Weight loss Benefit

People lose weight for lots of reasons: to improve their health, to look good, to increase their chances of promotion. Paula Bennett has so far indicated that her reasons for undergoing gastric bypass surgery were all to do with her health. Good on her for that. There is no doubt that the results have been dramatic. She claims to have lost 50 kilograms to date, which is a huge amount of weight.

Could there be another reason though? Let’s just take a look back at some very recent history.

When Simon Bridges’ expenses were leaked, Jami-Lee Ross was blamed, but Paula Bennett was in charge of the investigation into the leak, even though she had opposed an inquiry in the first place.

No actual data from phones was collected; only phone accounts were investigated. No Whatsapp messages or any other messaging app data was collected or viewed.

Circumstantial phone account details then seemed to point the finger at Ross. However, he has always denied being the leaker, and the leaks have continued. Quote.

The Next magazine cover shoot and story was released this month, but would have been organised around late November, or possibly earlier, which was right in the middle of the Jami-Lee Ross saga.

End quote.

Then over the summer, there have been a number of Facebook posts, such as one of her handing over her old clothes to charity. Not much in itself, but it is a way of keeping her profile high over the holiday period.

She has also become very close to Mark Mitchell, who tells anyone who asks that he is loyal to Paula… not to Simon Bridges.

I guess the next question you have to ask is one we often ask on this blog – cui bono? Who benefits? (Excuse the pun. Fully intended.)

Who benefits from Simon Bridges being undermined?

Who was in charge of the investigation into the leaks?

Could she be setting up Simon Bridges, while pretending to help him?

Which other politician do we know who spends a lot of time on photo shoots, and is regularly on magazine covers?

The dramatic weight loss, while a good story in itself, has been an enormous opportunity for Paula Bennett to raise her profile considerably, and to gain empathy from the general public at the same time. Everyone loves a success story, particularly where hard work is involved and, in this world where obesity is a real problem, a story like this will always gain traction, particularly from a high profile politician.

Or should I say from a politician who wants her profile to be even higher.

Simon Bridges needs to watch out. It could be that his deputy is positioning herself for a crack at the leadership, while pretending to be on his side all the time.

The caucus meeting in Hamilton in a couple of weeks time could be interesting…particularly if Melanie Read decides to tell the truth about her interviews.