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Parata replaces Collins and Adams as National’s weakest link

Written By: - Date published: 9:20 am, March 20th, 2014 - 56 comments
Categories: Hekia parata, Judith Collins, national, same old national, you couldn't make this shit up - Tags:

Election years are funny things.  The most accomplished of politicians can make mistakes. And amongst National’s cabinet there have been a few recent examples.

Firstly Crusher Collins self combusts.  Her lack of judgment in engaging in activity while on an official trip to China to speak on corruption which supported a private company of which her husband David Wong Tung is a director of and from who National has received large donations is breathtaking.  It seems that her sense of entitlement shut off her logic chip.

Then news of Amy Adams having some involvement in decisions that will benefit Canterbury farmers including herself hit the public consciousness although in a low key way.

But in terms of stupidity and hubris these episodes have been drowned out by Hekia Parata’s efforts this week.

On Sunday she effectively announced a radical change to school funding policy that would mean that poor schools would almost inevitably have their support cut.  She then tried to back away from this and in Parliament denied saying what was reported.  But the transcript of the interview released after this denial would suggest that reporter Jonathan Milne is right and Parata is … well …

Yesterday things went completely pear shaped for Parata following her claiming that the Kohanga Reo National Trust had been exonerated of claims of inappropriate spending.

The original story was broken by Native Affairs into the running of the Kohanga Reo movement.  The programme was called Feathering the Nest.  Part 2 is here.  The Kohanga Reo National Trust was asked a series of questions in the preparation of the story and responded by seeking a High Court injunction in an attempt to preventing the story from being broadcast.  This tactic backfired as trustees were then obliged to make sworn statements about trust spending.  The Trust eventually backed down.

The investigation concerned spending on credit cards belonging to Te Pātaka Ōhanga Limited which is the trading entity associated with the trust.  Both entities have the same people at the top and the KRNT is the only shareholder of TPO.  The basic concern is that money was being spent for personal benefit rather than on education for kids.  A number of examples were given in the Native Affairs programmes suggesting that the TPO credit card was being used regularly for what appeared to be personal matters.

Parata then called for a review by Ernst and Young.  The terms of reference were to assess the effectiveness of the financial internal controls over public funding received by the Trust.  With the benefit of hindsight these were clearly deficient and the wrong question was asked.  The complaints were about the use of credit cards, not just the spend of the Government grant the Trust.  The report which was released this week did say about credit card use “[w]e reviewed the 2012 credit card returns in detail and noted many returns did not include relevant supporting documentation.”

The circumstances surrounding the release of the E&Y report are incredible.  Despite repeated requests it appears that Parata’s media advisory about the release of the report was not sent to any of the Native Affairs Team even though they were responsible for the original story.  There is more than a slight whiff of sour grapes about this.  And even more incredibly the press conference was called at short notice for 8 pm on a Tuesday night and reporters were given a copy of the report only 10 minutes before they were meant to ask questions.  Tracy Watkins has described the background as follows:

During a press conference on Tuesday night Parata blustered and bullied her way through questions about her assurance that none of the $92 million in public funding allocated to the Kohanga Reo National Trust, or paid to its subsidiary, Te Pataka Ohanga, had been misspent.

After giving reporters 10 minutes to read the report by accountants Ernst & Young, Parata announced: “I am satisfied that public moneys are being expended in the appropriate way.”

When it was eventually pointed out to her that none of the spending relating to wedding dresses or Trelise Cooper outfits had been addressed by the report, she triumphantly told reporters that these matters were never included in the terms of reference.

She insisted, meanwhile, that there were no instances of the subsidiary receiving public money.

It took a Kohanga Reo National Trust board member to eventually confirm that kohanga reo got money from the Ministry of Education and the subsidiary got its money from kohanga reo.

Yesterday’s turnaround where the matter was referred to the Serious Fraud Office for consideration is as complete a political reversal as I have ever witnessed.  Parata has claimed there are new allegations.  Time will tell if she is saying the truth.  The only benefit for the Government is that Parata can now refuse to answer questions on the basis the matter is being investigated but her credibility, or what is left of it, has been severely wounded.

