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The Standard

All in the family

Written By: - Date published: 11:52 am, February 26th, 2012 - 91 comments
Categories: public services, scoundrels - Tags:

A couple of months after Hekia Parata was promoted to Education Minister (seemingly solely on her showing in Mana, certainly not on the strength of her performance as Acting Energy Minister), her sister has been promoted to a very senior position in the Ministry of Education created especially for her with no open selection process, below only the Nats’ UK import who now heads the ministry having previously championed the failed charter schools programme over there.

It seems a lot of the Parata clan are experiencing good fortune lately – her husband got a sweet gig ‘explaining’ asset sales to iwi, and several relatives got jobs in her ministerial office.

Political appointments to boards are one (undesirable) thing – at least they have a political function. Nepotism in public service roles is quite another.

Still, they say Parata has quite a record of personal grievances taken by staff – maybe her family are the only people who will work for her.

91 comments on “All in the family”

  1. fabregas4 1

    Lets just wonder about the hallabaloo that would ensue if I appointed my sister as Deputy principal at my school – when the school didn’t have a Deputy principals role and there was no open job selection process!

    • happynz 1.1

      Yup. Imagine the blowback.

      The situation in other countries must be dire when New Zealand is held up as a model of transparency and corruption-free governance.

    • grumpy 1.2

      Surely, as an education professional, you knew she had been appointed since 2007?

  2. fender 2

    This robotic-retoric-reciting plastic woman is a crook so therefore fits in very nicely with Key and his band of nation-wrecking fuckwits.

  3. CnrJoe 3

    oh Heckled Pariah, how I wish you were still cheerleading for Petrobras in our Ngati Porou homeland. ^miss*u

    • marsman 3.1

      CnrJoe I was in your homeland over XMas and Parata’s name came up re Petrobras and I was told ‘cousin Hekia is an arsehole’.

      • Colonial Viper 3.1.1

        Well whoever said that is probably just envious that they didnt get gifted a high paid Ministerial position.

        • marsman 3.1.1.1

          C V . No not at all, they were thinking of their ancestral fishing grounds and how Hekia was trying to shit on them.

          • Colonial Viper 3.1.1.1.1

            Sorry MM, I probably should have used /sarc tags.

            Thanks for the info.

          • Macro 3.1.1.1.2

            I was fortunate enough to go to the earth day event last year at the Auckland Town Hall where James Hansen was the guest speaker and Ngati Porou were present seeking support for their stance and protest. Ianmac’s comment about H Parata’s speech was interesting because the main speaker for Ngati Porou was a young woman with a young child on her hip and she was outstanding!
            There is a long hard fight ahead of us all, here in the Coromandel, on the East Coast, and on the South West coast.
            The sooner this shower are gone the better.

    • muzza 3.2

      http://www.gisborneherald.co.nz/article/?id=22251

      Yeah like a bad case of jock itch, only she will be harder to get rid of.

      It how we roll in NZ – No corruption here…

  4. ianmac 4

    I was very impressed with Minister of Education Parata’s 17 minute speech to a teachers conference in January. A full on fluent structured speech full of passion and flair and not a note in sight! So as a public speaker she is magnificent. Can’t think of any MP from any party who could do it better.

    However, the subtle hint of Education upheavals to come lurks beneath the fluent delivery. There is probably a ruthless streak at work there, which will make Tolley look like a pansy.
    And Nepotism is a gnat to to her progress and instantly treated with thumb squirting disdain.

    • Colonial Viper 4.1

      Parata is not to be underestimated. Unlike Tolley, who could never be underestimated.

    • fender 4.2

      IMO she looks better suited to endorsing useless products in infomercials than something important like education.

  5. fabregas4 5

    Any state servant laws broken here – if the position wasn’t advertised? (have to say her sister is well thought of – mostly).

  6. deemac 6

    in the UK they have finally banned the use of relatives as publicly-funded political assistants after several high profile cases of abuse of the system. The fact that many MPs employed relatives quite properly is beside the point – the public lost cofidence when they saw the rorts.

    • Macro 6.1

      Something we could well adopt here!
      And as an addendum – all the “hangers on” and mates as well.
      Both sides are as guilty of it – but this is an outstanding example of nepotism.

      • grumpy 6.1.1

        ….but……she is not employed by the Minister but by the Ministry – there is a subtle difference, but hey, let’s not let the truth get in the way of a good story.

