TODAY |

Paula Bennett didn't give Todd Muller the 'option' to change her mind about retirement

National MP Paula Bennett may have told a popular comedian she was going to retire before telling her boss.

Your playlist will load after this ad

The former deputy prime minister spoke to Breakfast’s John Campbell about her regrets and what comes next. Source: Breakfast

At 11am yesterday, Ms Bennett announced she would be retiring after 15 years in politics. At the same time, Tom Sainsbury posted a video of the two of them discussing her departure.

Today Breakfast host John Campbell suggested Ms Bennett told the comedian before National leader Todd Muller, saying, "Don't bullsh*t a bullsh*tter!"

In response Ms Bennett laughed and said the accusation wasn't fair.

"Todd knew I was going, he just probably didn't know the timing," she told Campbell.

"To be fair, I didn't make up my mind firmly that it was going to be yesterday until Sunday.

"Todd has known that I am highly likely to be leaving, I just didn't tell him the day."

Read More
Tom Sainsbury boogies with Paula Bennett as she announces departure from politics

As for whether he tried to convince her to stay?

"I didn't give him that option, to be fair. I absolutely had made up my mind and I was going," Ms Bennett says.

"But he was extremely gracious and he was genuine in that, I have no doubt."

Ms Bennett was the deputy leader of National until she and then-leader Simon Bridges were rolled by Mr Muller and new deputy Nikki Kaye in May.

After losing her position, Ms Bennett was bumped down the party list to 13 and stripped of her role as campaign chair.

Despite being at number 13, Ms Bennett was the highest-ranked Māori MP on the party's list. The next Māori candidate is Shane Reti, at number 17.

Read More
National's Paula Bennett to leave Parliament at election - 'A hell of a ride'

While on Breakfast this morning, Ms Bennett said she was confident her departure wouldn't leave a representative vacuum.

As a former solo teenage mother, she pointed to Louise Upston as another party candidate who has similar experiences.

"You'll be surprised at some of the depth in our caucus," Ms Bennett says, adding that she didn't want to speak for other people.

She also reflected on her previous history in politics, including acknowledging the party "should have been faster" dealing with the housing crisis and sharing her reasoning behind the controversial welfare reforms she championed.

"I want to look back and be quite proud of what I've achieved."