So Hekia Parata has now become National’s weakest link.  And Key has a terrible decision to make.  Does he sack her now and lose face but stop the mishaps or does he continue with her and hope that she makes no further mistakes.  After what has happened this week I suspect that her days are numbered.

56 comments on “Parata replaces Collins and Adams as National’s weakest link”

  1. Lanthanide 1

    Hat-tip to Zorr yesterday in Open Mike, he posted this but it didn’t seem to get much notice since it was late in the day.

    John Key also has links to Oravida and there were photos of him on the Chinese website appearing to endorse their products.

    http://agrihq.co.nz/article/milk-runner-tangles-pm-in-product-endorsement?p=7

  2. Tracey 2

    you can just hear the upper echelons of the national party

    ” this is why we shouldnt have so many women in the party or cabinet.”

    but how does key escape given that simple fact checking catches his numerous lies… as with brownlee? brownlee was minister for pike river but its wilkinson who resigns.

    • mickysavage 2.1

      I suspect that “the left is being sexist” will be used to try and counter this but Parata’s behaviour in particular is just so mindboglingly bad that it has to be commented on. I agree that Brownlee also deserves attention and Kevin Hague yesterday in Parliament made comments about Tony Ryall which deserve to be checked out.

      • Tracey 2.1.1

        agree they all nee calling to account, just interesting to note who gets publically flagellated for some time, by the media and others, and who dont

  3. karol 3

    Now Judith Collins seems to be trying to silence the media, while Key does a PR initiative in support of Oravida. Is it that Key and Collins are throwing Parata to the wolves partly to take some heat off themselves?

    Collins lays complaint with TVNZ. NewstalkZB.

    Judith Collins is fuming over what she’s labelled a “smear piece” from Television New Zealand.

    She’s filed a complaint after One News lead their 6pm bulletin tonight with a story following the allegations over Collins’ meeting with milk company Oravida.

    NZ Herald:

    Mr Key said that what Ms Collins had told him about the dinner was consistent with what she had said in Parliament yesterday. Asked about Ms Collins lodging a formal complaint against TVNZ for its coverage, Mr Key said he had not seen the report in question.

    “In the end I leave ministers to deal with their own situations.”

    • mickysavage 3.1

      Thanks karol.

      I kept wondering about the phrase “consistent with” which Key kept using. This leaves open the possibility that Key was not told everything by Collins. An incomplete description of something can be “consistent with” a more complete description.

      • One Anonymous Bloke 3.1.1

        I figure it means that they’ve colluded on exactly what to say so that they can make literally true statements and yet still mislead the house.

        I think the “incomplete description” is the one Collins is giving Parliament.

    • BM 3.2

      I get the feeling the Labour media division is a bit larger than just the Maori unit.

      Hopefully this formal complaint shakes a few more of the lefty media monkeys out of the TVNZ tree.

      Unbiased public TV/Radio is good for everyone.

  4. Enough is Enough 4

    There is another weak link.

    After the revealtions last night about Key’s corrupt dinners and golf with the Chinese, I think we should focus the blow torch on him.

    I think we have a crack. He must resign over this

    • mickysavage 4.1

      Here is the transcript of part of Key’s recent interview on the Nation:

      Well it’s a small world and a small country, I mean when I played gold for them, it was because I was bought in a charity event, and he bought that charity event and I’ve offered myself up on a number of occasions to do that, rather than dinners, because I’d, frankly rather have the exercise and enjoy playing golf.

      So there’s no great conspiracy there, and people see those photos and they see all that, and as long as there’s transparency as there was in terms of the donations, I mean interestingly enough, Labour Party attacking us for that.

