(by Te Prophet) Hekia Parata may have lost her electorate vote but do not count her out of the ministerial post race. Faafoi was a probable bet for retaining the vacant seat but Homer Simpson could have been a candidate and he too would have won by a small majority. That is a reality of modern day politics. However what it achieved was to cement Parata’s status as a real contender and based on this potential John Key can manipulate party support to endorse and promote Parata to a ministerial position.
This begs the question, which agencies should Parata be attached to? Maori Affairs, Education, Justice and Treaty Settlements appear to be the likely portfolios but then they would be too obvious and not a true test of her character. Let’s not forget that her husband and Chairperson of the National Party Maori Caucus Sir Harawira Gardiner is a constant advisor, so each step in her promotion will be calculated and risks and consequences will no doubt be minimised to ensure maximum exposure. Money and personal wealth is not necessarily her ambition, power and influence is. Therefore extending her influence into domains traditionally not her strengths would be the more likely spaces for portfolio responsibilities. Learning without real immediate risks of failure and non-compliance is a safer route to pursue before election year. However in saying that Hekia enjoys challenges, it stimulates her intelligence and provides motivation to pursue a dream she has long held since her days as a Prime Ministerial advisor for Bolger.
This too is a bonus for her iwi Ngati Porou who have a long traditional relationship with successive governments. Parata sister-in-law is a Maori advisor in Keys group and continuing to foster this relationship will bring huge rewards when this type of arrangement is needed to mitigate iwi concerns both financially and politically.
The formation of new regulatory bodies in commerce and biosecurity and environment would be interesting playgrounds for Parata. It would expose her to international trade and big business and allow her to wet her feet in a male dominated arena. It would test all her skills of diplomacy and increase her sphere of influence if she is able to create strategic alliances that could become sustainable vehicles of change for her party in the future.
Either way the future is bright unless some scandal that is unavoidable usurps her creditability and forces Wira to call it a day.