Paula Bennett 'gutted' by leak

Paula Bennett (Newshub. / file)
Paula Bennett (Newshub. / file)

Social Housing Minister Paula Bennett says she's "gutted" a staff member in her office leaked information to a journalist about Te Puea marae chair Hurimoana Dennis.

Ms Bennett met with Mr Dennis on Friday about the Government helping the marae, which has been taking in homeless families.

Mr Dennis, a police inspector, told her he was under investigation by police, and that he'd also been stood down from work.

Yesterday it was revealed one of Ms Bennett's staff had shared the information with media.

She said she had "absolutely no knowledge" that one of her staff members had spoken to a journalist.

"I'm gutted. It's not at all what I want to see happening," Ms Bennett says.

"It's just not appropriate and not something I would stand by and not something I would do."

She said the member of staff thought the information was public when they spoke to the journalist, and no one would be sacked over the incident.

"A really harsh lesson has been learnt by someone about the conversations you have and where they go."

She said she'd called Mr Dennis to apologise.

But the Green Party has labelled the leak the "worst example of underhanded and unnecessary behaviour".

Social housing spokeswoman Marama Davidson says the Government is undermining the marae's work to help the homeless.

"The fact is, Te Puea Marae has made the Government look bad, and now they’re paying for it.

"Te Puea Marae's work has shown the Government to be uncaring and completely out of touch with what’s happening on the ground in communities like South Auckland," she says.

She says the "petty games" need to stop because it is the Government's responsibility to help those who've been living in cars, garages and on the street.