      I have never though of National as being a charity …

      http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PO1403/S00103/patrick-gower-interview-with-prime-minister-john-key.htm

      • veutoviper 4.1.1

        Much as I don’t have much time for Patrick Gower (who is currently in China), he is still on to the “charity” aspect and this morning has filed a blog post on this at http://t.co/WSDOqRsQ2a

        On his Twitter stream he has also put up some tweets about Key and Shi at the dinner last night in China. https://twitter.com/patrickgowernz

        A couple of the tweets in particular are worth “expand”ing for the comments and contributors (eg Cactus Kate and Bevan Cheung amongst others). These ones

        “Just met Oravida owner Stone Shi …”

        “Oravida owner Stone Shi paid money to a charity called the National Party ….

        • Tracey 4.1.1.1

          cldnt find cactus kates, but its amazing to watch nat supporters spinning the nats out of this. some folks need a lesson in rationalisations.

        • David H 4.1.1.2

          On TV3 tonight he did a walk through the Oravida offices just dropped in and what do you know there’s another golf game between Key and Shi. And pics of Collins and key every where. Dunno what they said to Gower to light a fire under him.

          • Clemgeopin 4.1.1.2.1

            Gower walking into the Oravida office uninvited with his cameraman, showing us ALL the shady politicians’ photos on the walls, opening the office fridge to pick the milk bottle etc was a very good journalistic scoop! The poor workers at that office had no clue what was happening! They probably thought Gower was another slimy NZ cabinet minister and served him cups of tea while he was happily exposing their totally discredited outfit and our politicians! Very funny!

      • veutoviper 4.1.2

        MS, I found this post on NRT to the point re the ‘charity’ issue. As I/S says, Key should be more careful ….

        http://www.norightturn.blogspot.co.nz/2014/03/political-parties-are-not-charities.html

        • mickysavage 4.1.2.1

          And Paddy has established there was a second golf game …

          Wonder which charity payment for this game went???

          • Tracey 4.1.2.1.1

            Funny how the pm can recall the second one was in papakura… when you consider how many more important things he claims to have forgotte.

            J collins electorate of course.

          • Anne 4.1.2.1.2

            And here is the new photo

            According to Paddy Gower a donation of $56,000 was forthcoming soon after the game. In other words the charity was the Nat. Party.

            When the video becomes available will post. It’s hilarious! Gower gets the bit between his teeth and never lets go…

              • veutoviper

                I laughed and laughed.

                The worm has turned – or seems to have (the cynic in me is still alive and well).

                Just came back online so must go check out Paddy’s Twitter account and various others.

                • veutoviper

                  Initial report back – Paddy is quiet; but Judith Collins is not a “happy chappy/lady”.

                  Collins and Grant Robertson have been having a “domestic”. with Madam Collins/Wong Tung accusing Robertson of spreading disgusting accusations about her private life! …….

                  https://twitter.com/JudithCollinsMP

                  Forget Reality TV; try reality Twitter.

    • Naki Man 4.2

      Corrupt dinners.
      Are you really that ignorant or are you just pretending to be a total fuckwit.
      You have no understanding of how business is done.
      Typical lefty fuckwit

      • One Anonymous Bloke 4.2.1

        You dumb motherfucker. What part of “politicians doing business” doesn’t ring alarm bells on your planet?

        What does “conflict of interest” mean if not this?

        We need better wingnuts.

        • framu 4.2.1.1

          yeah – ol naki man is a pale shadow compared to your pete george or redbaiter (being the two ends of the wingnut commentor spectrum)

          shit – hes not even a king kong

      • Tracey 4.2.2

        its good to finally see someone on the right that these dinners advanced business interests for collins and/or key.

        well done for seeing through the crap they keep feeding you.

