The Herald reports:
Education Minister Hekia Parata is retiring from politics.
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”.
Pleased to see Hekia get out on top, even though I’ll miss her. She’s achieved a great deal in a very challenging environment, and will be missed.
It is good to see Ministers voluntarily retire before their time is up – as Simon Power, Wayne Mapp and Tony Ryall also did. This helps the Government rejuvenate which is important.