Parata may have to be next for the chop

TRACY WATKINS
Last updated 05:00 20/12/2012

Relevant offers

Politics

Stacey Kirk: Is New Zealand's mental health service doing more harm than good? Legal cannabis could collect $150 million a year but Bill English isn't pursuing it Tracy Watkins: Helen Clark's down but not out in the race to lead the UN Jonathan Milne: Killer Tania Shailer's' bid to shift blame to 3yo victim Moko Rangitoheriri provokes real anger Foreign Minister Murray McCully contracted Zika Veteran Taranaki regional councillor will not contest seat in upcoming election Prime Minister's department was warned of Chinese threats against NZ dairy and kiwifruit but didn't brief him Failed leadership coup exposes more 'toxic culture' at Wellington City Council Patrick Gower admits man crush on Donald Trump's son in weird live video from RNC Helen Kelly: 'My back is broken and I only have months to live but I'm pain free'

Cutting her chief executive loose might solve Education Minister Hekia Parata's immediate problem. But if National is serious about winning back goodwill from parents turned off by the mess in education, she may have to be next.

OPINION: Lesley Longstone was sacrificed after a string of public relations disasters in the education portfolio, including the Novopay debacle and the Government's class-sizes backdown, which sparked a backlash so huge it sent its MPs into near meltdown.

State Services Commissioner Iain Rennie blamed a strained relationship with Ms Parata. Given the pounding Ms Parata has received, that was probably an understatement.

Seconding Peter Hughes as acting chief executive is likely to bring an end to damaging headlines. A notorious micro-manager, Mr Hughes ran a tight ship at the Ministry of Social Development.

But much of the political damage has already been done. Rightly or wrongly, Ms Parata has become the public face of education blunders.

That is disastrous for National, given that education is supposed to be one of its strong suits, particularly with National Standards - popular among parents - in its armoury.

But Prime Minister John Key is paying the price for appointing a succession of more junior ministers to the portfolio.

A Cabinet reshuffle sparked by the departure of Speaker Lockwood Smith in early 2013 may give Mr Key an opportunity to move Ms Parata into a less-sensitive portfolio and appoint someone with stronger oversight.

That would go against his usual caution on ministerial reshuffles, and his insistence yesterday that he retains full confidence in Ms Parata suggests he is not yet of a mind to do so. But another blunder under Ms Parata would be one too many.

Ad Feedback

- The Dominion Post

Special offers
Opinion poll

Where do you stand on political coat-tail riding?

If it gets marginalised voices into Parliament, I'm for it.

I'm against it - if you don't get the votes, you shouldn't be there.

It's just part of the political game.

Vote Result

Related story: Voters reject riding on the coat-tails

Featured Promotions

Sponsored Content