        • Anne 6.1.1.1

          let’s not let the truth get in the way of a good story.

          I agree. Like Hekia Parata’s claim it had nothing to do with her. Nah, of course not. The ministry appointed the sister of their political boss quite by chance. I mean, they didna even not know she was the boss’s sister?

          Pull the other one!

          • Grumpy 6.1.1.1.1

            Yet according to fabregas, she is highly regarded. Are you saying she should not have got the job because she is Hekia’s sister?

            Some families just seem to be full of high fliers, surely something for others to aspire to.

            • Macro 6.1.1.1.1.1

              The post wasn’t even advertised.
              It’s a senior appointment.
              The minister actually has a say in such appointments.
              What part of Nepotism don’t you understand?

              • Anne

                The post wasn’t even advertised.

                Worse than than that. It didn’t exist. It was created for Madam Minister’s sister. Former Deputy Secretary, Rawiri Bell appears, at best, to have been shunted sideways to make way for Apryll Parata… at worst, demoted to an inferior position.

                It was not about who was the best or most deserving person for the job. Ms Parata may be competent and have experience, but she got it on the basis of who she was. Disgraceful.

                • seeker

                  Spot on Anne. However, I think “disgraceful” is an understatement and am trying to think of a more semantically robust and yet accurate descriptor of this abhorrent situation. It appears to be another little uncivilised, self serving, mordor-formed gem from Key’s unsavoury government.

                  • Anne

                    You may consider “disgraceful” an understatement seeker, but I can assure you it was typed with considerable vehemence – like… bashing the keyboard. :)

                    • grumpy

                      I suggest you save your “disgraceful” for Chris Carter. How could he appoint to a high position, a person who was the sister of a future National Cabinet Minister?? Had he no idea??? Did the name “Madeline Setchell” mean nothing to him.

                      Hardly any wonder he’s been banished to Kabul (a job he got, apparently, entirely on his own merits).

                    • seeker

                      Understand totally Anne. Hope your key board survived the “brought on by more distasteful – cunning -conniving- national government behaviour” onslaught!!!

                • Macro

                  Yes you are right Anne – I forgot to add that to the list.
                  I just can’t understand why Key hasn’t wheeled Ms Parata into his office and asked what the heck is going on? It reeks!

                  • Draco T Bastard

                    I just can’t understand why Key hasn’t wheeled Ms Parata into his office and asked what the heck is going on?

                    Because he knows exactly what’s going on (nepotism) and fully supports it. In NActs world it’s all about looking after your family and your retainers/masters and screwing everybody else.

                    • grumpy

                      Turns out she’s been in the job since 2007 …….

                      Quotation from Greens spokesperson Catherine Delahunty:

                      “It’s not someone who is coming in from the outside with no knowledge. It does become interesting when it’s two sisters running the Ministry of Education because it does sound to the public like it puts power in the hands of one family.”

                      She said her main concern was about the direction the ministry was taking, not the personnel.

                      Looks like Greens are OK, just Labour because of her sister – anyone remember Madeline Setchell????????????

                    • Draco T Bastard

                      Turns out she’s been in the job since 2007

                      If it’s the same job then why is it portrayed as a as a new position?

                      There are two points that make the appointment dodgy:
                      1.) It wasn’t advertised
                      2.) The possibility that the minister had a hand in the appointment.

                      She said her main concern was about the direction the ministry was taking, not the personnel.

                      And here’s me thinking that it was the personnel who drove the direction…

                    • seeker

                      +1 unfortunately DTB. Having worked for the Director Education Practice at Gardiner Parata Ltd since 1997 she will be used to business and education and be perfect at assisting in facilitating the setting up of Charter schools

  7. Macro 7

    Quite frankly this is conscionable behaviour.
    Where is our Media?
    Where are the ethical standards of a Prime Minister who allows this sort of thing to occur? Oh! that’s right! I forgot there aren’t any for this “shower”.
    The sooner this lot are out of office the better.

  8. Zetetic 8

    course, the real irony is that Tories are all anti-public service until they can use it to suck on the taxpayers’ teat

    • Macro 8.1

      Exactly! – but that’s all they are interested in is it not? Themselves.

    • Colonial Viper 8.2

      Yep same as subsidies and welfare for corporates and the rich. No problem with any of those.

    • burt 8.3

      Zetetic

      I’m absolutely behind you 100% of the way.