        • Once was Pete 4.2.2.1

          Helen Clark brought the Chinese Premier to a business I was involved in, and this raised our profile tremendously. Obviously we ‘lobbied’ furiously for the opportunity, and we were incredibly grateful for the visit.
          The organisation I was with made it a practice to ‘lunch and dinner’ with a wide variety of politicians, simply for the purpose of ‘staying connected’.
          No graft, no corruption, and no promises or obligations. This is just good sense. We always paid for the lunch or dinner. It is generally accepted that if you invite someone …then you pay. In all the years I have been involved in this practice I have not once witnessed a politician (left, right or centre) behave with any thing but decorum. Some times we entertained guests we had no particular liking for, but it was a ‘broadening’ experience.
          I can see no reason to get exercised by ‘Collins drink of milk’, or her accepting a dinner invite which is paid for, even if her husband is involved with the business enterprise, as long as no favours are granted that would not be extended to other businesses as part of accepted practice.
          Government is frequently in a position to ‘open a door’ or facilitate a contact, and as long as it is done ethically then most Kiwis would want this.
          Most people I talk to see this as a distraction, a non issue, and a deflection from things that really matter.

          • framu 4.2.2.1.1

            did this organisation have an immediate family member as a director, have financial ties to the politicians or other members of same party you dinned with, make large donations to that party, receive immigration assistance from a minister, use the political connection to endorse products, make donations to a “charity” (being the party again), include dining with foreign border officials or use taxpayer funds for any of this?

            thats the whole point

            ” and as long as it is done ethically”

            again – thats the point – this is in a whole different continent to ethicsville

            ” as long as no favours are granted that would not be extended to other businesses as part of accepted practice.” 1) pretty sure thats not what happened re favours, 2) its not accepted practice – thats why the cabinet manual expressly frowns on this sort of thing – because its unacceptable

            im staggered that so many people are making excuses for this – its not about what private business does or lobbies for – its about what MPs are doing

            • One Anonymous Bloke 4.2.2.1.1.1

              OWP, Framu is right: there is absolutely nothing wrong with businesses cultivating political relationships or connections.

              There is a problem with politicians who cultivate business connections, to whit: the politicians can clip the ticket a second time for doing their job, as has happened here: Collins has used her position to get her close family and friends a seat at the top table, at direct financial benefit to her family, not to mention her party.

              If audiences with government ministers are for sale, then pretty soon Kiwis will be priced out of the market.

            • North 4.2.2.1.1.2

              And did your company “donate” $55,000 to each of the parties of the politcians whom you entertained ?

              Use your brain fuckhead. Who sent you here ?

              Smile & Wave & Invoice.

          • Tracey 4.2.2.1.2

            Its exorcised.

            Did helen clarks husband get paid a directors fee by the organization you worked for?

      • freedom 4.2.3

        So you are admitting the PM and Collins are colluding to protect a corrupt system?

        Can’t have it both ways Naki Man

      • Murray Olsen 4.2.4

        I know most of the Randian business heroes you worship couldn’t make enough to buy half a box of used matches without their mates in Wellington arranging for the tickets they clip. That’s how “business” is done under NAct. Seems you’re a bit upset that people are noticing. Well, boohoo.

  5. risildowgtn 5

    There is also Nathan Guy as a weak link re $ and residency

    Not much focus has been on this idiot either

    http://www.radionz.co.nz/news/political/238749/guy-says-he-never-knew-about-party-donation

  6. freedom 7

    All of it seems to distract nicely from whatever this Festival of Education was created for, which on the surface appears to be hyping the introduction of learning labs run from overseas corporates.

    http://www.festivalofeducation.org.nz/
    How much public money has gone into this I wonder?

    There are few groups working as hard as Save our Schools to bring to the attention of the public the difficulties that NZ education is enduring. If only half of what is in this article is true, then surely some serious questions need to be asked of the Minister.

    http://saveourschoolsnz.wordpress.com/2014/03/20/festival-of-education-is-a-glittering-cover-for-something-very-ugly/
    ““There is much to celebrate about New Zealand education but there is nothing to celebrate in this charade of excess.

    “A charade brought you by two commercial companies and the ministry in venomous association.

