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Paula confused over Peter, says Green MP

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media
Catherine Delahunty
Catherine Delahunty

Wellington, May 5 NZPA - Social Development Minister Paula Bennett has been forced to explain a confusing situation involving two men with the same name and similar academic backgrounds -- but only one of whom is a Welfare Working Group appointee.

Professor Peter Saunders was appointed last month by Ms Bennett to help examine long term welfare dependence and identify causes and solutions.

Green Party MP Catherine Delahunty said in Parliament last week he was known to have some extreme views, including one linking low average intelligence with low class.

Ms Bennett responded by saying she didn't agree with everything Prof Saunders said. She said he had something to offer the group and suggested fellow MPs read his book, Welfare to Work in Practice.

Ms Delahunty pointed out in Parliament today that book was in fact written by another Professor Peter Saunders -- from the University of New South Wales.

"The differences are great between Peter Saunders of the University of New South Wales and the Peter Saunders who describes himself as a freelance consultant and independent author," Ms Delahunty said.

"One wants to reduce poverty and inequality, the other wants to increase poverty and inequality. I am not sure which one (Ms Bennett) thinks she appointed as an adviser to the Welfare Working Group but I am guessing it is the freelance Peter Saunders,"

Ms Bennett released a statement to clear up confusion, saying "I can assure you, we got the right man".

She said both professors studied in England, both were based in Sydney at the same time and both had continued to lecture on social policy and welfare and had written books on the topic.

"This clearly creates potential for mistaken identity," Ms Bennett said.

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