Many teachers and parents around the country will be sitting down relieved today following the departure of Lesley “Innit” Longstone yesterday. After some to-ing and fro-ing with State Services Commissioner Ian Rennie she fell on Hekia Parata’s sword and will no longer be our beloved Secretary of Education.
Cue thousands of dollars in golden handshake.
With everything that has happened (or if you aren’t being novopaid – is happening) in education in 2012, everyone is asking the question: Who will be next?
Apart from looking very statesmen-like doing the Gangnam Style on breakfast radio yesterday morning, John Key has issued a brief statement saying he has “complete confidence” in Hekia Parata. Any political junkie will understand that the phrase “complete confidence” is often trotted out just before someone is dumped.
National has had experience with this when the entire caucus expressed confidence in Jim Bolger before he went on an overseas trip only to dump him while he was away. Stink one for Jim.
Although Key has hinted at a minor reshuffle to deal with Lockwood Smith’s retirement junket to London to be High Commissioner to the National Opera, I don’t believe Parata will be dumped.
The National Party, through the spin whizzes of Stephen Joyce and John Key, were behind the appointment of Parata in the first place. She is one of them. She can talk the talk – quite literally. If you’ve viewed her answers to simple parliamentary questions in recent times you will know what I’m talking about.
Parata is EXACTLY the type of politician Key and Joyce and those invisible-former-journalists-now-working-as-PR-spinner-types love. Pretty and able to say nothing while sounding like they are saying everything. They appointed her for that very reason. They would never get rid of her now because she is doing EXACTLY what they want her to do. Closing schools, bringing in National Standards, getting charter school operators organised for the great takeover of Christchurch.
There is no way they are going to get rid of her…
Craig Foss, on the other hand… They have a huge excuse to get rid of him. He signed off on Novopay. Allowing them to start-up without running a trial. Plus he’s not very easy on the eye. And he speaks pretty normally when answering a question.
So, in short, Hekia will stay because the National-led regime love their spin and that’s where she excels. Foss will go because he looks a bit like Uncle Monty from Withnail & I.
Either way, when they are making their decision, at no time will they consider the learning needs of New Zealand children.