Key says Parata will be ‘stellar’
Hekia Parata may not have won over the voters of Mana but her worth to the new National Government is plain to see, as she was handed the prized education portfolio last week.
Ms Parata was sworn in at Government House last Wednesday by the Governor-general Jerry Mateparae. She will also be Minister of Pacific Island Affairs.
It completes a rapid rise for the Mana-based List MP, rocketing her to the front bench after a solid performance last term with the Energy & Resources, Women’s Affairs and Ethnic Affairs portfolios. Ms Parata has called her new appointments ‘‘a real honour’’.
‘‘I feel very privileged and extremely proud to have been given the opportunity to serve as a minister in John Key’s Government and I look forward to doing my part to help all our communities realise the dream of a brighter future. I am really excited about the education portfolio – early and continuing education have been the springboard for my professional choices, and I firmly believe successful education experiences can transform the lives of individuals, their families [and] their communities.’’
Education is bound to be a tricky task for Ms Parata, after the announcement of charter schools as part of the agreement with the ACT Party, as well as bedding in the unpopular national standards.
Mr Key said she would be a ‘‘stellar’’ Minister of Education and was sure she would make ‘‘great gains’’ in this area for the next Government.
Parliament met for the first time today, with the Labour portfolio line-up not known until after we went to press. Mana MP Kris Faafoi was Labour’s spokesperson for Civil Defence and associate spokesperson for Pacific Island Affairs in the 12 months after his byeelection victory, but it was unknown if he would have similar responsibilities this term.