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Parata won’t quit, Key won’t sack her

Written By: - Date published: 9:52 pm, December 19th, 2012 - 58 comments
Categories: accountability, education, Hekia parata, john key - Tags:

Parata isn’t the most corrupt minister Key has but she’s definitely the most incompetent. Now, the Secretary of Education has been paid out to take the fall for Hekia’s incompetence and that of her sister, Apryll, Deputy Secretary Performance and Change. Parata has maintained her reputation for nepotism (Hekia appointed Apryll to her job in April, just ahead of the Budget) and being an appalling people manager. But she won’t go, and Key won’t make her.

For Parata, resignation is impossible. Her ego is too big and her imagination too small. In her world, she can do no wrong. I suspect the mental gymnastics we witness at question time are just a sample of the internal self-rationalisation that goes on behind that smug, falsely grinning face. She believes she is right and she’s done nothing wrong. Plus, where else is she going to get a quarter of a million dollar a year job? It’s not like she can go back to the public service.

Key’s much the same. His ego is too big to sack a minister because doing so would be an admission that he made a mistake in appointing them. think about it – how many ministers has Key sacked? 1. Worth. The others were all resignations [Update: Worth resigned but Key said he would have sacked him]. English, Tolley, Wong, Smith, Banks, Hide, Turia, Parata, nd Collins were all caught out in situations where they ought to have been sacked. Key stood behind them all. And I don’t think its for mere political expedience. If Key had sacked some of these ministers, his reputation would have grown. After Banks, in particular, Key’s reputation has gone into decline because he’s shown not to have the muscle when it counts.

And don’t forget that Parata is Key’s golden child. He gave her all the power on the back of no experience. He gave her free-rein to take on the unions and slam through privatisation of the school system. He wanted her to succeed him (although even he must know that’s not going to happen now). Short of taking a dump in front of a group of school children – a literal one, not the one she dropped in Christchurch – I can’t see anything getting Key to fire Parata.


58 comments on “Parata won’t quit, Key won’t sack her”

  1. ColonialPete 1

    With Lockwood Smith departing, Key would be smart to do a sideways reshuffle and put Parata in a place that won’t lose votes for National. Environment, perhaps, or Corrections.

  2. Craig Glen viper 3

    It simply does not matter how incompetent the Nats are because Labour has Shearer. The Labour leader who does not stand up for struggling sickness beneficiaries but on the contrary is all to willing to run lines against them in financially tough times but is happy to take a pay rise for MPs, its not up to him to decide how much he should be paid.

    Right now Keys Ministers could literally be cruel to animals and Labours leader wouldnt know how to give a sound bite thats says that being cruel to animals is wrong.
    Lets watch as the Greens and Winston take Parata apart.

    • framu 3.1

      going off topic here, but…

      “but is happy to take a pay rise for MPs”

      saw that on the news last night – another golden opportunity wasted by the labour party – idiots.

      the pay rise vs petrol tax isnt being dropped by the media that quickly – shearer could have gained some really positive PR going into the xmas break if they had gone down the..
      “we are paid quite well enough already, therefore the labour party will be donating all of the pay rise to charity” route.

      followed by handing a fat cheque to charity with TV crew in tow, and milking that xmas giving spirirt

      but no – same pathetic semantics that key used instead

    • Saarbo 3.2

      +1 CGV, This is Labours problem and why National will not lose as much support as they should over this.

      The other problem for Labour is lightweight advisory and PR skills. Possibly have not got enough funds, possibly because they have not got enough member support…I wonder why?

    • Ed 3.3

      Only on The Standard could a post about Key and Parata’s incompetence transform so quickly to an attack on Labour and MP pay determination.

      [lprent: So currently there are three four comments on that (at comment 3 in the post) out of the 25+ in the post. And the starting comment made a point that I guess you’re too stupid to actually rebut. So instead you say something moronic instead that wastes my time looking for out of context comments on the post. You really are a bit of a fool..

