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Solo mothers brought personal touch to Bennett reforms

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National’s Māori development spokesperson, Jo Hayes, says outgoing former deputy leader Paula Bennett will be remembered for her six years as welfare minister.

Ms Bennett announced yesterday she was retiring from politics.

Her critics accused the former teenage solo mother of pulling the ladder up behind her with her reforms targeting beneficiaries and sole parents.

But Ms Hayes says it was actually about giving solo mothers their independence.

"I mean I was a solo mother as well. I vowed and declared I would never stay on the benefit, I would get off it, and I've worked hard to get off it but not everybody is as motivated as myself or even Paula to do that but I think she did a great job in the social development space. Everything John Key threw at her, she grasped it with both hands and really took to it and really made a fist of all the portfolios," she says.

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