Longstone resigns, Is Hekia next?

Lesley Longstone has fallen on her sword for all the stuff ups in Education:

Secretary of Education Lesley Longstone has resigned following a series of problems including the class size debacle and the implementation of the Novopay pay system.

Former Public Service chief executive Peter Hughes has been seconded as Acting Chief Executive and Secretary for Education, and will take up his role from 9 February.

The State Services Commission will advertise for the permanent role in the New Year.

“Following very careful thought and discussion, Lesley and I have decided that the best interests of the Ministry would be served by her stepping down and the appointment of a new Chief Executive,” State Services Commissioner Iain Rennie said in a statement.

Longstone’s biggest mistake was trying to play stroppy civil servant and Princess Hekia didn’t like or enjoy that. She is not one to brook people showing her up.

One wonders though when she will fall on her sword. The word around the beltway is that though John Key would like to see the back of Hekia Parata and her never-ending omnishambles performance he feels he can’t axe her because he was the one who waxed lyrical about her abilities and doesn’t want any splash back.

Instead of pushing the inept David Carter forwards into the Speakership so he can rehabilitate Nick Smith, perhaps he should knife Hekia to achieve the same aims.

What I do wonder though is if John Key of Merrill Lynch would have tolerated such ineptitude from his staff? Somehow I doubt it. She would have been shown the exit and told her belongings will be sent on by courier.

John Key the Prime Minister though seems to have become squeamish in dealing with subordinates who fail to fire.


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  • Magor

    Personally I believe.., perhaps.., was her inability to ensure that any initiatives undertaken by National for education was not derailed by staff within that potentially.., may have had other ideas.., you know.., the one’s that pull the opposite way because of certain ‘under the table instructions’…!! Just saying…!

  • Anonymouse Coward

    If Mr Hughes is to be effective in whipping the Department of Education into order he needs a Minister who can watch his back politicaly, and does not needed to be babysitted.

    • unsol

      Peter Hughes is a likable, very clever & well educated man, but he’s an instutionalised bureaucrat – after all, he started his career in the public service 30 odd years ago as a WINZ case manager!

      He was also the CEO that had the wonderful foresight to bring in an extended WFF package…Labour certainly didn’t come up with that little PR beauty on their own!

      But he got on well with Bennett – she even said he would be missed when he left last year, so he could be the silver lining in this fiasco that the MOE & the govt so desperately need.

  • Dave

    Perhaps a few more questions. Resigned or jumped after a serious nudge. COuld be a serious chance for Hekia to step up to the plate and exclaim: This is how it is, and exactly what you will all do; No exceptions.

    As I posted a few days ago, “It seems the horse is entirely before the cart where the teachers and unions are. Teachers job is to Deliver educational outcomes (set by the Minister via the ministry of Education) using their specialty skills and lengthy training to their pupils, They are accountable to their leading teacher, principal, pupils and pupils parents…… full F’n stop. The principal is the educational leader of the school, and generally reports to the ministry, regional manager etc. It is the role of the Ministry to set educational policy and specific performance levels, and not the unions or the teachers. I think this is where there lies a big problem, every teacher thinks they are the policy maker. Where in their Degree/s or Diploma’s does it say Educational Policy Maker. Sure they should have a say, but thats it, a voice. My workers have the same thing, I pay them to work, they get input into our plans and their performance plans, and then they go and do it”.

    At the moment, the teachers and unions are out of control and trying to run the system, instead of getting on with educating our children.

  • 4077th

    Princess Hekia exists purely to “connect” with Maori or at least be seen to have a real one among them. A handsome, smiling woman used as the face of modern Maoridom and as energy minister keep the uppity natives on side while they move ahead with PPP asset sales. She is a walking clusterfuck! JK needs to ditch the bitch ASAP!

  • Sarrs

    What I don’t understand about this situation is this:
    If John Key believed that Hekia Parata was an up and comer, she must have been able to talk herself up pretty well. If she can sell herself as a future star of politics, with little supporting evidence, to John Key, how come she can’t find a way to sell difficult education policies to the public?

  • Auto_Immune

    It must be painful for some backbenchers having to watch Hekia’s performance, knowing full well they could do a better job, but knowing they will never get a shot at a cabinet post unless someone resigns.

    • Even then they won;t get a chance because they will use it to rehabilitate Nick Smith

      • thor42

        Yeah…. pfffft….

        Nick “OMG-the-sky-is-falling-we’re-all-doomed” Smith.

  • thor42

    You’re right, WO.

    In any decent commercial company, Parata’s arse would have been kicked months ago – so hard that she landed on the footpath without touching the floor first.

    She is utterly incompetent. A five-year-old could do better.

    Get Crusher Collins in there NOW. She won’t piss around.

  • Phar Lap

    Hekia is just the Minister,she gets all the education policy from the Dept.Think it is time the blow torch went on the protected faceless Public Servants,in the Education Dept.Seems they are just as useless, as the brain dead Immigration Dept.

    • greybeard

      I agree. Same thing for the Kapiti Coast District Council: senior staff run the place and elected members sign things off.

    • Marcus50

      What bollocks, this is national party policy that is falling down round her ears. She is the least competent National party minister I can recall

  • Greg

    Hekia should have been first to go.

  • unsol

    I think Hekia will get another go & get to keep the portfolio for longer. I personally don’t have too much of an issue with her. I like the fact that she doesnt have the face of a dog, that she is well spoken & ballsy.

    She has mucked up on some things, but on most I think she has been on the money. I think it is the PR machine that is letting her down….aka the MOE. And like others have said, this has been exacerbated primarily by the anarchists (teachers & their unions).

    Hekia has been a lot more upfront & assertive than Tolley & aside from Collins & Ryall I really cant see anyone else doing a better job. Some have referenced backbenchers but who? How can you possibly know until they are in the job? Politics is a nasty game and its filth is a shock to most, especially those who are not institutionalised (unlike Socialist Cindy, Chippie & Semi legal Hughes)

    And it is great Longstone fell on her sword – our top public servants are what really makes the wheels go round, not the politicians who are but mere mouth pieces, the show ponies.

    I would like to see more of this. More transparency so average joe public can see who really makes the decisions. It amuses me when people think that the politicians are the government – whether central or local. Nothing could be further from the truth.

    But it is hardly likely to happen given that we cant even get that transparency at our local government level re our overpaid & underqualified twitty CEOs & their minions.

  • Hekia might make an amusing follow on for Lockwood in the speakers role. I presume she would adore the granduer. Carter will be painful in the role and Dunne would have seen it as a demotion.
    Lesley Longstone was probably a realist- the pupils in government schools around Aranui for the most part have little potential for serious secondary education. There a management, social control and socialisation project. So centralisation of the little dears in one school might have aided policing them and managing their decline. Realism is unattractive personally and politically to most Nats. Apparently Heika is an English favourite. Friend of the wife ?