      And it’d help if you’d been bright enough to put the comment in reply to one of the comments you were complaining about. But I guess you simply don’t know what the word “Reply” means.

      Here, I’ll help you out and reparent this comment on to comment 3 so it provides the context that you so clearly lack….

      BTW: If you want to start a flame than I’m perfectly happy to rip you apart. Your comment looks like an attempted troll to me and I really don’t like people who waste my time like that.. Don’t waste my time with silly complaints – just argue your damn point. ]

      • Craig Glen viper 3.3.1

        Well the issue is as I have said it does not seem to matter how bad National do or what lies they tell or how many people are unemployed the public simply don’t care.
        Everyone knows that Parata is doing a terrible job but Labour never challenge the lies. Just as one example for you Ed, National keep repeating the bullshit that more kids are now getting NCEA ( a good news story keep smiling and tell stories) but yet not one of their policies have made changes to learning in high school. Now the journos are not picking up on it so its up to Labour to tell them. Instead I just watched that useless Chris Hipkins say yup more kids leaving school with NCEA is good news but he didnt say but of coarse National have done nothing to change anything to our kids High School Education. national on the other hand got in that 1-5 failed under Labour which is not true but National got the hit!

        Once again opportunity lost time and time again National serve it up on a plate but this Labour caucus is to useless to turn it into real damage. We had 3 years of this under Goff now its worse under Shearer. How long does Labours rank and file have to put up with such shit work on behalf of this caucus.

  3. xtasy 4

    Hah. I won’t quit, so said Adolfus Hitlerius from his Bunker in the underground of Berlin.

    Key must identify with another lone leader from other backgrounds and times.

    Dig in deep, ignore the undeniable truth, keep on the battle, until it will all be shot to pieces.

    Good luck, John Key and Hekia Parata, we love more nails in the coffin of the political brigade of useless, self-serving and lying leaders we have.

    But given a mentally shorn opposition leader, the new pet of the MSM, may bungle the last bit that nobody should bungle, Natzies may yet call the shots again 2014.

    My personal views of the political future of Aotearoa NZ are GRIM!

    Too many do not follow what should be followed, most are brainwashed and poorly informed, and hence we have an almost “perfect” dictatorship, by most not even recognised as such.

    Bingo, Sky Casino, Key and gang, the master stroke may hit yet again.

    I spew and spew every day about what I see around me, disgusting.

    • halfcrown 4.1

      “Too many do not follow what should be followed, most are brainwashed and poorly informed, and hence we have an almost “perfect” dictatorship, by most not even recognised as such.”

      So True, so bloody true.

      • aerobubble 4.1.1

        The cry goes out, there’s too any MPs, the tired media beatup agian on National radio.

        That got me thinking, what do they mean, too many? Oh, then I realized, they mean
        just one leader, a NZ dictatorship.

        The problem of feckless Ministers is the problem of not enough MPs to draw from.
        A backbench with talent.

  4. AwakeWhileSleeping 5

    Could this be the National party method of lowering voter turnout?

    By fostering voter apathy National can get away with even more.

  5. felixviper 6

    Did Key even sack Worth though?

    He said he did, once, but he also said Worth resigned, a couple of times.

    Has Worth ever said he was sacked? Because if all we’ve got to go on is Key’s contradicTory recollections then who knows?

    • Akldviper 6.1

      I’m confident that my recollection of the matter will pass all tests, hasn’t broken the law and that I didn’t just say what the public wanted to hear. That the reason for his resignation was not in the public interest and that’s why I sacked him!

      Right – bring on the next election and Labour leader!

    • Pascal's bookie 6.2

      Worth hasn’t sued anyone for defamation like he said he would either. But then, when he said that was going to happen, he also said he’d provide a sworn statement denying the allegations too. That never happened either.

  6. Drakula 7

    The Greens seem to be getting redder than Labor or am I going color blind? I can understand why Key hasn’t sacked them all if he did that would be the end of National.

