Parliament opens, Paula Bennett's diary 'nowhere near as full'

Long Lunch 30/01/2018
Bill English & Paula Bennett. Credit: File.

Parliament has officially opened for the year.

Paula Bennett, National's deputy leader joined Wendyl Nissen on The Long Lunch with the party's hopes for the year.

She says it's a big year for the National party.

"It's a whole different role for us.

"We're concentrating on, hopefully, the things that matter to New Zealand.

"For me, and for most of our caucus, education tops the list. And then looking at where business confidence is at," she told RadioLIVE.

"It's of real concern for us.

Bennett says National will be focused on the economy and jobs, child poverty, and mental health.

She says education is at the top of the party's priority list because it affects all New Zealanders.

"Everything filters from it. If we don't educate our kids right, then we can't have the jobs in the future or they're not equipped for them.

"That's why I always think it has to be at the centre of just about everything," she said.

"Opposition should be holding them to account for it. 

"And I've got serious concerns about some of the things that are happening in it at the moment. It feels like it's almost being dumbed down, the unions are completely taking over.

The National party was in government for nine years. Bennett told Wendyl Nissen it feels "very different" being on the other side of parliament.

"Trust me, my diary is nowhere near as full as it was.

"Personally it's great, professionally it sucks," she said, laughing.

Listen to the full interview with Paula Bennett above.

Afternoon Talk with Wendyl Nissen, 12pm - 3pm on RadioLIVE and streaming live to the rova app on Android and iPhone.