Why Hekia Parata should not be sacked
Disclaimer: This blogger is not a National Party voter. In fact, Hell would experience a Christchurch-style snowstorm before I would support National in any manner – unless it was to assist them to call an early election.
Having said that, there are three reasons why Hekia Parata does not deserve being stood down as Minister of Education – despite the debacle over classroom sizes and cutting teacher numbers.
1. Collective Responsibility
Parata’s attempt to cut back on teacher numbers was a budgetary consideration handed down from on-high, from Bill English’s office.
Since 2008, National has been cutting back on government departments and state sector employees. Almost every part of government – from the Department of Conservation to the NZ Defence Force – has been forced to cut staffing numbers. These cuts were part of National’s policy of reducing state expenditure after their April 2009 and October 2010 tax-cuts.
As journalist Duncan Garner wrote earlier this year in January,
” Key has finally dropped the optimism and is talking about the downside. He doesn’t do downside well – he prefers the good news.
But there’s no walking away from the reality. The Government’s treasured surplus target in 2014/15 may not happen. And if it wants to get there then more cuts are on the way. “
Parata’s Plan to cut teaching staff and increase classroom sizes was dressed up as “improving teaching quality and professional leadership” – which was exposed as patent bollocks when she stated,
” The changes to teacher:student funding ratios were to have saved the Government around $174 million over four years, of which $60 million was going to be invested in improving teaching quality and professional leadership. “
Sacking Parata for policies that every other Minister has been implementing seems pointless. Especially when National’s essential policy of cutting expenditure and services would remain unchanged.
That is the real crux of the matter; an ongoing programme of reduction in social services because of two tax cuts we could ill afford, and which National was irresponsible in making.
2. No mis-deed
Parata did nothing illegal, immoral, or inappropriate.
She simply carried out National Party policy.
So if the buck stops anywhere, it should be on the desks of Dear Leader John Key, and Finance Minister Bill English. At this point, rather than unfairly targetting one single person, we should be looking at National as a whole.
Will the Prime Minister take responsibility for National’s slash a burn of the state sector? Fat chance. Thus far, Dear Leader has shown little inclination to taken responsibility for anything – unless it involved opening the Rugby World Cup; supping beer with visiting royalty; or other smile and wave photo-ops.
In fact, John Key seems more than willing to allow Hekia Parata to be hung out to dry on this issue.
This blogger sees no political gain in demanding Ms Parata’s head on a plate.
However, in the spirit of collective responsibility and shared culpability, National should resign and call for an early election. The classroom/teacher debacle has impacted on National’s mandate and an early election is necessary to restore confidence in government.
3. Who would replace her?
Perhaps the strongest reason not to sack Parata is simply that it would achieve very little for National’s opponants. John Key would simply replace her with another Minister – one perhaps tougher and more doggedly determined in pursuing narrow, National Party policy.
Better Parata, a chastened lame duck - than a cocky pitbull, looking to prove himself in the eyes of his fellow Tories.
Keeping Parata as Education Minister, it is unlikely that she will attempt further cuts to the education sector. Not unless she has a deeper masochistic streak we were unaware of?
Further to my previous blogpost where I wrote,
“ Congratulations to National.
John Key, Bill English, Hekia Parata, et al, have succeeded in teaching our children their first lesson in politics. An entire generation of children have seen political machinations at work, first hand, and the “bad guys” were ministers from the National Party.
When our children learn about the Right Wing in politics, in such a personalised, in-your-face manner, the future of this country suddenly became a lot more rosy.
Future support for the Greens, Labour, and other centre-left Parties is all but assured.
Thank you, Ms Parata. You are a fine teacher for our young folk. “
Duncan Garner wrote in his blog on 6 June,
” I got home last night and my 12-year-old step daughter was waiting for me with a stern message: “We all hate John Key,” she exclaimed.
Why, I said – pretending to be shocked by it all, but secretly knowing what she was about to say.
“Well, he’s going to close our cooking and technology classes at our school. So we all hate him. And we’re writing him letters – no one likes him at our school anymore,” she said.
I won’t name the school. But whether or not she’s right, and whether or not this Government backpedals on its move to increase class sizes, the fallout is immense – and perception is reality – especially for the children and their mums and dads. “
John Key’s legacy for the future: an entire generation alienated by this arrogant National government - a gift of immeasurable value to the left wing. Just as many who lived through the “reforms” of Roger Douglas in the 1980s use the term “Rogernomics” as a pejorative, to describe destructive, extremist, politics from a past era.
No one saw that coming.
And now, waiting in the wings, the coming asset sales furore…
= fs =