  7. Craig Glen viper 8

    Correct Dracula the Greens are more Red than Labour its quite unbelievable. and terribly frustrating.

  8. One Tāne Viper 9

    Perhaps Parata is doing exactly what she was put there for: to destroy and degrade public education. We know the Tories want to privatise. We know the private providers can’t compete with the existing system: the quality is too high for them. Solution: reduce the quality.

    • framu 9.1


      while parata and longstone arent blameless here i wish the MSM would pull their fingers out and realise that this goes all the way to the top of joyce/key/english borg

    • North 9.2

      One Tane Viper at 9 above……..not a silly suggestion. Destroy what is there to replace the resulting corpse with ideological constructs. “There is no other way….” sort of thing.

      That has been done with legal aid. Reduce to its knees a system which did not need “fixing” (forget the cynical defamation of legal aid lawyers – that’s standard National Party MO – “first attack the practitioners”) then roll out what was intended in the first place.

      In the legal aid context the intent always was to destroy the independent Bar within the public institution of legal aid. Replace it with bulk funding utilised and applied by a chosen few. There is then a concentration of power in the hands of those few who are always vulnerable to further ideological constructs. Manifestly the public is not served – elements of a twisted privatisation in terms of inevitable outcome. Power in a public institution handed to a few whose self interest overrides public considerations.

      Too crazy to see the similarity in education ? “Destroy the village to save the village”.

  9. Where is the MSM on this?

    The decision was obviously made a couple of weeks ago and they wait until Parliament has finished before releasing the news, thereby avoiding democratic scrutiny. And Parata’s excuse that she is on holiday and is unavailable is utterly pathetic. And Key has time to do Gagnam style but not do his job.

    Why arn’t the basic questions being asked and the basic conclusions being reached?

    • xtasy 10.1

      MSM are towing the line by not being too hard on political issues any more, as their focus is “survival” in a totally new media world, where new competition comes via untold blogs and alternative news sites through the web.

      Their umbilical cord is advertising revenue, and in a very corporatised, and also otherwise very commercialised NZ society, they will focus on light hearted “info-tainment” at best to “inform”, focusing mostly though on trivial, entertaining stories about celebs, sports personalities, music, movies, lifestyle topics galore. And there is always crime, the weather and distorted facts about beneficiaries ripping off WINZ, committing various offences, and what you have. This seems to get ratings, determined by a for decades dumbed-down too large part of the populace, uncritically consuming this crap and having lost most interest in political issues (which actually determine so much of their lives).

      That keeps the government happy, the advertisers happy, the competing, personality branded journos employed, and it above all keeps the elite run “de-facto dictatorship” in total control.

      [and that’s comment #500,000!]

  10. Lefty 11

    If I was an education union leader I would be dropping in for a quiet chat with Hekia over the break.

    I would make her an offer.

    “Do as we tell you for the next couple of years and we will keep you out of trouble.”

    • Wayne 11.1

      Who governs the country, the electected govt or the unions?

      • Rodel 11.1.1

        Wayne…certainly not the ‘electected’ govt. (maybe the unelected govt.?)

      • Lefty 11.1.2

        Who governs the country, the electected govt or the unions?


        A small elite ruling class make all the important decisions and governments implement them.

  11. tracey 12

    So key wont sack his messengers (ministers) but they are oh so ready to shoot the messengers messengers.

  12. On Planet Key ministers are not responsible and anyway it’s only the tax payer who looses out and pays the $million pay-out, so what’s the worry.

    John Key is the tiller man – tilling the soil and planting the seeds for the next generation of discontent in New Zealand.

  13. Combat Wombat 14

    To be marginally sympathetic to Key, who does he have in his caucus who isn’t corrupt and/or incompetent? Most of them went into politics in the hopes of being lucratively corrupted, and as for competence its an old observation that those who can, do, while those who can’t, teach: to which I’d add that those who can’t even teach go into politics.

