Paula Bennett returns after 'life-changing' surgery

National deputy leader Paula Bennett says she's feeling "100 percent better" following gastric bypass surgery over the summer break.

She decided to make the surgery public because she knew people would speculate when Parliament returned.

"I didn't really want the innuendo and gossip. I'm known for being a bit upfront and blunt so I just thought I'd put it out there that I'd done that and then people won't guess whether I'm sick or I'd had surgery."

"I feel great. I feel so much better. I'm part-way through what I think is going to be a lifetime journey I hope of being a little bit healthier," she said at Parliament on Tuesday.

"It's only been a few weeks but it's already kind of life changing, in just how active I am and just how much healthier I am and some of the corners that I've turned.

Ms Bennett said she feels "incredibly privileged" that she was able to afford to pay for the major surgery.

"I certainly have a whole lot of sympathy for those that can't," she said.

Ms Bennett said she understood people could access publicly funded gastric bypass surgery, but she's "not an expert" and wasn't sure whether it was enough to meet demand.

"I certainly understand those calls for more public funding."


Contact Newshub with your story tips: