Hon Paula Bennett
Paula lives in Waitakere, West Auckland, and has lived in the City of Sails since 1992. She grew up in Taupo.
Paula raised her daughter single-handedly. She worked in hospitality, secretarial and retail roles. Realising her opportunities were limited without an education, Paula went to Massey University as an adult student. Although she originally studied social work, she ended up with a degree in social policy.
Paula has worked in human resources and recruitment with a variety of clients across various industries, from banking and finance to manufacturing. Her rapid promotion saw her managing an Auckland human resources company before resigning to pursue a career in politics.
Her mantra? "Self-belief - with a dose of hard work - can make anything possible."
Paula became a National Member of Parliament in September 2005. After three years in Opposition as a list MP, the public of Waitakere - her "Westies" chose her as their electorate MP and representative in Wellington.
Paula is passionate about ensuring a brighter future for all New Zealanders. As the Minister for Social Development, she believes she's been give a great opportunity to affect positive change in people's lives, the lives of their families and their communities.