Parata kept job for being ‘attractive, Maori’
Fri, 25 Jan 2013 9:10a.m.
By Dan Satherley
A leading political commentator says embattled Education Minister Hekia Parata only kept her job in this week's Cabinet reshuffle because she's a Maori woman.
Speaking to Firstline this morning, Bryce Edwards of the University of Otago said Ms Parata was the Government's "most underperforming minister", but as a "relatively attractive woman" she "does wonders for the National Party".
"I think most voters will have noticed that [Prime Minister John] Key got rid of two underperforming ministers, but kept on the most underperforming minister, Parata," says Dr Edwards.
"People will be quite puzzled by that… they'll be looking for an explanation for why that was, and I think they'll be coming up with the answer that it's because she's a Maori woman, frankly."
On Tuesday Mr Key dumped ministers Kate Wilkinson and Phil Heatley from Cabinet, replacing them with Auckland Central MP Nikki Kaye and Tauranga MP Simon Bridges.
He ignored growing calls from school principals and teacher unions to dump Ms Parata, whom last year struggled through a series of controversies in her education portfolio, including class sizes, mergers, charter schools and the ongoing Novopay debacle.
"This government is very vulnerable on being seen as out of touch, and maybe being seen as a club of rich, white, old men, and so they desperately need to modernise," says Mr Edwards.
"John Key wants to modernise the party, make it look like wider New Zealand, but they haven't got a lot of talent there in terms of Maori and women, so they have to keep on Parata."
Associate Education Minister Craig Foss, who held responsibility for Novopay, had his duties stripped and given to Steven Joyce.
Political blogger Cameron Slater says when the Government needs something done, it's always left up to Mr Joyce or his potential leadership rival, Justice Minister Judith Collins.
"Steven Joyce fixes trouble in the National Party," says Mr Slater.
"The only other minister who does that is Judith Collins, so if there's hard things that need doing, then it's either one of them that gets the job."
Mr Edwards says the move shows Mr Joyce has the edge on Ms Collins.
"I think Joyce still has the leading edge, especially with John Key, and that's why John Key keeps giving him the prime jobs and positioning him to take over eventually.
"But watch out for Judith Collins – I think her star is rising too."
Mr Slater isn't sure Novopay will ever be fixed, despite Mr Joyce's appointment.
"I'm not sure that Novopay will ever get fixed, but I'm not sure it's the massive beat-up that the unions have been making out it is. We've got this wonderful tool called Google, and if you start looking up pay issues and disputes with teacher unions, you can see they had exactly the same issues with Datacom over a series of years, and so I just think it's carping unions making the most of an opportunity to kick a hapless Education Minister."
Mr Edwards says Ms Parata will be kept quiet from now – she will be "[rolled] out for the speeches, the photo opportunities et cetera, but I think people will see through it and see it as some kind of positive discrimination by the Prime Minister".
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31/01/2013 1:17:02 p.m.
Parata when is your masterpiece signing off from Government?
31/01/2013 10:55:52 a.m.
Robert M wrote:
Hekia Parata is a stauch maori nationalist determined to provide all Maori and European and others a good quality education. The Ministry of Education and Lesley Longstone have an elite conservative view that your average kid in poor income areas and Christchurch is a waste of time. If there in Aranui the local schools with community emphasis should be closed and the proleatriat concentrated in large sink schools tightly policed and managed to lower exectations to flipping burgers, working in chain stores and sweeping floors and slaving on building sites and in freezing works. The constitutuency that voted Parata English, Smith and Key in, expect more than this. Their somewhat over optimistic about what can be achieved with little Garry and Gennifer, but nevertheless Heika had no option but to block and monotonously repeat mantras when interviewed- because in all concious she could not give a serious straighfaced representation of the Ministry of Education Policy. She had to expose it . And as Heika said the non pay is Karma on the Ministry bureacrats.
29/01/2013 5:25:21 p.m.
And whale oil is the model of right wing balance and a trustworthy voice of reason? I tried Googling these issues about Datacom and payroll issues and found one article dating back to 2008. Not exactly a Union beat up that he confidently claimed. Looks like he is just too lazy to do any real work. Then again why let the truth get in the way of his prejudices.
29/01/2013 12:09:18 p.m.
Teachers are Labour / Socilaist driven so any drivel along the lines of thse claims should be discounted - simply stirring.
29/01/2013 9:34:57 a.m.
@ S because forbes magazine is a good choice. Statistically we rank twelfth in the OECD http://www.stats.govt.nz/browse_for_stats/government_finance/central_government/nz-in-the-oecd/education.aspx Parata was a muppet before she got tthe education portfolio and trying hard not to sound racist but to me it looks like she kept her job for being Maori and nothing else.
27/01/2013 10:21:48 p.m.
NZ rated No.1 in the world for education as per Forbes below...can't get much better than that folks! http://www.forbes.com/pictures/mef45jgim/5-new-zealand/
27/01/2013 1:10:39 p.m.
Yep agree with you "katubaldy" she is precious to the party just slogs on no matter what the people of NZ want from their schools and teachers... and then while the teachers are struggling with the emotions of it all they ruin the pay system creating personal finance problems for them which will undoubtedly eat into their morale.Suprising we still have teachers at all! Thankfully due to their caring about the children we do.
27/01/2013 10:38:26 a.m.
When are the elections..PR people PR..Australia has just done it, and appointed an ex Olympian Aboriginal Athlete..Governement are looking in the wrong corners..Key got rid of under performing ministers..he forgot HIMSELF..not a wonder Aotearoa is becoming third world..just listen to the Ball-Heads being interviewed..I'm bloody gorgeous also..but prefer to be abroad...
27/01/2013 7:10:03 a.m.
This is about as lame as bad journalism can get...really? The racist card? It's pathetic. Hekia Parata has been the blunt instrument that Joe Key wants in place to hammer down the MoE and push their ridiculous agenda....like the irate CHCH teacher said, "schools are not businesses, they are schools". As far as Joe Key is concerned she's been doing fine at ignoring the protests and forging on with their misguided proposals and that's the main factor in keeping her on at the job...."because she's a relatively attractive Maori woman"....give me a break brother...red herring rubbish for fools to fuss over. Bryce Edwards must have a fairly secure job at Otago U if he can make idiotic statements like this one.
26/01/2013 1:20:55 a.m.
Always playing the race card aye? I'm no fan of Hekia and I believe she needs to go but perhaps Wilikinson and Heatly were even more damaging to the Govt.
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