      But while we are about resetting the bar lets discuss what that means, and how we have it stay reset next time your team take the levers and they themselves suckle from the teat of good family fortune.

      Perhaps we could audit the appointments and if any are found to be inappropriate then, well then… , um I guess people could just pay the money back and move on?

      • Macro 8.3.1

        I think we ALL agree on this burt.
        UK have legislation forbidding such practice and we should follow suit.
        And as I suggested earlier, mates and hangers on as well.

  9. Santi 9

    I expect the brave PSA to jump at her defense. Wait a minute…..

    • Colonial Viper 9.1

      Why? Which of Parata’s relatives is losing their public service job?

      • muzza 9.1.1

        Given her background, it seems they are continuing a long running lineage of public service…

        She was also a Senior Executive Fellow at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.

        Guess some people are just more likely to be in charge of the rif raf than others eh!

    • burt 9.2

      Santi

      Is she a member ?

  10. Rif Raf, do you hear that, I wonder how far up into the National Government that expression comes from as it is the same language my daughter uses as to why National are better to govern.

    She got a university education under Labour, and quickly went up the ranks as she is good at her job. But now we her family are not of the right class so we don’t see her anymore, I guess we are the rif raf, interesting that it is the same terminology, and both come under to John Keys favored few.

  11. james 111 11

    I smell a rat alright not a good look. Reminds when Anette King was Health Minister ,and her husband suddenly began to pick up a whole lot of Health Board contracts.
    These Politicians once they have their snout in the trough they just keep feeding. Thats why we dont want 120 of them

    • Draco T Bastard 11.1

      james the turd proves that he’s a moron – again.

      It’s not the number of MPs that allows them to get away with nepotism but the inscrutability. Quite simply, the public doesn’t know enough to hold them to account.

    • Zetetic 11.2

      if anything, fewer MPs would reduce accountability because each MP and minister would be more powerful and Parliament’s checks and balances would be reduced.

    • Kotahi Tane Huna 11.3

      You can’t even get your puerile bullshit right. Lind was the Chief Operation Officer of Hawkes Bay Health Board. He didn’t tender for any “contracts”.

      Refresh your memory, and please try and keep up.

      The only aspect of your remark that passes the reality check is that Parata’s behaviour is “not a good look”. Sometimes it’s better to keep quiet and be thought a fool that speak up and remove all doubt.

  12. james 111 12

    Yup Kotahi Lind got fed all the good oil so he could pick up the contract. Then Cunliffe fired Hausmann because he knew to much and went to the media. Some of us have good memories not locked in by ideaology. Their snouts in the trough so deep talk about conflicts of interest just like Paratas guess it goes to shw the Labour isnt as white as driven snow in this area im sure I can find some more instances if you want them

    • Descendant Of Smith 12.1

      You mean like this one James.
      http://tvnz.co.nz/national-news/call-2-4m-govt-contract-scrutinised-4188236
      No doubt this useless white middle-class parenting program will have been received by all white middle class parents by now – though I’m not sure why my copy hasn’t arrived.
      And of course no connection between the National Party and Parents Inc is there?
      Greg Sheehan CA
      He is a former general manager of the National Party and the Auckland based charity Parent’s Inc.

      • happynz 12.1.1

        Yeah, I remember that whole ‘Tool Box for Parenting’ thing. Paula Bennett’s excuses were about as lame as can be.

        Yeah, I think it is a good idea to re-visit the article linked in the post above. This thing stinks. Has anyone seen any of these toolboxes? Has then been any reviews about the effectiveness of the toolboxes?

        Social Development Minister Paula Bennett said there was no need to go to tender, as Parents Inc had exactly what the Government wanted.

        “They have got the product that we really want for this,” she said.

        “It is really the toolbox that we are buying and no one else has it, so if we put it out for tender someone else would have to create something which is already there.”

        The chief executive of Parents Inc is Bruce Pilbrow who was appointed by Bennett to the Families Commission two years ago

        His resignation from the Government-appointed Families Commission was announced last Tuesday, just two days before the contract was revealed in the Budget.

        Bennett said this was a coincidence.

        “He had absolutely no idea that he was getting this contract so there was no correlation there, in fact when he said he was resigning I obviously knew he was but I couldn’t say to him ‘this was might look a little bit funny’ because he didn’t know so he had to resign at his own will and at his own timing,” she said.

