Will it be the Hon Hekia Parata?

Audrey Young writes at the Herald:

The strong performance of National candidate Hekia Parata in the Mana byelection has boosted her chances of being promoted this week.

It certainly has not harmed it. And the fact the PM did not announced last week the new Minister night suggest he was waiting to see how Mana went.

Ms Parata, a former public policy and Treaty of Waitangi consultant, not only slashed Labour’s majority, but performed well under pressure and ran a strong team.

Counting against her is that she is a first-term MP. Her promotion ahead of the class of 2005 could put some noses out of joint.

The leading contenders in that pack are Craig Foss, the MP for Tukituki and chairman of the finance and expenditure select committee, and Chris Tremain, MP for Napier and the chief Government whip.

I think both Craig and Chris know that their ascension is a matter of when, not if, which would help molify them if Hekia jumps ahead of then. But having said that, 2010 is far preferable to 2012 in terms of ascension.

What may count against them this time is that if they are promoted, then there has to be a minor reshuffle. While Hekia can slip in and take over Pansy’s portfolios directly.

Selwyn MP Amy Adams, in the same cohort as Ms Parata, is also tipped for future promotion in a commerce or economic role.

Or Agriculture. Or Justice. Amy is multi-talented 🙂

Mr Key could save a little money by appointing no one to the Cabinet and appointing another minister outside the Cabinet. He could make an even bigger saving by appointing no one at all and upsetting no one.

This is the only error in Audrey’s article. If the PM makes no appointment at all, this will in fact upset every single Backbencher. Reducing the size of the Ministry means more people competing for fewer places. A smaller Ministry is regarded by backbenchers with the same loathing as teacher unions performance pay.

Personally an Executive of 28 is larger than we need. However the time for change would have been when first forming the Government, rather than doing it by attrition.

But that would suggest Mrs Wong’s role was surplus to requirements in the first place.

Well …..

Mr Key is not seen as a slave to “political correctness”; he is not oblivious to gender and identity issues in National’s line-up either.

It is a factor, but not the sole or even the dominant factor.

The importance of the Mana byelection is that a promotion would be seen on the basis of talent, not tokenism

Yes, a promotion would be seen as gained on the basis of performance.

Making one appointment outside of the Cabinet to take over Mrs Wong’s two portfolios makes most sense, and of the contenders, Ms Parata’s sphere of interest is best suited to the vacancies.

We may find out later today who it is.

Talking of Mana, kudos must go to Phil Quinn who predicted a Faafoi win by just 1,000 votes.

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