John Key will no doubt be spending a lot of his summer in Hawaii, dancing, clowning, and hoping to get an invite somewhere from Obama. However, it looks like he will need to spend some time thinking about reshuffling his cabinet.
Nat cheerleader Tracy Watkins is not confident that parata will stay in her portfolio after the summer:
After Mr Key was forced to step in and save the situation, the pressure grew. She was taking a hammering from the Opposition and teacher unions, and the mounting list of blunders over teacher pay roll problems and Christchurch school closures was painting a picture of incompetence. She is understood to have become increasingly hardline in her view that heads should roll.
The likes of Cabinet hard woman Judith Collins would have fronted immediately and carried it off. But it is a sign of her colleagues’ increasing lack of confidence in Ms Parata that she was instead packed off on holiday and told to lay low.
Mr Key also refused to front, suggesting he is still weighing up his options for a Cabinet reshuffle in January and does not want to get backed too far into a corner over his support for Ms Parata retaining the education portfolio.
And in doing so, Watkins also manages to give Collins a vote of confidence over John Key. The Audrey Young also weighs in on Parata, making her look like the embodiment of the Peter Principle: promoted above her current capabilities at the time. However, Young reckons Parata will be given another chance:
She will be spending time with him and their two girls at home on the East Coast before getting back to work in Wellington well before the first cabinet meeting on January 23.
There will be plenty of speculation about whether she will keep education in the reshuffle due in February, following the election of the Speaker. Few people other than political opponents are calling for her head.
And the symbolism of John Key failing his highest ranking Maori MP when her major aim is to prevent Maori failure in education, is probably more than he is willing to face yet.
Highly respected Peter Hughes, formerly of the Ministry of Social Development is to be acting secretary, indicating that Parata will be given another chance to improve confidence in the sector.
Hughes is expected to identify problems in the ministry and address them, changing the culture if he has to. If Parata still has problems after that, then she will be blamed.
Meanwhile, it looks like Key will be happy to wave good-bye to Tim Groser, having nominated him for a WTO job. This won’t be decided until May next year. however, it will be at a time when all eyes will be on the 2014 election, and presumably, Key will be hoping that Groser’s role in NZ selling off NZ, via the TPP, will be nearing its end. See Gordon Campbell’s article on Groser and his projectile vomit dismissal of Kiwi interests.