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Doubling down on Parata disaster

Written By: - Date published: 7:14 am, January 18th, 2013 - 42 comments
Categories: education, Hekia parata, national - Tags: ,

Hekia Parata has been a disaster as Minister of Education. Everything she touched last year turned to rubbish. And yet, as widely reported, Key has stated that she will keep the portfolio in his coming reshuffle. Here’s the 3 News account:

Parata doing a good job, Key says

Prime Minister John Key says embattled Education Minister Hekia Parata is safe in her job, despite a horror year in 2012 and calls for her to lose the portfolio. …

Ms Parata presided over a backdown on increasing average class sizes, closing a number of Christchurch schools, and the High Court ruling a decision to close a special needs school in Nelson illegal. She also saw her education secretary Lesley Longstone resign over their strained relationship. Both Labour and the Greens say she should lose her portfolio.

But Mr Key was still backing her, and even described her as a good communicator. “There were some mistakes made in 2012, I think she would acknowledge that. I think equally, she has done a lot of good things. “I am confident she can do the job. There’s a big range of issues we need to deal with when it comes to education. “I think she will take away some learnings [sic] from 2012.”

Protecting the incompetent Parata is a further sign that Key’s government is well in to sclerotic middle age. Key is either out of touch with the mess Parata has made, or more interested in defending Parata (and by implication the decision he made to put her there) than he is competence and accountability.

In some ways it’s good news for education though. Given the Nats’ damaging plans for the sector, I’d rather have the well-tarnished and clearly erratic Parata making a mess of them than some other Minister getting them through.


42 comments on “Doubling down on Parata disaster”

  1. higherstandard 1

    Key should have been up front and said

    “Well at least she can’t get any worserer.”

    • dan1 1.1

      If Parata was one of the best three communicators (according to Key), who were the other two? The mind boggles!

    • Fran 1.2

      No she can’t get any worserer because she has had learnings. Sadly a police spokesperson recently has also had learnings although all have been unclear about the exact nature of said learnings but I suspect they done these learnings on much things and now think they are real good.

  2. I really struggle with this. I don’t think I have ever witnessed such mind numbing incompetence in a Minister, ever.

    The only consistent thing about Parata’s performance is that she has been offside and has upset the teachers unions.

    Perhaps that is why she is staying? Perhaps out there in swing voter land there is a virtue in the Government being tough on the teachers? After all there is an anti intellectual belligerence in parts of New Zealand that I struggle to understand. And most teachers are also public servants and ergo to some nothing but a drain on private wealth.

    • higherstandard 2.1

      Mallard, Benson Pope, Brownlee, English, Tizzard……. the list is endless.

      And on your other note – I think most in NZ have a fair amount of time and respect for teachers, but far less time for the PPTA.

      • dan1 2.1.1

        HS, I am interested in your comment re PPTA. For the life of me, I cannot understand the years of negativity to the teacher association. It is voluntary and maintains a very high membership amongst teachers. In what way is it different to the Business Round Table, or the Road Transport Association in pushing policies for their membership.
        The National Party has always managed to get apoplectic about PPTA which feeds through to the media.
        But why?

        • higherstandard

          Hi Dan

          I’m away from the internet until late afternoon but would like to discuss this further with you, I’ll post my thought on this tonight.

          • Colonial Viper

            Yeah time to stick it to the teachers union just like Republican Governor Scott Walker of Wisconsin has done. Then the neolibs (who have such a good history of improving education for all *cough*) can get on with their agenda in peace and quiet.

        • One Tāne Huna

          Why? They insist that education policy be based on best practice, rather than its ability to divert public money to the National Party’s clients.

        • Peter

          I suspect that the Nats hate the PPTA because it’s so damned effective.

        • tracey

          and regarded so differently to the Police Union

        • tracey

          I am pleased to see the Pm is not seriously ill.

          However I can explain his fainting. He just registered that he said competent not incompetent about Parata!

          • Chris

            I thought it was because he had just seen that his new rug is bright red under bright lights.Tosser!

          • Ron

            I have eaten at that restaurant and had no ill effects at all. Still I did not have to swallow keeping an incompetent minister.

            • Fortran

              Good restaurant but what a bill !
              Great, if I can get somebody else to pay next time.

      • toad 2.1.2

        Tizard came close. But Muldoon’s Education Minister Merv Wellington is the only one I can recall to rival her for incompetence. Oh, and perhaps Muldoon’s Transport Minister Colin “Oars” McLachlan

        • millsy

          At least Merv Wellington didnt introduce bulk funding, performance pay, or charter schools, and the school system didnt havre the level of stratification that we have now. Under Wellington’s watch (as well as Amos before him), the children of cleaners and beneficaries still went to the same schools as those of accountants and lawyers, and what’s more, a lot of these schools were on the edge of Housing Corp estates.

