'Apologies about the bowl latte and paninis' – funnyman Tom Sainsbury meets Paula Bennett for first time on TVNZ's Poker Face

National Party MP Paula Bennett has met her match (literally), on set of TVNZ's comedy Poker Face.

For the first time ever Ms Bennett came face-to-face with  'Snapchat dude' Tom Sainsbury, known for his satirical videos impersonating politicians. 

Sainsbury told 1 NEWS he thought Ms Bennett would hate him if they met, saying he thought "that she'd have me killed. That I needed to back out."

The comedian's been sharing political satire videos about New Zealand politicians for a year and a half, the character that resonated most with his followers was the bowl latte drinking, panini eating, Paula Bennett.

The pair had talked before, and Ms Bennett shared several of her own response videos to Facebook during the 2017 election campaign, but they'd never met in real life... until now.

"Actually seeing her in person, after watching so much footage of her, was surreal. And there she was interacting with me. But she was very gracious."

When asked if his impersonations will improve after meeting her, Sainsbury said: "Hell yes."

"I got some great snippets from our interaction: Her relationship with grey hair, the way she holds her gaze, her laugh."

In the series, available on TVNZ OnDemand, comedians and celebrities face off to win money for charities of their choice. 

The comedian gets three rounds to show their best work and try to make the celeb crack a smile. 

This week's showdown was between Ms Bennett and Sainsbury.

Ms Bennett managed to keep a both a straight face for two of the rounds, earning $500 for her chosen charity, Grandparents Raising Grandchildren and Sainsbury won the last, earning $500 for SAFE.  

You can watch the full Poker Face episode on TVNZ OnDemand here.



'Government coming apart at the seams' says Simon Bridges as second minister gone

National Party Leader Simon bridges says today's dumping of Customs Minister Meka Whaitiri shows more weak leadership by the Prime Minister, leading to a weak Government which is "coming apart at the seams".

Less than a year in Government, two ministers are now gone after Jacinda Ardern today axed Ms Whaitiri following a Ministerial Services report on an incident last month in which she was alleged to have assaulted a staff member during an event in Gisborne.

It comes after the MP was accused of assaulting a staff member in Gisborne. Source: 1 NEWS

Clare Curran quit her remaining ministerial roles about two weeks ago after being rattled in Parliament over questions about her use of personal email for Government business, and having already been stripped of two portfolios over undeclared meetings.

Mr Bridges says today's sacking of Ms Whaitiri is more weak leadership leading to a weak government. 

"I mean we've not had a ongoing series of chaos and sagas, whether it's been Curran, now Whaitiri, and of course managing or not managing as the case may be Winston Peters," the National Party leader said. 

"The Prime Minister has to take responsibility for that weak leadership. If we look at Meka Whaitiri, what's happened here is very clear. Nothing has changed. She's known the facts about an alleged incident now for week, but just like with Curran she has dithered and mucked around and she should have dealt with this much more early," he said.

Ms Whaitiri will stay on as the MP for Ikaroa-Rāwhiti and Mr Bridges says that's a question for the Prime Minister.

"I think the reality is she still has leadership roles here. She's still chairing a caucus committee, and that's not good enough," he said.

"Still there's basic questions that I'm sure the Prime Minister knows but she won't answer, like whether there's been other incidents, what has happened here. She should have got to the bottom of this and dealt with this a long time ago."

Mr Bridges said Ms Ardern has not been strong enough on the matter.

"This has been weak leadership and weak government. It's why we're seeing the Government coming apart at the seams, you know around two ministers in a couple of weeks, around a coalition where they can't get agreement on basic things, this is yet more evidence of something that could have been dealt with decisively and strongly but has been weak," Mr Bridges said.

The National Party leader says the axing of Meka Whaitiri is more slow, weak leadership leading to weak government. Source: 1 NEWS

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Watch: Phil Twyford slams Judith Collins' attitude to compo for Housing NZ tenants evicted under bogus meth testing

Housing Minister Phil Twyford has hit back at hardline questions from National MP Judith Collins about today's decision by Housing New Zealand to compensate hundreds of tenants it evicted from state homes on the basis of bogus methamphetamine testing.

A report to the Minister found about 800 tenants suffered as a result of Housing New Zealand's policy of evicting tenants for using P or allowing its use in their homes.

Affected tenants are expected to receive between $2500 and $3000 in compensation. 

In Parliament Ms Collins asked where meth testing showed residues exceeding standards, could this meth have gotten into the Housing New Zealand house any way other than smoking or baking the drug.

"No," Mr Twyford replied. "But there was no consistent baseline testing done in any Housing New Zealand houses over those years," he added. 

"There is no way of knowing whether the hundreds of people who were made homeless under this policy had any personal responsibility for the contamination of those houses. And frankly I'm shocked that the member, who used to be a lawyer, would think that that is ok. Is this the modern compassionate face of the National Party?"

Ms Collins then asked will people who smoked meth in Housing New Zealand houses now be given two to three thousand dollars compensation.

"The point of the compensation is to compensate people who wrongly had their tenancies terminated and their possessions destroyed and in some cases made homeless. Those are the people who will receive payment under the assistance programme," Mr Twyford replied.

Ms Collins asked will people who sold meth in Housing New Zealand houses now be given the compensation.

