the dishwashers and the kitchen hands, the baggage handlers, the invisible cleaners in the midnight hours.

    And, if the place you work is the pits – the usual rip-off watering hole or dodgy restaurant – you won’t be making much in tips.

    National promotes itself as the party for business: they’re hopeless. Don’t have a clue and couldn’t use it if they did.

    It’s not just tipping; it’s the whole escalation of ‘classes’ in this country. America is rife with it. Australia’s well down the road, and we’re bleating along behind.

    Squash it quick! It causes too much misery and resentment.

    Tip for Bennett – ‘Zip it, sweetie.’

  10. Paula Bennett’s speech to medical professionals, in September 2012, launching the “relentless focus on work” welfare reforms, with which she first tried to follow the UK, by pushing sick and disabled into whatever jobs there were:

    “I am proud to live in New Zealand.

    We are lucky that our country has a very inclusive culture and society, where people can give almost anything a go.

    We pride ourselves on this – the Kiwi can do attitude – and because of it, New Zealanders have tallied up a long list of incredible achievements.

    Many have achieved in spite of everything, by overcoming seemingly insurmountable barriers.

    We get right behind these Kiwis.

    I’m thinking of people like Olympic gold medallist and amputee Sophie Pascoe, and Jonah Lomu an outstanding All Black who starred in test matches and a World Cup despite a debilitating kidney disorder.

    Given this can-do attitude, you have to look at our welfare system and ask – does this reflect the New Zealand we live in today?

    Does it reflect the attitude that Kiwis can do anything?”

    Further down in her speech she continued like this:

    “We currently have 142,262 people on the Sickness and Invalid’s benefits.

    If we left the system as it was and let past trends in Invalid’s and Sickness Benefit continue, 16 per cent of the working age population could be on a benefit by 2050.

    However UK research tells us that many of these people have what shouldbe manageable health problems.

    Research also says only one per cent of sickness absences associated with common health problems, result in long-term incapacity.

    Provided people are given proper advice and support, recovery is normally to be expected and long-term incapacity is not inevitable.

    From July 2013, we will be working differently with people on these benefits.

    The changes we are making give a larger proportion of these New Zealanders an opportunity to find suitable work and support them throughout this process.

    There will no longer be a Sickness Benefit.”

    My comment:

    She must have prepared her speech in front of her bathroom or hallway mirror then, talking to herself, or reflecting on her past, I presume. Did she have any thoughts or feelings of own guilt, of taking advantage of a system as others did?

    She was loud, aggressive, and ranting and raving those days, to launch the largest welfare changes since the 1930s. Since then she has become a lot more quiet, except when she comes with the odd smart remark.

    I wonder why?

    Perhaps this has also something to do with it:

    ‚In the expectation of recovery’, Faulkner, Centre for Welfare Reform, Scrib
    (criticism of biopsychosocial model, Aylward et al)


  11. More coming on the supposed equal pay settlement for aged care and residential support workers for IHC and other NGOs. A little bird ytells me that Ralph Jones is being an arsehole about it and not prepared to include vocational staff in the settlement.

  12. By the way, perhaps Paula Bennett should repay her free Training incentive allowance she used to gets her uni quals. I won’t be holding my breath from that parasite.

  13. The Face of Female National

    Andrea has reminded me just how callously tipping zipping Paula Bennett has treated the smiley faces of the people who do the cleansings of dunnies; the baggage; and other so called lowly tasks.

    For 9 incredibly dirty years she and Billy have been trashing these people – with sickening off hand glee. Despising them

    Making sure they cannot afford the exorbitant rents; can barely afford enough food; cannot afford the prescriptions; cannot afford the better schools; cannot hope for housing. Shoved into cold wet mouldy rentals (owned by the very friends of paula and billy) to suffer under National’s 3rd world barbarity.

    Paula and her close colleague Billy – have built the Aotearoa Class system. Have taken the dignity out of New Zealand and handed the wealth to the scurrying rats that National happily breed. With help from Farrar and Boag. With additional non stop help from the toxic Media.

    Sadly, they have wooed the naive Greens into this National witches brew.

    Billy says he will make our NZ water “wade-able” (not swim- able) in 46 yrs time. In the meantime nation wide, our streams and rivers are full of Paula’s and Billys’ friends ecoli shit.

    Time we rubbed their faces in their own Paula and Billy mess. Isn’t it.

  14. Those in privileged positions who support turning working people into begging for a living, are often the very same people who would step over a homeless person begging in the street or hose them down with cold water.

    Living in the lap of luxury, Marie Antoinette, knowing full well that the poor did not have enough bread to eat, reputedly said “Let them eat cake”.

    Living in the lap of luxury, Paula Bennet, knowing full well that the poor do not have enough wages to live on, has effectively said “Let them eat tips”.

    Marie Antoinette’s haughty arrogance and out of touch views incensed the French people. Her comments, personally costing Antoinette her head and helped end the rule of the king. Is it too much to ask that Paula Bennet’s haughty arrogance, and out of touch views, incense New Zealanders so much that it personally costs Bennet her seat, and National the election?

  15. Next time I see Bennett onm the campaighn trail, I’ll ask her if she has any intention to back back the Training Incentive Allowance she got given.

    If not, I’ll start a chant,


Comments are closed.