Parata safe in her job - Key

17:47, Jan 17 2013
PUBLIC FACE OF BLUNDERS: Education Minister Hekia Parata.
STAYING PUT: Education Minister Hekia Parata.

Embattled Education Minister Hekia Parata is set to survive an imminent Cabinet reshuffle, with Prime Minister John Key standing by "one of the smoothest communicators" in politics.

Within weeks Mr Key will oversee a Cabinet reshuffle, with recent attention focusing on whether Ms Parata would be forced to stand down following a series of controversies last year.

After backing down from proposals to increase school class sizes, Ms Parata faced added pressure over plans to close or merge a number of schools in earthquake-hit Christchurch.

Last month, Lesley Longstone, the chief executive of the Ministry of Education, quit because she and Ms Parata were unable to work together.

In recent weeks the Novopay payroll system has experienced more problems.

Mr Key said Ms Parata's job was safe and that he had "complete confidence" in her. "There were some mistakes made in 2012, I think she [Ms Parata] would acknowledge that," Mr Key said.

"I think equally she's done a lot of good things," Mr Key said, adding that closing schools in Christchurch was destined to be controversial no matter who was communicating it. He rejected criticisms of her ability to communicate.

"I actually think she's a very effective communicator; in fact if you look at her history in politics, she's been one of the smoothest communicators we've actually had," Mr Key said yesterday.

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