In a shock move Parata announced today she will not be contesting the next election.
She said she advised Prime Minister John Key of her decision earlier this year.
“It is a privilege to be part of the John Key-led Government. However this is the right decision for me and my family, and it is the right time to make my intentions known.
“I have no plans beyond serving as Education Minister as long as the Prime Minister wishes me to. There are still a number of deliverables in the education work plan in the meantime and my focus and energy will be unwavering.
“It is an honour to work each day in this portfolio – it’s true that it involves a number of difficult decisions but I have been committed to making the right decision for our children and young people.”
Parata was elected to Parliament in 2008 and has served as Education Minister since 2011. Her departure is unexpected – she is currently overseeing the biggest education reforms since 1989.
Her biggest achievement to date and potentially her legacy has been getting through changes to enable and encourage groups of local schools to work together, with teachers and principals paid more to take a lead in those new “communities of learning”.
I wasn’t particularly enamoured with Parata for the first few years. She wasn’t ready for the role, and Novapay was killing her. I called for her resignation multiple times.
But you won’t have seen that narrative for the last few years. She navigated a very challenging portfolio and found her confidence. During question time, the opposition have found her unshakeable and in control of her portfolio.
When trying to affect change in the education system, she’s been willing to back off certain fights and then come back to try again from a different angle.
The unions will be happy to see her go. Some fresh meat in the portfolio that isn’t battle hardened is just what they need to try and take back some of the ground they have lost.
Scott Simpson will be a suitable replacement. As a long term Whaleoil friend with the right amount of low bastardry, he knows how to ratf*ck unions. He’s been doing it for decades, and he’ll bring the required muscle to the job.
– Nicholas Jones, NZ Herald