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Deputy Prime Minister Paula Bennett talks ambition and life at home

Why she can't - and won't - apologise.
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The Deputy Prime Minister talks candidly to NEXT about ambition, her new role, and why she won’t apologise to her critics.

On losing John Key as a colleague:

“I just wanted to be in that moment and reflect. We aren’t ‘weekend friends’, so I felt like I really was losing him. But there was no time to reflect as much as I wanted to, because it did move very quickly to what’s next – and did I want to put my hand up?”

On women being open about being ambitious:

“I think they should be comfortable enough that if they are looking for their next step, they voice that… and take opportunities and make opportunities for themselves where they can. And we do have a tendency to talk ourselves out of it – we need to be talking ourselves into it more.”

On taking on her critics:

“If they need to be angry with someone, I can take it. I’ve got a pretty strong inner sense of self. But I do think that for a lot of people, they sit there and go, ‘Well, it’s fine for her to say, she’s doing so well.’ Well… I can’t apologise for where I am. And I certainly won’t apologise for some of the changes I’m making and the things I believe in for people. But I do get that not everyone likes it.”

On not regretting her infamous ‘Zip it, sweetie’ line to Labour MP Jacinda Ardern:

“It wasn’t meant to be offensive – and she didn’t take it offensively. It was a quick quip, with a bit of fun to it. I tell you, I can walk into a classroom and the kids can tell me to ‘Zip it, sweetie’. So if that’s become a little bit of a put-down or a fun statement, well I actually think it’s a nicer way to do it than some of the language I hear, quite frankly.

For the full story, see the latest issue of NEXT, which is on sale with with two different covers, featuring Ali Pugh and Victoria Beckham

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