Paula Bennett is definitely a kiwi chick, with a strong accent. She came from humble beginnings – leaving school at 17, pregnant, and with no qualifications. Paula found her way from Taupo to Auckland, she was in and out of trouble and seemingly going no where until she started working at a rest home and finally got to mingle with some strong women who encouraged (or pushed) her to go to University.
Now Paula leads some of the most important and controversial Ministries in New Zealand’s Government. The Hon Paula Bennett is Minster for Social Development and Employment, Minister for Disability Issues, and Minister of Youth Affairs. Despite being a National Party member she seems personable and has come a long way through her own hard work, all while raising her daughter single handedly. Paula also has a killer sense of style, all of her pictures demonstrate an ability to dress well for her age and shape. The shoes she wore tonight had me pretty distracted.
One thing that really stuck out in Paula’s talk was the differences in our attitudes towards workers, hardly surprising as I’m left wing and she’s a right wing politician (note for the Americans – New Zealand’s right wing is probably equivalent to your left, there isn’t a huge amount of difference between our two main parties). Paula referred to the current economic recession as something that is likely to change the way people look at work as a whole. That it is going to make people more protective of their jobs, and that finally people will start working hard instead of thinking they can get everything handed to them on a plate. She referred to a young client she had while working as a recruitment agent. He had just finished university with top marks and she thought he sounded great and asked him to come in for an interview. His response was something along the lines of I don’t do interviews. She thought this was hilarious, and seemed to think that kids these days wouldn’t know hard work if it smacked them in the face.
I’m all for hard work, but you can’t expect your employees to be interested in making your business amazing if you treat them like shit. A salary is not enough anymore, people are not willing to be worker bees doing their 40 hours loyally for 40 years. If you really want great staff, you need to work with them and offer a stimulating environment. If, however you’re fine with hiring machines carry on with the I pay you so now you’re my bitch attitude.
Paula’s a Westie, but she’s still a National Party member. Actually the more I read about her and think about her, the less I like her.