Hekia Parata. Photo by NZ Herald
Prime Minister John Key is standing by his Education
Minister in the face of a poll which found a majority of voters
think she should have been dumped from Cabinet last month.
Fifty-nine per cent of voters polled in the TVNZ/Colmar
Brunton survey believed Mr Key made the wrong decision by
keeping Hekia Parata in the education portfolio in last
month's Cabinet reshuffle.
This followed a torrid time during which she oversaw the
class size backdown, the Novopay debacle and the breakdown in
communications with Education Secretary Lesley Longstone and
her subsequent departure.
Mr Key told TVOne's Breakfast programme this morning he was
standing by his minister.
"She got some pretty bad press last year. She would admit
herself there were some things that weren't well handled," he
"On the other side of the coin, there's been a lot of good
news in education; we are lifting participation rates in
early childhood, we are seeing more Maori boys being
successful at school."
Ms Parata will today announce the Government's final
decisions over the future of 31 Christchurch schools, with
the prospect of a number of closures fuelling disapproval of
her handling of the education portfolio.
Mr Key said there would be "some happy schools" and "some
unhappy schools" as a result of the announcement, but Ms
Parata had done what was necessary.
"We don't get up in the morning looking for ways to annoy
Cantabrians. We ... have made those decisions and the
minister has recommended those decisions because she
believes, and I think rightfully so, those are the right
decisions to be made."
The poll also had good news for National, with a 5 percentage
point jump in support taking them to 49 per cent. Labour was
on 33 per cent and the Greens 11 per cent. Mr Key also gained
five points, according to the preferred prime minister
measure, giving him 44 per cent, with Labour leader David
Shearer on 15 per cent.