I never lied to get the benefit - Paula Bennett
Deputy Prime Minister Paula Bennett says she is certain that she's never committed benefit fraud and it's "distasteful" that people are scraping through her past.
"I just find it kind of distasteful that people want to go back and look at someone's private life to nearly 30 years ago and start kind of dragging that up," she said on Tuesday morning.
Asked if she'd ever committed benefit fraud Ms Bennett said "no" and the fact Green Party co-leader Metiria Turei admitted it didn't mean every beneficiary should be faced with those allegations. Regarding Ms Turei's admission of benefit fraud she said "it's her business what she's done."
- Metiria Turei will pay WINZ if she's asked, but doesn't regret lying
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Ms Bennett is a former beneficiary and single mother, as well as the former Minister of Social Development. Although she says she didn't lie while receiving the benefit, she admitted it wasn't easy to live on.
"I don't think it was easy, and it's not easy and that was a long time ago. I don't ever think that being on a benefit was easy then and it isn't now for people."
She said people can get by with careful management.
"What you do find and certainly what I found when I was a minister, it's people who get themselves into debt or have really unexpected big costs that really knock them around and that's why you have special needs grants to help people through particularly bad times.
"I'm really, really proud of the woman I am and yes she's been a bit of a journey getting here - well I'll own all of it because like so many women I've worked hard. "