Twyford v. Bennett on Salvation Army

There has been interchanges between Phil Twyford and Paula Bennett both inside and outside Parliament over claims originally made by John Key about MSD and the Salvation Army checking on people living in vehicles.

Bennett has admitted that what she advised Key was not “sufficiently clear”.

From Stuff in Government looks at pre-purchasing motel beds for homeless:


She also took the rap for the prime minister’s erroneous comments about the Salvation Army visiting the homeless with MSD when this did not happen.

Key had also said last week they had knocked on the car doors of eight people and they had all refused help.

Prime Minister John Key said on Thursday this was the advice he was given, and directed all questions to Bennett.

“Obviously there was a crosswire, the basic principle was right,” he said.

Twyford stated during a select committee meeting on Wednesday that the Prime Minister had looked like a fool for getting it wrong.

Bennett said Twyford was missing the key point that the squads were out on the ground ready to help homeless.

She had told the Prime Minister that mobile squads made up of non-Government organisations and MSD were out on the ground visiting the homeless.

“I’ve certainly taken responsibility for it,” she said, as she could see how he may have misunderstood.

Following this in Parliament:


9. Social Housing, Minister—Salvation Army Visits

[Sitting date: 08 June 2016. Volume:714;Page:11. Text is subject to correction.]

9. PHIL TWYFORD (Labour—Te Atatū) to the Minister for Social Housing: Does she stand by her statement that her advice to the Prime Minister about the Salvation Army’s visit to Bruce Pulman Park “was not sufficiently clear”; if so, why did she and her office release the same misinformation to the media?

Hon PAULA BENNETT (Minister for Social Housing): To the first part, my answer is yes, as it was yesterday, and to the second part it is because we obviously did not realise that it was not sufficiently clear when we made the statement, and after we did, we have tidied that up.

Phil Twyford: Did she tell the Prime Minister that officials from the Ministry of Social Development (MSD) went out with NGO personnel, including the Salvation Army, to talk to homeless people; if not, what precisely did she tell the Prime Minister?

Hon PAULA BENNETT: I cannot remember the exact wording of what I told him, but it was around this kind of statement: “A mobile squad made up of MSD staff and NGOs including the Salvation Army has been visiting Auckland City Mission and areas of Auckland to engage with people who may need help with emergency housing.” From that statement you can see that that could have meant that they were going out together or, as I thought it read, that MSD were going to the Auckland City Mission and the Salvation Army had been going to the park. But, at the end of the day, whether they were there together or separately, it does not omit from the actual situation, which is that we were going out trying to engage people who are in dire circumstances to make sure that they are getting the assistance that they deserve.

Phil Twyford: How does she reconcile her statement “I have nothing to apologise for.” with the Salvation Army saying that her mistake has put at risk their ability to help the homeless?

Hon PAULA BENNETT: I am sure that most members of this House have a huge amount of respect for the work that the Salvation Army does with our most vulnerable, and as a consequence of that, as I say, the statements were not meant to be misleading. All I can do is front up and say that I made that mistake, and that is where it sits. But, honestly, you apologise to Chinese and I will apologise to—

Mr SPEAKER: Order! [Interruption] Order! Supplementary question, Phil Twyford.

Phil Twyford: Thank you, Mr Speaker—[Interruption]

Mr SPEAKER: Order! [Interruption] Order! I am calling for a bit of discipline from both sides of the House.

Phil Twyford: Does she accept that it is a failure of her Government’s policy that after 8 years in office she is pre-booking motels for homeless people and charging them for it?

Hon PAULA BENNETT: We are the first Government to put more than $41 million into emergency housing and give them certainty of funding and make sure—[Interruption]

Mr SPEAKER: Order! There is absolutely no point in the Minister continuing the answer if Mr Twyford does not want to hear it.

Hon PAULA BENNETT: I would like to continue my answer, though.

Mr SPEAKER: Well, there is no point with that sort of level of noise being raised, and I am very tempted to—[Interruption] Order! I am very tempted to move immediately to the next question. There is very little point in supplementary questions being asked when that sort of barrage occurs. I will allow the member, on this occasion, to continue with his supplementary questions, but I expect an answer to be heard with far more decorum than it was just a minute ago.

Phil Twyford: Why did she and the Prime Minister work so hard to try to blame homeless people for their plight, instead of doing something credible to fix the housing crisis that she and her colleagues made?

Hon PAULA BENNETT: I know that the facts do not work for the member, but perhaps he would like to listen up to some of them. We are the first Government to put more than $41 million into emergency housing, give certainty of those beds, and increase the number of beds available. We are the first Government to actually be putting that money where it is really needed and addressing those needs as they are.

Leave a comment


  1. Corky

     /  8th June 2016

    All the makings a good Tory PM. Even underarmed ole Phil.

    • Kitty Catkin

       /  8th June 2016

      I wish that he’d stop banging on and on about a minuscule point-it makes him look like a real nitpicker without enough to think about. Does it really matter that much who did what ? He is becoming very irritating indeed.

      • Corky

         /  8th June 2016

        I like your style KC.

        • Kitty Catkin

           /  8th June 2016

          (blushes prettily) Thank you.

          • Gezza

             /  8th June 2016

            I thought Paula got in a pretty good left jab with the crack about Phil apologising to the Chinese and then she would to the Sallies. He might’ve pretended it didn’t hurt but I reckon he was winded. :/

    • Blazer

       /  8th June 2016

      Corky and Gordon!

  2. Don W

     /  8th June 2016

    Perhaps Paula is assuming that she is going to be the future leader of the national party.She doesn’t want to get too cocky.

  3. patupaiarehe

     /  8th June 2016

    The government didn’t create the housing crisis, in the same way that the government doesnt create jobs. Both Twyford & Bennett have no idea of the ‘meathook realities’ that far too many are faced with. As a young single (and employed) man, I lived in my car for 6 months, simply because I wanted to save money. If someone in a suit had banged on my window, I would have told them to FRO too. It was a lifestyle choice for me. That was 20 years ago. But in present day Auckland, it isn’t a choice. Nobody with kids would choose that for their children if they had any alternative. But they don’t. With an average rent of over $500/week, and an average wage of around $20/hour ($800/week BEFORE tax), well, you do the math……

  4. Pete Kane

     /  9th June 2016

    Not the most fortunate of pics.

    • Yes. That’s what Youtube shows, I don’t know if it’s a random frame or someone or some algorithm selects it.

  5. Putting money into ‘Emergency housing’ is not the answer.!!!!..fix the housing situation…long term measures!… look at WHY there is the issue of families living in their vehicles….and then truly and practically address the issue!!!.urg THAT woman is so annoying to me….she is looking all well fed, well dressed on the backs and suffering of the working class, the peoplee!… MMmmmmm!!!

    • PDB

       /  11th June 2016

      “THAT woman is so annoying to me….she is looking all well fed, well dressed on the backs and suffering of the working class, the peoplee!… MMmmmmm!!!

      Don’t be too harsh on Metiria Turei……..

    • Corky

       /  11th June 2016

      Get a life. And back your facts up. Start with how Bennett is living off the backs of the suffering working class.


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