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.