Parata to stay Education Minister - PM

HAMISH RUTHERFORD
Last updated 19:06 17/01/2013
PUBLIC FACE OF BLUNDERS: Education Minister Hekia Parata.
KENT BLECHYNDEN/Fairfax NZ
STAYING PUT: Education Minister Hekia Parata.

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Prime Minister John Key is standing by embattled Education Minister Hekia Parata, signalling she will survive an upcoming Cabinet reshuffle.

Speaking ahead of his trip to Antarctica, Key acknowledged Parata had made mistakes last year, but nevertheless she retained his ''complete confidence''.

Key will oversee a cabinet reshuffle in the coming weeks, possibly before the end of this month.

Parata has faced a series calls to stand down in recent months, centring on controversy over the way the Government handled proposed school closures in Christchurch.

In December the calls for her resignation grew louder when Lesley Longstone, the chief executive of the Education Ministry, quit because the two were unable to work together.

''There were some mistakes made in 2012, I think she [Parata] would acknowledge that,'' Key said.

''I think equally she's done a lot of good things and the fact that the unions are asking for a new Minister of Education under a National Government isn't new,'' Key said, adding that closing schools in Christchurch was destined to be controversial no matter who was communicating it.

''I am confident she can do the job ... I think she's hugely talented and she's learnt from her experiences and she'll do a good job in 2013.''

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