Curran survives but she, RNZ and Ardern are compromised

Clare Curran has survived the furore over meeting with RNZ journalist and manager Carol Hirschfeld, so far, but her reputation (such as it was) has taken a hit, and RNZ has also been compromised. This makes the proposals to give millions more funding for what is called RNZ+ awkward at least. Curran has to work with RNZ management on this.

The loser at this stage is obviously Hirschfeld, who had no option but to resign after it was found that she had repeatedly lied to her bosses about the cafe meeting. Because of her false denials two bosses misinformed Parliament and will be fronting up today to correct statements that had made to a Select Committee.

Jacinda Ardern has given Curran a talking to and a pass, but has looked weak dealing with it (in a difficult situation for her).

Curran remains as a Minister, but she is being slammed all over media, not just for instigating a meeting that she should have known was  ‘naive’ for an incoming minister – correct protocols should have been the first thing she found out about – but I suspect that Hirschfeld was liked a lot more than she was by journalists.

It looks like Curran threw Hirschfeld under a bus to protect her own career. But it is still hard to fathom why Hirschfeld concocted a false story to explain her meeting – was she trying to protect herself or Curran?

It is not just Labour’s plans for RNZ that are compromised. Curran is now being ridiculed given her responsibilities for transparency open government.

Hamish Rutherford: Why no calls for Clare Curran, now Minister of Secret Meetings, to resign?

But Curran, the enigmatic MP for Dunedin South, has made herself a type of cocktail party joke that she will probably never shake, for reasons which have little to do with RNZ, but her other title.

The Minister of Open Government.

When your very job title is the punchline of the joke, you are doomed.

In reality her official portfolio title is less poetic – Associate Minister of State Services (Open Government) – but the other, more earnest moniker has stuck.

If Jacinda Ardern is determined not to sack her, she cannot possibly escape the fact that a plank of her Government – to be more transparent than National – is utterly comic while Curran is its figurehead.

New Zealand needs to focus on open government to assure itself that it deserves to be seen as corruption free.

But Curran is now the Minister of Secret Meetings, the Minister of Astoria and the Minister of Costing a Respected Journalist Her Job. She is in no position to drive more open government.

And this has also compromised Ardern in what was already a difficult couple of weeks for her.

Barry Soper: Jacinda Ardern’s shaky defence of Clare Curran over meeting-gate

Curran’s boss Jacinda Ardern’s backing her minister, essentially saying everyone makes mistakes but acknowledging she should have been more transparent.

A bit of an irony for the associate Minister for Open Government!

Ardern used the ministerial behaviour bible to reinforce her support for her sheepish minister, the Cabinet Manual, that sets out the line that must be toed when interacting with the bureaucracy.

There’s one clause in the manual that could make the Prime Minister’s claim that the rules weren’t breached highly debatable.

It says “if an employee wishes to communicate privately with a Minister about a matter concerning the agency by which he or she is employed, the Minister should ensure that the employee has first raised the matter with the agency’s chief executive.”

The fact that the minister sought the meeting – without first informing the RNZ boss – just makes matters worse.

This may yet caus

That’s from Parliament yesterday. Not a very happy looking bench.

74 Comments

  1. Alan Wilkinson

     /  March 29, 2018

    They are like a bunch of teenagers who’ve just been given the taxpayers’ credit card. No experience and no sense. Deperately need more old white men.

    • Blazer

       /  March 29, 2018

      sure like..McCully,Nick Smith,Coleman etc…duds.Another storm in a …teacup.

      • Alan Wilkinson

         /  March 29, 2018

        Lasted a lot longer than this lot will, B.

        • Blazer

           /  March 29, 2018

          Castro and Stalin lasted a long time too…so you must have the utmost admiration for them…one was even an old white man.

          • Alan Wilkinson

             /  March 29, 2018

            Not that you would notice, but Lefty dictatorships are not as high on my political approval ratings as yours.

      • If you want to regurgitate crap from the last Government you should do that in Open Forum rather than trying to run diversions in topical issues.

        • Kitty Catkin

           /  March 29, 2018

          It’s false logic that if someone likes someone or something in a general genre, they will like other things in it. I like dark chocolate, but I loathe sweet cream fillings in chocolate.

  2. artcroft

     /  March 29, 2018

    The key issue here is that Hirschfeld is so well known, this gives the the incident power to break out of the beltway and into public view. Curran, as Minister for Open Govt, is now a joke, and journalists can retell the joke ad infinitum, or until Curran goes. National will hope its ad infinitum.

