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Paula entered parliament in 2005 as a list MP, and her maiden speech in the House outlined many of the values she continues to fight for today, in particular, her desire to see New Zealanders succeed and thrive.

In 2008, Paula won the Waitakere seat and was appointed to cabinet as Minister of Social Development, Employment, Disabilities, and Youth Affairs. She steered some major reforms through these challenging portfolios in the midst of the Global Financial Crisis, including innovative social welfare reforms that aimed to put kiwis back in the driver’s seat of their lives.   

Before becoming National’s Deputy Leader and Deputy Prime Minister in 2017, Paula also held the Ministerial portfolios of Women, Police and State Services.  

In opposition, Paula remains MP for Upper Harbour. She continues to drive policy across Women and Drug reform.

Outside of Parliament, Paula lives in West Auckland with her husband, cat and various children and grandchildren all of which seem to come and go as they please. Since becoming a Celebrant, she has added wedding officiation to her range of hobbies, which include fishing, cooking, music, and a cold chardonnay.