          My point being — things can always get worse. And I would rather have Parata than Collins.

        • Murray Olsen

          I’ll see your Merv Wellington and raise you a Ben Couch.

      • millsy 2.1.3

        It is a myth that the teachers are always on strike.

        As far as I know, the teachers have only been on strike in 1996 ,2002, and 2010 (I think). I dont remember any strike invloving the NZEI (They did strike over the ECA in 1991, for one day)

        Right wingers seem to go on about the teachers “always been on strike”. The facts speak otherwise. People like higherstandard hate the PPTA because it advocates for good quality public schools, and an end to the winners and losers school system.

    • georgecom 2.2

      In my memory no Minister has decimated their reputation to such an extent inside a year as Parata.

  3. Mel 3

    I had to admit I thought John Key was having a laugh at the public’s expense calling her a ‘good communicator’. On what planet is the obfuscating spin she repeats even remotely connected to communication?

  4. irascible 4

    Apparently the other two good communicators are: Bennett and Joyce.

  5. outofbed 5

    Good communicator? Perhaps he is measuring her against Shearer

  6. bad12 7

    I didn’t think Slippery would give His pet Parrot Parata the kick, i watched the body language between them during the Mana by-election and considering the likelihood of the ex-trading floor functionary being a likely candidate to appropriately wear the title psycho/sociopath Parata would seem to be what passes in the complex equation that makes up that ones intellect, a ‘friend’,

    The depth of that ‘friendship’ is anyone’s guess, mine would be it’s one of mutual co-dependence and i think Slippery keeping Parata in a reasonably high Cabinet position tells us that the number of supporters He has in the Cabinet has dwindled to a number where His opposition within the National Cabinet is able to make Him uncomfortable enough so as to not want to upset what may be a delicate balance,

    As far as oppositional politics goes Slippery has just handed all the opposition Party’s a bonus for the year, Parata a known quantity struggles with any question that requires a deeper intelligence than what She possesses,( really shallow if you exclude Her huge un-tapped reservoir of rat-cunning), and if i was Labour i would actually task 2 MP’s to continually pick at and unsettle the Minister,

    My view, good one Slippery keep Parata right where She is, the longer She stays in the role the more votes will be lost, Parata being one of those gems of a Minister that everyone from the University Professor to the most blatant of Red-necks can find something that they don’t like about Her…

    • ak 7.1

      Credit where credit’s due but, Baddie: Slippery and the Parrot both gained mana by backing away from the Brash hatemongering.

      But that’s as far as it went. Now the limits of sticking one’s oleaginous tongue out and letting the wind blow enless streams of vacuous inanity are catching up for both; as brilliantly portrayed in the Dimpost Hekiaaaaaargh! post linked to by Queenie above.

      It’s a national and National affliction that has plagued us for decades. And finally, mercifully, shows signs of being recognised for the snakeoil routine it is.

      As an entertaining exercise, endure any of a multitude of “great communcators” efforts, wait for the applause and murmurs of “great speaker” to die down, then pose the question “yes but what did she actually say?” The facial reactions can be priceless.

    • bad12 7.2

      PS, when i allude to Slippery’s opposition within the National Government Cabinet don’t get me wrong, such opposition is not one of a ‘directional/policy’ nature, for the Tory’s it’s simply a matter of the continual shuffle in the quest for Power…

    • Ron 7.3

      His problem with Parata is that she is married to a former Dominion Councillor of the Party. If you cannot look after the family of party officials then whats the point of being in the party.

  7. Leopold the Viper 8

    “Blackmail’s such an ugly word, John. Let’s just say I keep my job and you keep your public reputation…”

  8. KJT 9

    Any National education minister has to be destructive as far as public education is concerned.

    Parata is very competent in the desired role. Making public education dysfunctional, so an extremely dysfunctional, private sector can compete.

    She is also stupid enough to be the disposable fall guy when the public figures out the goals.

  9. fabregas4 10

    Key makes the mistake in thinking at this is the ‘us versus union’ chestnut. My feeling is that the general public:
    1. Clearly recognise Parata’s incompetence.
    2. Dislike her haughty and dismissive manner.
    3. Support and appreciate their schools and their teachers more than Key and Parata understand.
    4. Think that schools are generally pretty good but aren’t that happy about the big picture in education (they understand that (some) schools stuggle for money for example but blame central govt not their local school).

    Schools will ride out this govt. As always they will keep working for the children as the govt and ministry fiddles. National Standards being an excellent example. Several commentatotors of late have spoken about how they are now embedded and the battle won by the govt. This could not be further from the truth and when they go at the next change of govt not a soul will notice.

  10. Chris 11

    parata will find it very difficult in Parliament without lockwood smith to give her the answers.

  11. tracey 12

    I think Lockwood’s departure will probably make question time easier for the govt not harder

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