        Pilbrow said he actually told the Minister he wanted to resign from the commission six months ago but he agreed to stay while a new chief executive was appointed.

        He said the award of the contract is the result of hard work building the reputation of the Tool Box.

        “Like any good CEO I have built relationships over the last couple of years,” he said.
        http://tvnz.co.nz/national-news/call-2-4m-govt-contract-scrutinised-4188236

        What’s Pilbrow been up to with his CEO bad-self and how well is he doing? (bloody well with a couple of million, I reckon)

        Any feedback on the effectiveness of that toolbox?

        I swear, what an absolute abuse of taxpayer money.

    • Kotahi Tane Huna 12.2

      James111 I’m sure you can find any number of ways to whine and bleat about how “Labour did it too”; that’s why I used the word “puerile.”

  13. grumpy 13

    I call bullshit on this. She hasn’t been promoted, she is one of 7 Deputy Secretaries and was appointed by Labour in 2007.

    Your information is crap.

  14. grumpy 14

    Well, it now appears she was appointed by none other that the Hon. Chris Carter. I don’t think they are related – do you?

  15. Red Rosa 15

    The UK takes the biscuit for corruption stories this week….

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2012/feb/25/a4e-welfare-emma-harrison-properties

    Breathtaking. I guess NZ just on a smaller scale.

    • Colonial Viper 15.1

      the failure of the Tory government’s contracting out of unemployment services is even more breathtaking. Halving the rate at which the long term unemployed find jobs since the Tories started their corporate ‘workfare’ bull shit is bad.

    • grumpy 15.2

      I didn’t even know Chris had moved on from the UN…………

  16. Colonial Viper 16

    UK’s privatised school academies do worse than state schools

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/education/2012/feb/25/academny-schools-fewer-gcses-study

    Geez these tories and their hairbrained connivances are shit for kids.

    • grumpy 16.1

      Just as well Chris appointed someone who really knew their stuff eh?

      …and just think, it was way back in 2007……………….

  17. grumpy 17

    Hello??????? …..anybody here??????

    • Descendant Of Smith 17.2

      Deputy Secretary Māori Education: Apryll Parata
       
      Apryll took up the role of Deputy Secretary Māori Education in late February 2007, bringing a wealth of experience in education to this position.
       
      She has taught and held management positions in a number of secondary schools on the East Coast and in the Wairarapa.
       
      Apryll has a BA in Māori Studies from Waikato University and a Diploma of Secondary Teaching. As well as being a teacher she has been Principal of Ngata Memorial College in Ruatoria, a Private Secretary to a Minister of the Crown and has also been the Director Education Practice at Gardiner Parata Ltd since 1997.
       
      Some of her work as a consultant has included working in the area of Maori medium education, and facilitating reviews of planning processes at Te Puni Kokiri.

      Apryll has tribal affiliations with Ngati Porou and Ngai Tahu.

      I’m half on grumpys side – she has been around a while in education at a senior level. The bit I’m not is – I can’t see why if it is not a Ministerial appointment why it wouldn’t be an advertised position.

      • Brooklyn 17.2.1

        Arguably because there wasn’t really a vacancy, the Dep Secs had their portfolios reshuffled as the rest of the organization was reorganized and they took this opportunity to move sis to an inward facing position to avoid potential conflict of interest. No promotion, Just a stupid non-story born of lazy journalism.

  18. fabregas4 18

    All this stuff about Nationals Standards and Charter Schools – this lot say it is because of failing schools and dodgy teachers and principals – now it is the Boards too – if this is true why is most of the western world going down this line – to failure after failure – trying to catch up with us.

  19. Brooklyn 19

    This Story is a load of kak. Apryll Parata’s former position at the MoE, to which she was appointed during the Labour administration, reported directly to the secretary of Education. She’s been moved sideways to a position where she will not be offering advice to the minister. This is not the only inaccuracy in the Herald article.

  20. Ianupnorth 20

    Funny how no-one has remembered Bill English’s brother was gifted a job ‘restructuring’ the Ministry of health – an area he had no knowledge or experience of….

    • felix 20.1

      He was from fed farmers though, so plenty of experience at being a blinkered neo-lib ideologue. Which pretty much matches the job requirements.

    • Colonial Viper 20.2

      yeah the MoH is a shell of what it was three years ago…many senior experienced people who haven’t been pushed have decided to leave ahead of the inevitable. Many to well paying public sector positions in Oz.

