Alf has done Hekia a small favour this morning by emailing her a news item from the NZ Herald.
She might not necessarily need to take advantage of the information contained in this item. But she is bound to be licking her wounds and – who knows? – just might fancy a change of career.
The news item could be just what she needs to help her decide her future.
It draws attention to huge employment opportunities in the Western Australian mining industry. Hekia’s impressive CV, of course, shows she is a staunch champion of mining.
Right now, in the aftermath of the U-turn taken yesterday on class sizes, she is probably ruing the day she gave up the Energy and Resources portfolio to take on education.
Yep, she copped a bit of flak for some of her mining decisions – like when she supported a bloody big opencast mine at Denniston, which she reckoned would bring $1 billion into the New Zealand economy over the next six years.
That got the greenies on her back.
But enraged greenies are pussycats compared with enraged teachers.
Now that she has buckled on classrooms, some Opposition clods have been howling for her resignation.
This is blatant politicking, of course, but Hekia might have had a gutsful of political rancour and be tempted to consider the pursuit of fresh opportunities.
Alf has obliged by letting her know she could become one of the Kiwis (more than 1000 of them) who have applied for lucrative “fly in, fly out” work in Western Australian mines.
Actually, the aforementioned news item essentially was about unemployed Australians fuming about the Kiwis flying in but Hekia is a dab hand at dealing with pissed off people, notwithstanding her experience with teachers and parents on the class size matter.
Fat pay packets of up to $150,000 a year and solid work were promised at seminars held in towns at the top of the North Island last month.
The meetings, held by a recruitment company, pitched the idea of commuting to Australia to work in the mining, gas and oil industries.
Dunno if the money would necessarily tempt her.
But she is keen on digging holes in the ground to see what can be dug out.
Across the ditch, fair to say, workers are kicking up a fuss about Kiwis being offered work in Western Australia.
Joe Valentine, an Aussie who has been looking for mining work for 19 months, reckons locals should come first, which is a very unfriendly attitude.
“It’s just bringing in cheap labour from overseas to work in our mines. They don’t give a rat’s arse about Australian workers, the government doesn’t give a rat’s arse about Australian workers,” he told Channel 7’s Today Tonight current affairs show this week.
“How dare they say there’s a shortage of labour when people are willing to work in the mines. It’s bullshit, it really is.”
The programme said Australian jobs were being sold off exclusively to New Zealanders, with a recruitment agency told to find 60,000 Kiwis to take high-paying fly in, fly out mining jobs.
This quest for Kiwis apparently is a consequence of mining magnate Gina Rinehart’s plan to import 1700 foreign workers to fill jobs on her iron-ore project in Western Australia.
According to the recruitment company, successful applicants would spend five weeks in Australia, then be flown home for a fortnight. They would be paid in New Zealand dollars, into New Zealand bank accounts.
Most of the applications have come from the Far North and Northland, but the recruitment company has received some from Auckland, Tauranga, Hawkes Bay and Taranaki.
There’s nothing to rule out an application from Wellington.
Actually, Alf has taken the liberty of sending the recruitment company Hekia’s CV and an expression of interest in what’s on offer.
And (yes, there was an ulterior motive to doing this) if she decided Western Australia looked like a nice place to work, there would be a Cabinet vacancy.
In the inevitable reshuffle….
Well (blush) Alf stands a damned good chance of picking up Education, because he has a School Certificate to show he has been educated and (as he highlighted here a week or so ago) he is fond of Teacher’s.