    • Blazer

       /  March 29, 2018

      Hirschfeld has been invisible to the public since she left… T.V.

      • Gezza

         /  March 29, 2018

        Still a babe though.

      • Ray

         /  March 29, 2018

        Maybe invisible to you blaze but she has been doing podcasts and has had a profile at RNZ.
        I struggle to believe she lied to her bosses about this but she did hence her resignation, just wonder if she thought this was her and Curran’s story and they were going to stick to it.
        And there she goes under the bus!

      • artcroft

         /  March 29, 2018

        People still know who she is. If this occurred to Lynn Freeman no one would care.

    • Alan Wilkinson

       /  March 29, 2018

      Yes. First time we have the opposition chanting “Don’t sack the Minister!”

  3. Watch the minister for secret meetings answering questions in Parliament.
    The spaces are longer than the vocals

  4. PDB

     /  March 29, 2018

    It seems the whole point of the meeting/s was for Curran to get her woman into the main role at RNZ in order to push through the RNZ TV channel the current head is against.

    The fact the govt is willing to pour millions of $ into a failing medium (TV) seems to have escaped scrutiny.

    • High Flying Duck

       /  March 29, 2018

      It’s so unlike Labour to be living in the past…

      Telling comment from Tracy Watkins:

      ” Hirschfeld’s motivation for withholding the truth had not been explained, but there were suspicions within the RNZ hierarchy that Curran was seeking out allies for the standalone TV channel aspect of Labour’s broadcasting manifesto, which she has championed.

      Both Thompson and board chair Richard Griffin have made it clear they have a broader vision for the RNZ+ plan.”

      • PDB

         /  March 29, 2018

        Hooton says more to come out next week so if true then information has been held back to catch Curran in her lies/ cover up.

        • Kitty Catkin

           /  March 29, 2018

          (gives Ducky long, old-fashioned look, but says nothing)

  5. Zedd

     /  March 29, 2018

    Labour/NZF & Grns have been in power for about six months.. give them a break you pack of sore loser tories !

    “Who let the dogs out ?”

    • High Flying Duck

       /  March 29, 2018

      You’re right Zedd, the carnage they have created in 6 short months is staggering.
      I can’t wait to see how the next 6 go, especially when we have the strong stable leadership of Winnie at the helm to look forward to.
      Time to stock up on TAB shares and Stolichnaya!

    • Trevors_elbow

       /  March 29, 2018

      Tories? UK term with zero relevance in NZ

      Maybe the Watermelons shoukd live up to their stated ethics and force the correct behaviours on Labour. Their votes hold the key to many pieces of policy becoming law….they have the power… but as usual they are missing in action when the Left us misbehaving

      • Alan Wilkinson

         /  March 29, 2018

        They gave National their questions. Now they should make Mallard stop blocking them.

    • David

       /  March 29, 2018

      They have been in for 5 months and had 9 years to prepare how much longer are you going to give them Zedd.
      I hope someone is polling this week.

      • Blazer

         /  March 29, 2018

        they have very big issues to tackle that National neglected.National drifted along ,their ‘brighter future’ reliant on borrowing,immigration and property …inflation.In fact 9 years of the Natz can be defined as ‘kick the can…down the road’.

        • PDB

           /  March 29, 2018

          Yes – apparently the crime rate was too low under the National govt so the new govt is going to lift it.

        • alloytoo

           /  March 29, 2018

          and yet business confidence has plummeted since Ardern became PM and we’ve become the laughing stock of the intelligence community.

          • Blazer

             /  March 29, 2018

            except it hasn’t plummeted at all.Laughing stock because an ex russian spy is allegedly poisoned ,and he has become a cause celebre of the west to shore up anti Russian sentiment as Nato has been told by the U.S to fund and operate its own…defence.

            • High Flying Duck

               /  March 29, 2018

            • High Flying Duck

               /  March 29, 2018

              Hate itt when the graph doesn’t show…
              Business confidence plummeted after the election from +18.3 net in August to a low of -39.3 in December / Jan.
              It has “recovered” to -20 and is treading water at that negative level.

            • High Flying Duck

               /  March 29, 2018

              NZ is a laughing stock because Jacinda said she couldn’t find any spies to expel. Patently absurd statement.
              The West is up in arms because of a Russian assassination attempt on British soil. It was the straw that broke the camels back after a plethora of aggressive and provocative actions by the Russians.

