Education Minister Hekia Parata will not contest the next election:
She advised the Prime Minister 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,” says Ms Parata.
“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.
“I am also keen to see a fresh candidate nominated in the marvellous seat of Mana and to provide voters with a strong contest at the next election.”
Ms Parata was elected to Parliament in 2008 and has served as the Minister of Education since 2011. She has previously held the portfolios of Minister of Pacific Island Affairs, Minister of Energy and Resources, Minister for Women, Minister of Ethnic Affairs, Minister for Community & Voluntary Sector, and Associate Minister of ACC. . .
Education is one of the toughest portfolios.
Teacher unions whose leaders put politics before education make the role even harder for a National Minister.
Hekia was always a strong advocate for pupils and teachers in spite of the unions. Her policies have led to significant improvements to the education system and pupil performance.
The right time to go is very much a matter of debate but Hekia is leaving voluntarily which is always the best way to go.
Whether she remains as a Minister until the end of the parliamentary term is up to the Prime Minister. Some Ministers who have announced retirements have been replaced before they leave parliament, others have served out the full term.