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Parata's job safe, despite criticism

Friday 18 Jan 2013 5:25 a.m.

Hekia Parata (AAP)

Hekia Parata (AAP)

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Prime Minister John Key's backing of Education Minister Hekia Parata adds insult to injury for students, teachers and parents, the Green Party says.

Mr Key told reporters in Christchurch on Thursday Ms Parata wouldn't lose her job in an upcoming Cabinet reshuffle, despite a horror year in 2012 and calls from Labour and the Greens for her to be removed from the portfolio.

Ms Parata presided over a backdown on increasing average class sizes, the closure of a number of Christchurch schools, and the High Court decision to declare the closure of a special needs school in Nelson illegal.

Her education secretary Lesley Longstone also resigned over their strained relationship.

"Hekia Parata has time and time again frustrated the education sector, students and families with her damaging plans for education and her poor communication of those plans," Greens education spokeswoman Catherine Delahunty said.

"Students, parents and teachers deserve a fresh start from this government in 2013. Keeping Hekia Parata in place as minister will mean that this sorely needed change in attitude will not occur."

Mr Key said some mistakes were made in 2012, but he still backed Ms Parata.

"I am confident she can do the job. There's a big range of issues we need to deal with when it comes to education.

"I think she will take away some learnings from 2012."

He said "some of the commentary had been a bit harsh" of a minister in a tough portfolio.

Mr Key said he would not describe a pending Cabinet reshuffle as hugely significant, but there would be changes driven by the departure of speaker Lockwood Smith, who will be taking up the office of High Commissioner in London.


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