"No," Mr Twyford replied, to shouts from National MPs of "How would you know? How would you know?"

Earlier in the exchange, Ms Collins asked was the Minister saying it's wrong to end a tenancy when someone is using the house to break the law.

"We're saying that it's wrong to make innocent people homeless on the basis of bogus science and no decent evidence of responsibility or culpability," Mr Twyford responded. 

"Hundreds of people were made homeless under this policy, people that in some cases were vulnerable, people with addictions who were made homeless. The worse possible thing that you could do to someone who has an addiction is to make them homeless," he said.

Asked by Ms Collins is it acceptable for Housing New Zealand tenants to smoke methamphetamine in state houses, Mr Twyford said the Government does not condone the smoking of methamphetamine anywhere, but it is not acceptable for any government to throw tenants onto the street and make them homeless. 

"We recognise that making people homeless does not solve a tenant's problems or help someone overcome addiction. It just moves the problem to somewhere else and makes it worse for the person involved, for their family, their children, the community and the taxpayer," he said.

The Housing Minister defended the compensation decision against the National MP's hardline questions. Source: 1 NEWS

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Judith Collins savages decision to compensate Housing NZ tenants evicted over meth contamination

Compensating Housing NZ tenants who were evicted for using methamphetamine or allowing its use in their homes is a “disgrace,” National’s Judith Collins has said.

Mrs Collins said it was unacceptable that taxpayer money was being used to compensate former tenants who were evicted because of their "criminal activity".

“People were evicted from their houses by Housing New Zealand based on the standards of the day which was all around the health testing for methamphetamine contamination,” Mrs Collins said.

“Government had to take the advice of experts which were Housing NZ, Ministry of Health, MBIE, all the people who are the experts on this.”

“To now compensate people, 800 people, who were evicted from homes because they were smoking methamphetamine or allowing their houses to be used for it is an absolute outrage.”

“They’re being compensated with taxpayer money because of their criminal activity and that is not at all acceptable.”

The Housing NZ board will not be sacked over the methamphetamine contamination “fiasco”, the housing minister said. Source: 1 NEWS

This morning, Housing Minister Phil Twyford said the meth contamination scandal was a failure of the previous government and National had already paid for it because “they are no longer ministers”.

“Housing NZ is committed to redressing the hardship these tenants faced. This will be done on a case by case basis and the organisation will look to reimburse costs tenants incurred, and make discretionary grants to cover expenses such as moving costs and furniture replacement,” he said.

READ MORE: Housing NZ board won't be sacked over meth contamination 'fiasco'

Mrs Collins stood by the policies of the ministers in the National government, saying they were acting on the best advice at the time.

“Housing NZ made their decisions based on the evidence at the time and I absolutely support the fact that the ministers had to do what they had to do based on that evidence.”

Certain tenants should not be let back in, including those who had sold P from their homes, Mrs Collins maintained.

“Some people should not be back in state houses because they were using their state houses for criminal activity, not just in some cases smoking methamphetamine or allowing their houses to be used for it, but actually for cooking it and selling it and these are now people who are apparently going to get compensation.”

Mrs Collins rejected the view that addiction was a health issue for those tenants who had manufactured the drug at Housing NZ properties.

“I don’t believe for a moment that using your house for methamphetamine consumption, cooking it up, and selling from it is something that is a health issue, that’s a criminal activity.”

National’s housing spokesperson savaged the decision to compensate Housing NZ tenants who were evicted for using P or allowing its use in their homes. Source: 1 NEWS


'It is what it is' - PM accepts world media attention could turn to Neve during UN trip

When Jacinda Ardern arrives in New York next week for her first United Nations General Assembly meeting, she's under no illusions she'll be able to focus solely on issues of national significance without fielding multiple questions about motherhood.

"Are you comfortable with pictures being taken and used in newspapers around the world?" 1 NEWS political editor Jessica Mutch McKay asked the Prime Minister in a one-on-one interview today.

Ms Ardern will be taking her daughter with her and plans to juggle responsibilities just like any working mum would, she said. But her schedule, which will include multiple keynote addresses and media appearances, will be more rigorous than an average business trip.

"I accept that by being in office and being the second woman to have a child in office that that's interesting, that's unusual," she said.

"There will be a day when it's not anymore, when it won't be seen as an extraordinary thing, and I look forward to that day. But for now, it is what it is."

Ms Ardern says she will try to keep Neve in her vicinity while working and be "discrete" while caring for her between engagements in an attempt to protect her privacy, as she has done in New Zealand since returning from maternity leave in August.

She said she hasn't given it much thought as to whether her unique situation has given her a larger platform on the world stage.

Climate change, big interviews and baby Neve were all on the agenda for the pair. Source: 1 NEWS

She suggested she won't be surprised if motherhood comes up during her scheduled media appearances, which include the Today Show, Late Night with Stephen Colbert and an interview with CNN's Christiane Amanpour.

"It's hard for me to quantify how much of that (international attention) is based on the interest in the fact that I'm a mum now," she said.

"I certainly make sure that when those opportunities arise, though, I come squarely back not to my personal issues but to the role that New Zealand can play on the international stage.

"The values we advocate. The things that are of New Zealand's interest, not just mine."

When Jacinda Ardern travels to New York next week, she’ll be taking her newborn with her. Source: 1 NEWS