Speaking to many constituency MPs in the past week they have shared with me their frustration of having to explain and apologise to their constituents that latest cluster-fu*ck by a List MP.
Hekia Parata appeared ill-advised, arrogant and poorly researched as she rammed home her education reforms. She could afford to do that, when she went home each night and at the start of the current parliamentary recess she had only Wira Gardiner to answer to.
Not so for the poor constituency MPs who return to their electorates to face hordes of bewildered parents who don’t know whether or not to believe the over the top, hyped outrage of the teacher unions and their patsy friends in the media or a over-blown minister making excuses.
It is those MPs who have to explain to their constituents that it appears there may have been a mistake. And as the old saying goes, if you are explaining a position you are losing.
Hekia Parata as a List MP faces none of that. The only outrage she will face is that which she is paid to face. From the teacher unions as expected but now within the caucus room…from electorate MPs who have explain her screw up.
Many in the caucus room will be wondering why they should bother standing up for someone who can’t win a seat and someone who appears totally aloof to the intricacies of her portfolio.
Anne Tolley isn’t the sharpest crayon in the box, but she does have a low rat cunning that saw her deal to the teacher unions and push thorough National Standards without any cluster-f*cks of the proportions that Hekia Parata has delivered. Anne Tolley saw off four Labour education spokes people including the rabid old dog Trevor Mallard. It must gall Trevor Mallard that he was bested by Anne Tolley. Parata, however, fell over at the first hurdle.
The only other person who should be smarting is Bill English, as it was his idea to push through these reforms..to save what is really pennies in the big scheme of things. It is of no surprise that he got his acolyte Hekia Parata to try to deliver it and if she had been successful then Bill English’s succession, vicariously through Hekia Parata, would have been assured. Those dreams and plans are now in tatters.
This was the last throw of the dice for Bill English, papers will reveal eventually the real culpability for the education budget screw up. That he has managed to take out Hekia Parata on the way through is a blessing really for the long term viability of the National party.