            • Blazer

               /  March 29, 2018

              ‘NZ is a laughing stock because Jacinda said she couldn’t find any spies to expel. Patently absurd statement.’…yours is the patently absurd statement,-how were these spies escaping detection before and suddenly have become so obvious?The concern for a russian double agent who didn’t even expire is quite…amazing.

            • Gezza

               /  March 29, 2018

              An image has to end with .jpg or .png to post here HFD. I always test them in a new tab before posting. I added .jpg to the end of that link:

            • High Flying Duck

               /  March 29, 2018

              Blazer, showing off your mousetrap like mind again I see.
              Most countries have spies in other countries. It is known and tolerated as part of international affairs. Everyone does it.
              Russians were being expelled in a show of solidarity against what Russia did and so Jacinda’s comments were simply weasel words.

            • Blazer

               /  March 29, 2018

              @HFD…I see ,so spies are known and tolerated because…what ?’everyones …doing it’.Solidarity ,because a double agent has been poisoned and it is suspected/convenient to point the finger at Russia.A mind of your own,an independent foreign policy,a rejection of herd mentality=all good.

            • High Flying Duck

               /  March 29, 2018

              As always, twisting the topic in unrecognisable ways to try and make your argument stick.
              Expel the spies or don’t expel the spies – Either is fine – make a decision and justify it..
              Just don’t say something so stupid it makes a mockery of you in trying to defend what you’ve done.

            • Blazer

               /  March 29, 2018

              @HFD,the only mockery is the admission that ,yes we have spies here and they are here to spy on us,however we cannot prove they are actually spies…unless they listed it on their customs declaration on arrival.It would be alot easier that…way.How is Skipral these days…anyway…bet you he can hardly move in his hospital room(he is in care?yes)all the wellwishers ,cards and bouquets he must have recieved from all around the …concerned world.

            • High Flying Duck

               /  March 29, 2018

              The latest word on Skripal is that he is permanently damaged and a close friend has suggested he should be ‘allowed to die’ due to the pain he is in.
              I’m sure your concern is rallying him in his grave time of need though.

              But for the n-th time – the issue isn’t Skripal. It is that Russia attacked someone with poison on UK soil. It is a terrorist attack.

              Much like we were a touch upset about the Rainbow Warrior and the world said “it’s the French, what can you do? Cest la vie”

            • Blazer

               /  March 29, 2018

              @HFD…’the issue isn’t Skripal. It is that Russia attacked someone with poison on UK soil. It is a terrorist attack.’..this is a case for Inspector Clousseau.Evidence that it was Russia would not stand up in any impartial…courtroom.

          • Blazer

             /  March 29, 2018

            captive to a handful of overpaid executives and their level of ‘business confidence?No thanks…Sir Ralph Norris and Theo Spiering ‘s confidence last year was …misplaced…they are now out of a …job.

            • High Flying Duck

               /  March 29, 2018

              Is that your way of saying your original comment was completely wrong?

            • Blazer

               /  March 29, 2018

              @HFD,allytoo’s contention that business confidence has plummeted has been shown to be wrong.As you confirm…it has actually recovered.

            • High Flying Duck

               /  March 29, 2018

              “Recovered” to a position 40 points below the pre-election confidence level.
              Win!

            • Gezza

               /  March 29, 2018

              It’s a tie. You let him squirrel you away onto spies. He got you there.

            • High Flying Duck

               /  March 29, 2018

              Alloytoo’s comment referenced both the spies (laughing stock) and business confidence so both were in play Gezza.
              I think he lost comfortably on both.

            • Gezza

               /  March 29, 2018

              Shit. I gave up scrolling up too early. :/

            • Kitty Catkin

               /  March 29, 2018

              I was naively surprised to discover that old Mrs M________ was the church spy in the Russian Orthodox Church; all churches had them and people knew to be careful about what they said around them. This was usually under duress, though, it they still had family in Russia.

  6. sorethumb

     /  March 29, 2018

    No one monitors bias at RNZ. Thake Mediawatch. Former presenter Russel brown.

    • Gezza

       /  March 29, 2018

      😳
      Aren’t you monitoring it? 😐

      • sorethumb

         /  March 29, 2018

        Apart from me.

        • Gezza

           /  March 29, 2018

          Who should monitor bias on RNZ – and what do you think they should do with that information? There’s a bloody strong bias on speaking English, for example.

