Prime Minister John Key is confident Education Minister
Hekia Parata did not hit a staff member, as alleged by Labour
MP Trevor Mallard yesterday.
"If it comes to a stoush between Trevor Mallard and Hekia
Parata I know who I'd believe -- it certainly wouldn't be
Trevor Mallard," he said.
The issue was raised at the education select committee when
it was looking at future spending.
Mr Mallard asked Ms Parata if she had ever hit a staff
She vehemently denied it and said she was offended by the
Outside the committee, she said: "I can tell you
categorically that I have never hit a staff member in my
current employ or in my previous employ.
"I think it is really inappropriate, offensive and
She said she was "aware there has been a rumour but there is
no substance to it".
Mr Mallard told reporters after the committee that he
believed a former staff member had left the office after
being hit on the head. He said he had heard the allegation
indirectly from "a very good source".
Speaking in Tonga yesterday, Mr Key said he accepted the word
of his minister and she had said it did not take place. "She
is not going to lie to a select committee."
Ministerial Services, which employs ministerial office staff,
would not say if any former staff member of Ms Parata's
claimed to have been hit. But it said that there had been a
personal grievance from one of the staff who was employed in
- Audrey Young of the New Zealand Herald