    • North 14.1

      Parata wouldn’t even sit in the Cabinet were she not the foremost adoring acolyte of the PM. That’s how it is on Planet Key. Incompetent ? “Who cares…..we’ll just deploy her vacuous vivacity and blame everyone else on our way to the fantastical Brighter Future” – LOL or cry .

      Excuse me, who’s pulling the 2 hundy odd or whatever it is salary ? Who’s free to blow $1,400 on a limo in Sydney when $150 worth of taxis would have answered the moment. Who runs around being a “lady” without even having to pull out hubby’s gong. Ms Parata. That’s whom.

      Work for your money madam, expend less time adoring your shallow cargo-cult leader, be honest, stop bullshitting us, be responsible ! You really imagine you’re any sort of role model ?

  14. Matthew Hooton 15

    The line from the Parata camp is that the Ministry of Education is at best incompetent but, more likely, is deliberately undermining her because they are lefties and she is (supposedly) a centre-right minister with the potential to be prime minister.
    I find this implausible.

    Since it was set up in 1989, the Ministry has had the following Ministers:
    * (Centre?-Labour) David Lange
    * (Right-wing Labour) Phil Goff
    * (Right-wing National) Lockwood Smith
    * (Centre National) Wyatt Creech
    * (Left-wing National) Nick Smith
    * (Former PPTA activist) Trevor Mallard
    * (Left-wing? Labour) Steve Maharey
    * (Left-wing Labour) Chris Carter
    * (Centre National) Anne Tolley
    * (Centre-left National) Hekia Parata
    All these have had their ups and downs in the portfolio, and I think it is true that MoE officials would tend to vote Labour/Green, but I don’t think there is any evidence they deliberately try to undermine National ministers.

    As it happens, I worked for the most right-wing on the list above, and, broadly speaking, our minister and minister’s office were well supported by the ministry – and this was despite him seeking to implement a far more ambitious right-wing agenda than Parata would have the imagination to envisage.

    On the competence issue, when Lockwood was reshuffled into agriculture, his political staff also shifted portfolios and we thought we would now be dealing with much more intelligent, professional bureaucrats at MAF compared with MoE (most important industry sector). They also were fine, but it would be totally wrong to say that MAF Policy was better than the MoE education division, or that MAF dealt better with droughts than MoE with a strike (although MAF was extraordinarily good at dealing with biosecurity incursions).

    When looking at the list above, it is very difficult, at least from a distance, not to conclude that it is more likely that Parata that has been the problem not the ministry.

    And the idea this has been a particularly difficult year in education is wrong.
    Try introducing Tomorrow’s Schools, like Lange and Goff did. Or, like Lockwood Smith, trying to introduce bulk funding and individual contracts, cutting per-student tertiary funding and allowances, and introducing a student loans scheme, a new school curriculum and a new qualifications system, all at the same time. Or ask Trevor Mallard about 2002. Or ask Tolley about doing National Standards.

    What exactly have been Parata’s difficult issues? Changing woodwork teacher ratios or closing a special school aren’t really a comprehensive agenda and if that was all that had been on Goff or Smith or Mallard or Maharey’s plate, they would have finished work for the year by the first week of February.

    Even though, like Nick Smith, she is one of Bill English’s proteges, Key should sack her in the new year.

    • vto 15.1

      But Mr Hooton, how on earth can we have confidence that your long post there is a full and frank account of your view and not some piece laced with various anomolies intended to have undisclosed effects of a political nature?

    • North 15.2

      So what you’re actually saying Matthew is that Key has not a shred of responsibility in the ongoing cock-up you more or less acknowledge ? The buck stops anywhere but at his door ?

      Matthew, that is so, so at odds with the teachings of John Key himself; responsibility, accountability blah blah blah.

      Oh, righteo, that’s all fine then. Viva Planet Key !

    • xtasy 15.3

      Matthew, on this one, I do to some degree actually agree with you!

