Paula Bennett admits to binge-watching comedian Tom Sainsbury's parody videos of her

Paula Bennett has admitted to binge-watching a comedian's parody videos of her and even thanked him for giving her access to a new generation of fans. 

Bennett, the National Party's deputy leader, said she's frequently approached by members of the public about the videos, telling express magazine it's had an impact on her daily life. 

"When they come up to take a selfie I ask if it's because they're a Tom Sainsbury fan... and it gives me the opportunity to engage with them," Bennett told the LGBTIQ+ magazine. 

Sainsbury, an Auckland-based comedian and writer, posed alongside Bennett for the January issue of express magazine - Bennett striking a pose in a bright purple gown. 

"The gal loves publicity!" Sainsbury told the magazine, when asked if he was surprised that Bennett was willing to partake in the photo-shoot with him. 

The comedian - who boasts more than 63,000 followers on his Facebook page - is known for his impersonations of Bennett and other characters using Snapchat photo filters. 

In his most recent video impersonating Bennett, Sainsbury sports a grey wig and acts out a skit poking fun at the National MP after she displayed a bag of herbs in Parliament during a debate on cannabis law reform. 

Tom Sainsbury and Paula Bennett pose for express magazine.
Tom Sainsbury and Paula Bennett pose for express magazine. Photo credit: express magazine / Danilo Santana David

Bennett, who was first elected to Parliament in 2005 as a list MP, told express she enjoys watching Sainsbury's skits and even binge-watches them some Friday nights with a glass of wine. 

The National MP said members of the public will stop her in the street and say, "Have you seen the latest [video]?" 

She told the magazine: "They literally talk to me like it's me doing it... I haven't seen all of them, but I appreciate his humour and I've never found him cruel."

The pair first met each other back in 2017, with video showing Bennett laughing as Sainsbury apologised for making the public believe she's obsessed with paninis and bowl lattes.  

Sainsbury's impersonations of Bennett have often included a high-pitch "hi sweeties". 

Bennett hit back with her own video in 2017 making fun of Sainsbury's impersonations. The video featured Bennett in a car with her "besties" Amy Adams, Nikki Kaye and Maggie Barry - all National MPs. 

Bennett described Sainsbury to express as "extremely clever".   

The National Party deputy leader is currently the MP for Upper Harbour but announced in August last year that she will not be standing in the electorate at the next election. 

Bennett was appointed as National's campaign chair for the 2020 election and said the role will be a "massive commitment" and one that she wants to give "100 percent" of herself to. 

"As such I won't be seeking re-election as the MP for Upper Harbour but will be on the National Party's List."

Bennett's express magazine cover feature follows recent criticism of Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern from critics who claimed she was spending too much time doing photo-shoots instead of her job. 

Bennett and Ardern have both featured on the cover of NEXT magazine.