Key says Parata will be ‘stel­lar’

Kapi-Mana News - - NEWS - By KRIS DANDO

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.

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