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Parata rewarded for strong showing in Mana

Monday 6 Dec 2010 5:10 p.m.

By Rebecca Wright

First term MP Hekia Parata has been rewarded with a Cabinet minister's post for her strong showing in the Mana by-election.

She will take over the Women's and Ethnic Affairs portfolios of Pansy Wong, who resigned after her husband had been using her subsidised overseas travel perk to conduct business.

Ms Parata's promotion has come early in her career - the list MP has only been in Parliament for two years.

"I am absolutely delighted, and yes it has come sooner than anticipated but that just means that I'll be able to get into the work sooner," she says.

It was Ms Parata's work on the campaign trail in Mana that's catapulted her ahead of more experienced colleagues - Selwyn MP Amy Adams, MP for Tukituki Craig Foss and Government whip Chris Tremain.

It was Ms Wong's downfall which cleared the way.

"I am looking forward to having a coffee with Pansy and catching up with her," says Ms Herata.

It should be Ms Parata's shout too - as a new minister she nearly doubles her salary from an MP's $122,000 to $243,700.

Ms Parata has a year to prove herself in Cabinet, but she's not shying away from the fight in Mana too - she says she will be contesting the seat in next year's election, saying there's unfinished business to do.

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