In a surprise to no-one, John Key has appointed 3 time election loser Hekia Parata as the replacement for the latest of his corrupt ministers to walk the plank – Pansy Wong. I’m hoping Parata will be less of a disgrace than Wong. It wouldn’t be hard, she would just have to actually try to answer questions in the House and actually do something about the wage gaps.
Reinstating the Pay and Employment Equity Plan of Action and the Pay and Employment Equity Unit would be a start.
She could make a proper response to the gender inequalities outlined in the Human Rights Commission’s New Zealand Census of Women’s Participation, which her disgraced predecessor dismissed as “not new issues”. While she’s at it, she should launch an investigation into why the gender gap has grown under National, according to the Global Gender Gap Report.
As Ethnic Affairs Minister, she could investigate the shocking plunges in Maori and Pacific Island incomes – down 11.5% under National for Maori and 19% for Pacific Islanders.
She should open an investigation into the Taeaomanino Trust too.
She could also release the details of the former ministers’ activities during her astonishing 10 overseas trips while minister. I assume Parata won’t find she needs to travel to China once every five months in her new roles.
And, finally, I would recommend that Parata doesn’t get too comfortable. She’s got another Mana race to lose in about 8 months (I dare say that with 3 losses under her belt – Wellington Central 2002, Mana 2008 and 2010 – she’s already the least electorally-popular Cabinet Minister ever). And she may well find that she’s out of Cabinet along with the rest of her lot too.