Parata says she's not the problem

JOSH FAGAN
Last updated 05:00 23/03/2014
Hekia Parata
JOHN KIRK-ANDERSON/Fairfax NZ
EDUCATION MINISTER: Hekia Parata.

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Education Minister Hekia Parata says after a week of calls for her to step down, the focus should be on the Te Kohanga Reo National Trust, not her.

She said yesterday the trust needs to "restore public confidence in the work that they are doing".

The Serious Fraud Office was asked to investigate allegations of misspending by the trust's wholly owned subsidiary company Te Pataka Ohanga after the trust was cleared of wrongdoing. "Only they can tell us what's going on in their commercial arm and they do need to front the public on that," Parata said.

"I have no power over them. They are a private company that works for an organisation that has a contract with my department that reports to me."

Parata said the inquiry had overshadowed other educational announcements in recent days. "It's one organisation that, in one of its independent arms, has got some problems. They need to front up, deal with those and stop it obscuring the great work that their own 460 early childhood centres are doing."

Responding to calls from the opposition to stand down from the education portfolio, she said: "I think they should focus on the dysfunction in their own party."

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