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Shearer questions PM's judgement over Parata

Wednesday 23 Jan 2013 9:34 a.m.

Hekia Parata

Hekia Parata

Labour leader David Shearer says he doesn't understand Prime Minister John Key's motivations for keeping Hekia Parata as Minister of Education.

Ms Parata kept her job in yesterday's Cabinet reshuffle, despite a difficult year. Other ministers sent to be struggling, such as Phil Heatley (housing) and Kate Wilkinson (conservation), were dropped.

And despite holding a number of portfolios already, Steven Joyce has been tapped to fix the Novopay debacle.

Mr Shearer says Prime Minister John Key's Cabinet reshuffle was designed to "deflect attention by changing the people but actually without any new ideas".

"Why is it that Hekia Parata has actually survived when other ministers are being dumped, given her track record last year? Education is in complete disarray, from class sizes, charter schools, performance pay, the Christchurch school closures – all of those were disasters that show Hekia Parata was not on top of her portfolio."

He doesn't believe Mr Joyce will have much luck with Novopay.

"Steven Joyce has been given yet another portfolio – he's already got a couple of dozen, or whatever it is – to try and fix this. He won't be able to fix it either, I don't believe, and I can tell you we will be out to make sure he does his job on this because there are teachers who are not being paid and having to spend time dealing with pay issues rather than dealing with issues in the classroom."

Mr Shearer says Ms Parata must be a "favourite" of the Prime Minister's to keep her job.

Former Associate Education Minister Craig Foss has been replaced by young Auckland Central MP Nikki Kaye, who moves up from the back benches.

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