Paula Bennett, National
Healthy Homes & Insulation
National voted against Labour’s Healthy Homes Guarantee Bill, which sets higher standards for insulation in both public and private rentals.
National, however, supported a bill of their own requiring more insulation and fire alarms.
The National government also rolled out a programme to subsidise insulation, but the scheme is due to be halted, despite researchers saying it has a 6:1 benefit to cost ratio.
Single Parents & Benefit Reform
In 2012, Bennett oversaw sweeping changes to solo-parent benefits, including the introduction of part-time work testing for sole parents of children aged five years and older and full-time work testing for sole parents of children aged 14 years and over. More reforms in 2013 included requiring solo mothers claiming a benefit to return to work when their child is 12 months old, if their older children are aged over five.
In 2009, Bennett introduced further restrictions to the training incentive allowance, which pays for single parents’ further education.
Working for Families
National voted against Labour’s 2004 Working for Families Bill which gives more social support to middle- and low-income families with children, but in subsequent budgets, including 2015, increased the payments for low-income families and those on benefits by around $25 a week.
National voted for the Support for Children in Hardship Bill 2015, which which forced beneficiary parents to seek part-time work when their children turned three and raised benefits for families with children by around $25 a week.