    “And now the ultimate: education money has gone into this festival obscenity – money that could have gone into helping children with special needs, more teachers to help children with their reading, more money to compensate at school for children’s home backgrounds – yet this money has gone into a mammoth propaganda exercise intended to put public schools more under the heel of those driven by imported education ideologies.”

  7. Clemgeopin 8

    May be Key should simultaneously sack all three of these sad sacks of untruths/half-truths and BS, namely : Parata, Collins, and Adams and create a political accountability world record hat trick. Then resign himself gracefully. What a shameless set of discredited nincompoops!

    • Lanthanide 8.1

      But that’s the problem. Sacking three ministers simultaneously at any time, let alone during election year, is a really bad look. It makes you seem incompetent / corrupt. Key can’t afford that.

    • Tracey 8.2

      guy, brownlee and ryall. if lying and misleading the house etc are the standard

    • Tracey 8.3

      first key lie i recall was his claim to be honest and to answer questions he wasnt even asked. that was to paul henry in 2008. he was promising to hold his team to a higher standard than labour.

      he might throw collins under the bus to look strong and help joyce BUT he cant control slugslick… and slug likes collins.

  8. captain hook 9

    they are all weak links, lowbrows and simpletons to boot.
    The problem is their egotism and vanity and their venality that makes them able to shrug off anything that dosen’t fit their own juvenile fantasies of omnipotence.
    not to worry.
    gone in September.
    Their meddling and muddling is becoming intolerable.

  9. blue leopard (Get Lost GCSB Bill) 10

    Mr Key has no regard for the basic human qualities and principles that our system and society very much depends on to function effectively.

    The occurrences as listed the above article (and many others, such as privacy breaches, education issues, forest and mining disasters, the response to the Rena disaster, the RMA meddling) are not random, unconnected events – they are directly related to Key’s cavalier attitude to the qualities our system is based and depends on. Qualities, for example, such as honesty, conscientiousness, dependability, trust and trustworthiness.

    Little does he appear to have any clue about principles; the reasons behind democratic processes, laws, rules and regulations or even taxes. I am unclear whether he is even aware of, let alone, understands these principles

    The casual attitude Key has toward the very basis of our societal system can be seen in his typically casual mannered ‘throw away’ responses to the very real and many problems that have arisen on his watch.

    These problems arising with Adams, Collins and Parata are symptoms of the poor leadership of Mr Key.

    He is not a good person to be leading the National party – he is putting them to shame.

    He is not a good person to be running our country – he is running us into the ground, with regard to our morale, as well as fiscally.

    He needs to be voted out.

    • Tracey 10.1

      They are not new… smith, worth, wong, heatley, double dipping bill, banks, … anyone else?

  10. captain hook 11

    shifty key.
    going going going gone.

  11. tricledrown 12

    Givem Enough rope and they will hang themselves.

  12. North 13

    From Mickey’s post – “Parata is…..well…..” – a flibbertigibbet ?

    You know there’s something bloody weird and actually quite unsettling about that now quite old picture which accompanies this post.

    Ah……the pull of powerful men ! Heki Pirau Parata will do/say anything to grease up the same.

    Rubbish person ! And so so so undeservedly she’s a cabinet minister ???

  13. Populuxe1 14

    So not that much different to Whanau Ora…

  14. BEATINGTHEBOKS 15

    Parata has to go. A complete muppet. Doesn’t get it. Education is the most significant issue to most New Zealanders. She is asleep at the wheel and always has been. Go, get lost, you are not helping anyone. Buy another pointless jacket which you should feel very comfortable in it, and then waste everyone’s time debating how it’s not vulgar. You have let down the most vulnerable in the country… Maori kids who can’t read. I hope you’re happy. No vote for you. Idiot.