      Parata was over-glorified as being soooo competent, capable and having a promising future as a minister.

      That over-glorification has been completely rubbished, due to her performances on the whole range of issues she as part of the government had to deal with.

      Of course a lot of what she was expected to implement does come from a higher level within cabinet and from certain other ministers, but then she was happy to take the job and work along the agenda.

      She must surely go, and I think Key is just holding back, as he does not want a headline story before Christmas. he will deal with it early next year, in a partial re-shuffle.

  15. Jim 16

    In my opinion, I think 4 ministers in the cabinet need to go or get the sack.
    (1) Parata-for inefficiency and arrogance.
    (2) John Banks-for his dirty dishonest deeds.
    (3) Bill English-for stupid clueless economic policies during a recession.
    (4) John Key-for working primarily for the wealthy instead of for all….And the buck stops with him.

  16. Tracey 17

    Matthew, if your analysis above were correct, and you applied it to a Minister under Helen Clark, do you think things would have evolved differently? Or under, say, Bolger?

    • Matthew Hooton 17.1

      Good question.
      Sadly, I don’t think it would have been too much different under Clark or Bolger.
      In general, on matters of competence, I think prime ministers tend to be too loyal to their ministers. (That may be because their ministers are also their bosses, in a way, having a vote and supporters in caucus, which elects the party leader).
      Fast, decisive sackings are more likely over things like Ruth Dyson driving pissed or Richard Worth doing whatever it was he was doing.

      • Lanthanide 17.1.1

        “Richard Worth doing whatever it was he was doing.”

        Are we really to believe that you don’t know what it was?

        • Craig Glen viper

          “Richard Worth doing whatever it was he was doing”

          Hootens own goal! If you don’t know what occurred Mathew how can you say
          ” fast decisive sackings are more likely to occur” either your statement is totally false because you have no idea what Worth did so cant say its more likely he would be sacked quickly or you know what happened. Please share Mathew it would be a Worth while comment for a change.

      • Tracey 17.1.2

        Thanks Matthew.

        I tend toward your suggestion that Ministers are also those who can vote on their leader. For example Dover Samuels going and not returning despite not being guilty, but others returning (like Dyson) when they were. Are you really suggesting that Key was “fast and decisive” over Worth??? Didn’t he travel to India under diplomatic status under false pretenses before his inappropriate harassment became public?

        Is it your understanding that Worth’s behaviour in that regard had been questionable long before he became Junior Minister and Key knew, or should have known of it?

        It seems to me that almost 100% of decisions to sack or “allow to resign” are based on political expediency alone.

        • felixviper

          Yes, Key was anything but fast and decisive over Worth.

          Key was happy for Worth to use his political office and the parliamentary seal to enrich himself through his private business dealings overseas on more than one occasion. I don’t believe Key has ever mentioned this corrupt behaviour as a reason for accepting Worth’s resignation.

          In fact, to this day, we still don’t know whether Worth was sacked or not – Key has said he resigned, then he said he sacked him, then said he resigned – and we still don’t know why.

          That’s an astounding level of non-accountability in a democratic country.

          And according to Matthyawn, that’s Key at his fastest, and most decisive!

  17. Curran's Viper 18

    What summed up the week for me was the contrast of the distress of outgoing Secretary of Education Lesley Longstone with John Key dancing ‘gangnam style’ at a radio station.



    It seems to sum up the priorities of this government and his committment to ordinary NZers.

  18. KJT 19

    Anyone notice a pattern.

    A female “authoritarian follower” of low intelligence and empathy is used as a front person/hatchetman for NACT’s most evil policies, so that Key and co can dump them if the public clicks on to what they are doing.

    Good cop, Bad cop!??

    Wait for Basher Bennet to be dumped at a suitable time before the election, when the damage she has done at National’s behest becomes apparent.

    While Key and co pretend it wasn’t them.