  21. Whis i nu sumbody dat wos in gud job,cos i wudnt av to aply fer it,wudnt need cv,
    wudnt need refres,i wud b part of da dweem team,how gud wud dat b (:

  22. hateatea 22

    Simple fact checking would have quickly ascertained that Apryll Parata, a well respected educator has been employed by the Ministry of Education since 2007, while Hekia Parata entered Parliament in 2008 but didn’t become Minister of Education until late 2011.

    I know nothing of other family members being employed by Ms Parata but I agree that the use of Sir Wira Gardiner by the Government to facilitate the hui with iwi was stunningly bad judgement by the PM or whoever decides such things.

    Please note, I am far from being an admirer of Hekia Parata but it would be great if we fact checked just a little for beating her over the head about something that was nothing to do with her 

  23. Adele 23

    Yes, lay off the bashing. I can’t help but think that Parata also being Māori adds fuel to the flame of outraged indignation. Nepotism = Māori like giving jobs to the whanau.

    Thank you Brooklyn for clarifying the story behind the media-spin – which raises another annoyance.

    We all know that the media cannot be relied on for accuracy or fair comment. So in this particular matter why was the media made gospel? Pūkana to the hypocrisy.

    • Anne 23.1

      I can’t help but think that Parata also being Māori adds fuel to the flame of outraged indignation.

      Rubbish Adele. It has nothing to do with Hekia Parata being Maori. But it has everything to do with the arrogant, bumptious political ideology – and the sense of entitlement it gives them – that she and her Nat. Party colleagues have embraced with open arms.

      • muzza 23.1.1

        Well said Anne, Adele is simply out of order using the race card, and hence gets a big F.O from this end! Shame on you Adele, and you forgot to mention, its because she is a Maori Woman, so of course, that we here are all sexists. Maybe she prefers the company of women, and is hard of hearing or partially sighted , all off which of course can be used as diversionary excuses, for the continuation of close quater political appointments, which continues the long standing abuse, regardless of which colour the party flag is!

      • Adele 23.1.2

        Tēnā koe, Anne

        Do not preach to me from some holier than thou place. Fairness is hardly your forte. It seems that neither Hekia or Apryll Parata have acted inappropriately.

        Nepotism it is not – yet you want to continue to crucify both these women like some vengeful nun. Where do you get your sense of entitlement? God?

  24. james 111 24

    Well done Grumpy for exposing the facts no one else will say it! Its strange how quiet it went on here after that.

    I have always said that Chris Carter had alot to answer for aside from his Travel expenses , and poor detectable letter writing skills LMFAO

  25. grumpy 25

    …our work here is done…..now we go to save Open Mike……………

  26. Erima 26

    You guys should do your research properly. Hekia’s sister was the Deputy Secretary Maori in the Ministry of Education long before Hekia every became Minister. What has occurred is a need to avoid a conflict of interest between the Minister and her sister, so the sister has been moved to a position that better reflects that separation and avoids conflict of interest. TRY HARDER TO GET THINGS RIGHT PLEASE

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    GreensBy Eugenie Sage MP
    2 weeks ago
  • Super Fund should divest $140 million in high risk coal
    The Green Party is calling on the New Zealand Super Fund to divest their $140 million investment in coal companies that are vulnerable to becoming financially stranded according to a damning new report from Oxford University. The Smith School of… ...
    GreensBy Russel Norman MP
    2 weeks ago
  • Learn to count with Mark Osborne: 0 + 1 = ?
    The adage about the first casualty of war being truth is one that might often be applied to the political battle for hearts and minds, and of course votes. A rather unfortunate example of this has been arriving in the… ...
    GreensBy David Clendon MP
    2 weeks ago
  • Is it still a safety net when the holes are this big?
    Over the last few weeks I’ve been wondering how safe our income support system is for people, especially those with cognitive or learning disabilities. I’ve been trying to support a young man who was severely injured in a workplace accident… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    2 weeks ago
  • Pasifika – protecting the Pacific needed now more than ever.
    Over the weekend thousands of Aucklanders flocked to celebrate our city’s diverse Pacific communities and cultures at the annual Pasifika festival and the Greens were there to join them. The Pasifika festival has been held every year for 23… ...
    GreensBy Denise Roche MP
    2 weeks ago

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