Audrey Young is the New Zealand Herald’s political editor.

Audrey Young: Bennett asset to Nats

MP Paula Bennett. Photo / APN
MP Paula Bennett. Photo / APN

To understand Paula Bennett's value to the National Party, you just have to see how much Labour can't stand her.

And that is quite a lot, even before she told Jacinda Ardern to "zip it sweetie."

Now there's a new demonstration of her value to the party - the fact that she has the Prime Minister and President's blessing to contest the new Upper Harbour seat.

They gave her their blessing knowing they could have easily offered her security on the party list.

They gave her their blessing knowing it was the ideal seat for the Conservative Party that could be a lifeline for National getting a third term of Government.

They gave her what she wanted - the chance for success in an electorate.

Bennett has huge public appeal and the ability to draw supporters from Labour to National.

She proved that when she won the former Labour stronghold of Waitakere in 2008 and then on a recount in 2011.

She has built a strong party organisation behind her in Waitakere.

She is the antithesis of the National caricature - white, middle-aged businessman.

As a former solo mother, she is the acceptable face of welfare reform.

Her success in the National Party is a potent symbol.

If Paula Bennett did not know the power she has in party before, she must surely know it now.

Debate on this article is now closed.

- NZ Herald

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Audrey Young is the New Zealand Herald’s political editor.

Audrey Young is the New Zealand Herald’s political editor, a job she has held since 2003. She is responsible for the Herald’s Press Gallery team. She first joined the New Zealand Herald in 1988 as a sub-editor after the closure of its tabloid rival, the Auckland Sun. She switched to reporting in 1991 as social welfare and housing reporter. She joined the Herald’s Press Gallery office in 1994. She has previously worked as a journalism tutor at Manukau Technical Institute, as member of the Newspapers in Education unit at Wellington Newspapers and as a teacher in Wellington. She was a union nominee on the Press Council for six years.

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