  19. tracey 20

    I see brownlie thinks the court of appeal should have just talked to him if they were confused by his affidavit. These guts really dont under the judicial system. The only peoplexwho are “heard” on appeal are the lawyers. So brownlie should be looking at crown law for answers as to how his true position wasnt understood by the ca. This guy is a clown.

  20. i am voting for the conservative party at 2014 election

  21. Curran's Viper 22

    An inquiry is needed into into Talent2 payroll performance for the NZ secondary education sector.

    Talent2 was set up by Morgan & Banks who have been buying back its shares, a defensive tactic to save an under-performing company.

    A lot of private recruitment firms are in trouble – reflected in share price – due to economic contraction in major job markets.

    Talent2’s expertise is in recruitment, not payroll software.

    Serious questions arise about the process of giving Talent2 the payroll contract.

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  • Report back from Hands Off Our Tamariki hui
    This week I attended a hui in Otaki organised by Hands Off Our Tamariki about the proposed reforms to the Child Young Persons and their Families Act. Moana Jackson and Paora Moyle spoke.  They expressed deep, profound concern about the proposed ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie
    2 weeks ago
  • Labour mourns passing of Helen Kelly
    Helen Kelly was a passionate advocate for working New Zealanders and for a safe and decent working life, Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little says.  “Helen Kelly spent her adult life fighting for the right of every working person to ...
    2 weeks ago
  • National’s visionless immigration policy
    National’s recent immigration announcement is a continuation of the visionless approach to government that it has displayed in the last three terms. Rather than using the levers of government to implement a sustainable immigration policy that benefits new and current ...
    GreensBy Denise Roche
    2 weeks ago
  • Andrew Little: Speech to the Police Association Conference 2016
    Police Association delegates, Association life members and staff, representatives from overseas jurisdictions. Thank you for inviting me here today. The Police Association has become a strong and respected voice for Police officers and for policing in New Zealand. There is ...
    2 weeks ago
  • 1,000 more police for safer communities
    Labour will fund an extra 1,000 Police in its first term to tackle the rising rate of crime, says Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little. “Labour will put more cops on the beat to keep our communities safe. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Call for all-party round table on homelessness
    Labour is calling on the Government to take part in a roundtable meeting to hammer out a cross-party agreement on ending homelessness.  Labour’s housing spokesperson Phil Twyford said the country wanted positive solutions to homelessness, and wanted the political parties ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Seclusion rooms in schools
    Schools are undoubtedly stretched and underfunded to cope with students with high learning support needs. But this cannot justify the use of rooms (or cupboards) as spaces to forcibly isolate children. It has emerged via media that this practice continues ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty
    2 weeks ago
  • Public should get a say on new Waikato power station
    I had an opinion piece published in the Waikato Times about a controversial proposal to build a new gas-fired power station. It’s not on their website yet, so here it is: If you think the public would get a say ...
    GreensBy Gareth Hughes
    2 weeks ago
  • MSD and their investment approach
    The Government talks about investment but there is no investment. It is not investment if it isn’t over the whole of life and if there is no new money  — Shamubeel Eaqub   Investment sounds like adequate resourcing but this ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie
    2 weeks ago
  • Certainty needed for community services
    A couple of months ago I was at a seminar where three community organisations were presenting. Two of the three presenters were waiting to find out if their organisation would get a contract renewed with MSD. Not knowing if their ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie
    2 weeks ago
  • Domestic Violence – some advice for the media
    For the purpose of this piece, I’m going to use Domestic Violence (DV) as a proxy for intimate partner violence. DV is not isolated to physical abuse in a relationship between people with the same power. DV is a pattern of ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie
    3 weeks ago
  • Leroy’s New Paw Prints
    Leroy, an Auckland great dane recently received a new 3D printed bionic leg after cancer was discovered. I think this is a fantastic story and highlights the real potential of additive manufacturing, or 3D printing Leroy’s prosthetic was printed in titanium and was ...
    GreensBy Gareth Hughes
    3 weeks ago