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Friday, June 01, 2012

Hekia Parata crashes back down to earth

Back in the day, Robert Muldoon's Cabinet meetings were a thing of terror. If the issue in front of the Cabinet was a Health issue, Muldoon would jab his stumpy little fingers at the Education Minister and demand to know what was in the policy. He would then go back to the Minister responsible and yell 'Is that right'?

It created an atmosphere where no one knew if they would be questioned and so kept the entire Cabinet on its toes , it meant all policy was scrutinized for political embarrassment and protocols adopted. If there was bad news for an MP in their electorate, they would be given a heads up and and a line on what to say, likewise if there was a win, MP's would be told how loud they could crow.

That was back in the day. Under the current National Party, the Cabinet meetings are whipped through and the overall scrutiny being applied to the political ramifications of policy has no depth. Hekia Parata's inability to even be able to tell the country where the cuts will happen and when guaranteed that she got John Key's angry face, not his optimistic happy face when they met for damage control this week.

Unfortunately for National, there's no way out of this. John Key can smile and wave and be as vacantly aspirational as he likes, but every parent knows bigger class room sizes = worse education. Key can't justify handing billions to the richest NZers in tax cuts while slashing education.

Austerity is one thing, degrading education is another - National have lost the argument.

Hekia Parata now faces an entire education sector that is in open revolt and united in a way not seen in NZ all because the limited views of Treasury and IRD were the only ones consulted. This is a screaming reason why Cabinet meetings should take up the entire day so that political oversight can be reestablished.

This is a ridiculous home goal that has exposed the lack of values National hold beyond idealogical rhetoric. What this political oversight has managed to unleash is an extraordinary anger that has now found a legitimate bone of contention.

John Key will rue the day he promoted Hekia.



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