What I like about Hekia Parata is that’s she’s proof that image doesn’t always triumph over substance. The Nats thought that as a good-looking Maori woman she ticked all their PR boxes. But, she’s been a PR disaster because she’s arrogant and ignorant. She keeps on making bad, poorly worked-through calls. And the whole government gets dragged through the muck with her.
This latest example must have Key ready to sack her. A court has found Parata acted illegally when she ordered Salisbury School for girls with special needs in Nelson to close and planned to send some of the girls to a similar boys’ school in Christchurch.
Parata acted with disregard for the safety of those girls by ignoring evidence that they were seven times more likely to be sexually abused in a co-ed environment. How Parata could ignore the sexual abuse issue, which is serious in these types of residential schools for young people with special needs, is beyond belief.
Cather Delahunty is right. Parata’s “out of her depth”.