  15. tricledrown 16

    National are looking sick right across the board at the moment Foss has to be the latest fwit of the week.
    His patheticly weak response to

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  • Million dollar houses put homeownership out of reach of middle New Zealand
    35% of New Zealanders now live in places where the average house costs over a million dollars, and it’s killing the Kiwi dream of owning your own place, says Labour’s housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. Latest QV stats show that Queenstown ...
    1 week ago
  • Opportunity for political parties to back Kiwi-made and Kiwi jobs
    The First Reading in Parliament today of his Our Work, Our Future Bill is a chance for political parties to ensure the government buys Kiwi-made more often and backs Kiwi jobs, says Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little. The reading ...
    1 week ago
  • Solid Energy must open the drift
    Solid Energy is showing no moral spine and should not have any legal right to block re-entry into the Pike River drift, says Damien O’Connor MP for West Coast-Tasman.  “Todays failed meeting with  representatives from the state owned company is ...
    1 week ago
  • 20,000 at risk students “missing”
    A briefing to the Minister of Education reveals 20,000 at-risk students can’t be found, undermining claims by Hekia Parata that a new funding model would ensure additional funding reached students identified as at-risk, says Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins. ...
    1 week ago
  • Crime continues to rise
    Overall crime is up five per cent and the Government just doesn’t seem to care, says Labour’s Police Spokesperson Stuart Nash. ...
    1 week ago
  • Treasury fritters $10 million on failed state house sell off
    The Treasury has wasted $10 million in two years on the National Government's flawed state house sell off programme, including nearly $5.5 million on consultants, says Labour Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. "New Zealand needs more state housing than ever, with ...
    1 week ago
  • National slow to learn new trade lessons post TPPA
    Yesterday, the Minister for Trade misused economic data in order to try to make the case for more so-called ‘trade agreements’ like the TPPA which are actually deregulatory straitjackets in disguise. In welcoming a Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade ...
    GreensBy Barry Coates
    1 week ago
  • Skilled migrant wages plummeting under National
    Wages have plummeted for people with skilled migrant visas working in low-skilled occupations, driving down wages for workers in a number of industries, says Labour’s Immigration Spokesperson Iain Lees-Galloway. “Documents acquired by Labour under the Official Information Act reveal that ...
    1 week ago
  • Child abuse apology needed
    The Government's failure to act on recommendations from Judge Henwood, based on years of work by the Confidential Listening and Assistance Service (CLAS) will further undermine any faith victims may have put into the process, says Labour’s Children’s Spokesperson Jacinda ...
    1 week ago
  • Reserve Bank again highlights National’s housing failure
    National’s failure to deal with the housing crisis in New Zealand is once again being exposed by the Reserve Bank today, in a scathing assessment of the Government’s response, says Labour Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson “Governor Wheeler is clearly worried ...
    1 week ago
  • Palm Oil Labelling: Possible Progress?
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    GreensBy Mojo Mathers
    1 week ago
  • National: Fails to achieve
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    1 week ago
  • Faster into Homes – a new pathway for first home buyers
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    GreensBy Gareth Hughes
    1 week ago
  • Selling off our state housing stock isn’t working for NZers
    I want to end homelessness and ensure that everyone has a warm, safe, dry home. This National Government has let down New Zealanders, especially the thousands of New Zealanders who are struggling with something so basic and important as housing. ...
    GreensBy Marama Davidson
    1 week ago
  • Government needs to ensure fair deal on EQC assessments
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    1 week ago
  • Key’s priorities the real ‘load of nonsense’
    The Prime Minister’s fixation with tax cuts, despite a failure to pay down any debt and growing pressure on public services is the real ‘load of nonsense’, says Labour Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson.  “We’re getting mixed messages from National. John ...
    1 week ago
  • Free Speech and Hate Speech
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    GreensBy James Shaw
    2 weeks ago
  • Young Kiwis struggling under record mortgage debt
    The Government needs to step in and start building affordable homes for first homebuyers now more than ever, says Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Tairāwhiti says No Stat Oil!
    Tairāwhiti says yes to a clean environment for our mokopuna today and for generations to come. Tairāwhiti are have a responsibility to uphold their mana motuhake over their land and their peoples and are calling on the Government to honour ...
    GreensBy Marama Davidson
    2 weeks ago