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Bennett’s flying visit to Masterton

MP for Wairarapa Alastair Scott, Deputy Prime Minister Paula Bennett and Wairarapa Police Area Commander Inspector Donna Howard in Masterton. PHOTO/CHELSEA BOYLE

By Chelsea Boyle

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Deputy Prime Minister Paula Bennett was in Masterton yesterday checking in on the local police force but discussion on other matters was not off the table.

Speaking to the Times Age she said she did not advocate lying to get the benefit.

The issue had arisen last week after Green Party co-leader Metiria Turei revealed she had lied to Work and Income as a young solo mother to receive more benefits.

Ms Turei was on the Domestic Purposes Benefit from 1993 to 1998.

The Social Development Ministry is investigating the case.

Ms Bennett said the benefit went up last year by $25 a week and there was also a special needs grant available to those in need.

“Go talk to your case manager — the staff here are fantastic, they want to help anyone,” she said.

On emergency housing, Ms Bennett said the Government was currently spending about a million dollars a week on it.

“We are picking up the bill,” Ms Bennett said, adding: “We didn’t know how much it would cost.”

But they would be supporting people in “dire circumstances”.

Wairarapa MP Alastair Scott said there were currently about eight people in emergency housing.

Ms Bennett, who is also the Police Minister said the National Party had delivered on its promise to put more police on the front line.

A $500 million investment had been made for additional police officers allowing for 140 more rural officers across the country, she said.

Overall, 1125 more police staff would be recruited over the next four years, including 880 sworn officers on the front line.

Two weeks ago, Ms Bennett welcomed the first new recruits to police college.

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