What is it about Paula Bennett whose blood belts though her arteries and seems to end up coagulating in her brain.

Our Tourism Minister's recommending we say thanks for service with our wallets, tipping those who provide it.

She argues people come to this country to experience our beautiful landscapes and beaches and they leave talking about the wonderful people they meet here.

Now few could argue with that, but many of them leave, refreshed that we're not a culture clutching the begging bowl.

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Bennett's encouraging people to dip into their pockets at the end of a meal or at the conclusion of a taxi ride if they want standards to continue to improve.

But how about paying our wait staff and taxi drivers a decent living wage?

We're already paying 15 per cent into the Government's coffers through GST.

But it seems whether we like it or not a tipping culture is gradually gaining ground in this country with a number of restaurants presenting the bill, with plea from the plastic, asking whether you want to add a tip or not and often suggesting the percentage.

If you don't tip you leave somehow feeling they've been short changed, but then that's probably got more to do with Catholic guilt.

It was refreshing in Japan last week to be in a country where tipping is actually frowned on because their staff are well paid.

And in Hong Kong trying to offload leftover cash to an airport porter, who'd been complaining about the cost of living in a country where waiting for a state house takes between seven and ten years, was impossible.

Paula Bennett is encouraging people to dip into their pockets at the end of a meal or at the conclusion of a taxi ride. Photo / Greg Bowker
Paula Bennett is encouraging people to dip into their pockets at the end of a meal or at the conclusion of a taxi ride. Photo / Greg Bowker

He politely declined and that was a nice memory to take away.

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Compare that to the black economy in the United States where tipping is mandatory.

You're forever calculating how much 15 to 20 per cent adds up to.

It certainly does not add up to good service from my experience Stateside, and I've had plenty of it.

So to take up Bennett's case, feel free to tip but don't feel obliged.

Recently I took her to task for buying caged eggs, using the excuse that bacon and egg pies are her signature dish and she bakes plenty of them.

She sent me a delicious pie with a big B baked into the top, probably meaning bastard, but it was a delicious example of her culinary skills.

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So this time perhaps a handsome tip could be making its way south, although I suspect the only tip she'll be offering is to get me to explain how she's the best asset Bill English could ever have.