The Coronation of Queen Hekia

The MSM repeaters and churnalists seem to have spent a lot of the last few days interviewing their keyboards, anointing Hekia Parata the new cabinet minister to replace Pansy Wong. Audrey Young in the Herald seems to be on the point of ringing Pope Benedict to speed up her sainthood.

Key has some clear choices: promote Parata before the byelection; promote Parata after the byelection; or promote no one and give Wong’s portfolios to existing ministers. But promoting Parata before a byelection – even to a minister outside Cabinet – would tell the Mana electorate something of the calibre of the National candidate.

Vernon Small & Tracy Watkins at least refrain from bugging the pope, but fail to canvas other highly credible options:

He is set to make a decision this week on Wong’s replacement and could use the opportunity to promote Mana by-election candidate Hekia Parata – in parliament on the list – who has been talked about as a cabinet prospect before, although promoting her days before the by-election could be seen as a bid to grab votes.

Fairfax and APN editors should start asking a few questions of their political journalists. They have really dropped the ball on this one. They should ask the following questions:

  • After losing five parliamentary Executive Assistants in the first two years in parliament, do they think Hekia will front the next CTU anti 90 day advertisement?
  • Are they aware that if you lose four EAs in around a year Parliamentary Services remove your right to recruit your own office staff?
  • Do they know why the Maori Affairs select committee had a change of personnel? And was it because Hekia was publicly yelling at Tau Henare, who was actually in the same party as her, for those press gallery reporters who were in some doubt?
  • Have they scrutinised her employment record in her career before she entered parliament?
  • Are they confident she would be able to run a ministerial office, and work with departmental chief executives and staff, or would they need a special golden handshake fund for her department?

Hekia Parata might make a good person to be the MP for Mana, but being one of Bill English’s acolytes and having a rotating door on staff at a rate equal to or better than McCully doesn’t make her a good prospect for cabinet.

There are better choices and ones who would be more effective.

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