  7. Will Curran be allowed to answer Q10 in the House this afternoon:

    MELISSA LEE to the Minister of Broadcasting, Communications and Digital Media: Who from her office contacted Radio New Zealand on two occasions to raise the issue of the inconsistencies in Carol Hirschfeld’s account of the circumstances of their meeting?

    • Gezza

       /  March 29, 2018

      The matter seems to be the subject of a Breach of Privilege complaint.

      • High Flying Duck

         /  March 29, 2018

        Curran’s “I was naive” comment put in context:

        • Gezza

           /  March 29, 2018

          (Don’t mention it. You’re welcome for the displayed graph.)

          • High Flying Duck

             /  March 29, 2018

            I gave you an uptick!
            But I appreciate the tip – I’ll remember that. Thanks.

            • Gezza

               /  March 29, 2018

              With all the hundreds of upticks I get from Blazer and Corks how was I supposed to know? 😀

            • Gezza

               /  March 29, 2018

              PS: H, sometimes, if you can see a .jpg in the URL & a string of characters after it – you can delete the extra characters & see if that’ll post. Often it will, but it’ll be a larger size. That’s why I always test in a separate tab before posting here.

            • Blazer

               /  March 29, 2018

              @Gezza..actually I give you heaps of upticks.When you are on song and analyse a topic there is no one better…unfortunately..every now and again..a momentary..lapse of..reason.

            • Gezza

               /  March 29, 2018

              Ok. I’ve given you one for that but I’m not entirely convinced.

  8. No chance of this being forgotten and going away over the Easter weekend, the appearance of the RNZ chairman and chief executive in front of the Select Committee has been postponed until next Thursday, so it will come up again then.

    And Curran is scheduled to be interviewed on Q&A on Sunday – I wonder who’s idea that was. I can’t imagine Curran relishing that exposure.

    • sorethumb

       /  March 29, 2018

      State broadcasters can’t be trusted. While they cry fake news , you can pick and choose. There is real diversity on the Internet.

      • Blazer

         /  March 29, 2018

        this morning I heard Hosking talking to his wife…only to be trumped by driving home hearing Du Plessis talking to her…husband!ZB ..talk about keeping it in the family…people are too stupid apparantly to know..Hosking/Hawkesby and Du Plessis/Soper are …..pillow talkers!

        • PartisanZ

           /  March 29, 2018

          Surely it depends what you mean by “trusted”?

          Commercial stations can be trusted to act in their own commercial interests.

          Their activities are therefore likely to be both self-justifying and systems justifying [corporate-capitalist, status-quo therefore ‘conservative values’ affirming] … to ‘win’ listeners … and to secure the advertising dollars …

          So, hypothetical situation: Someone with radio experience who really badly needs a job but is somewhat Left and ‘progressive’ decides to pretend to be a Rightie because providing comfort and confirmation bias for fellow Righties pays the big bucks … and a Rightie host effectively has to earn their salary by securing/maintaining audience and hence advertising dolleros …

          I guess if that’s the kind of trusted person people want …

          Personally I’d rather trust someone who’s ‘loyalty’ (if you will) is to the public for paying their salary from the public purse. They don’t have the imperative of ‘winning’ their audience by catering to their ideology in order to secure advertising dollars to pay themselves … The public audience is thus more representative of “freedom of choice” and inherently less biased …

          • Blazer

             /  March 29, 2018

            I’m just waiting for the day that either or ..of these married broadcasters with different surnames says…’fuck..you’!

            • Gezza

               /  March 29, 2018

              Who to? The station, the audience, or their hitherto partner?

            • Blazer

               /  March 30, 2018

              to the person they are talking to…and married to.

          • Gezza

             /  March 29, 2018

            The problem is the “public audience” they broadcast to is looking likely to be funded by the taxpayers. And the difficulty with that is that government of the day allocates how much of the tax is spent. And if that government appoints people to the body supposed to oversee their independence there is a strong incentive & likelihood the government of the day will attempt to control the messaging.

      • Gezza

         /  March 29, 2018

        With a decent independent oversight regime they can probably be trusted to be more balanced than TV3 & private radio like NewStalkZB which has been rabidly right wing whenever I’ve had a listen.

        But I want to know more about how ad-free RNZ tv & multimedia are intended to be paid for long term.

  9. chrism56

     /  March 30, 2018

    Ms Curran is really in trouble when even the PSA turns against her.
    https://thespinoff.co.nz/politics/30-03-2018/clare-curran-and-co-must-take-more-care-not-to-put-public-servants-at-risk/
    The thing National will be hoping is that she doesn’t resign. She is now poisoned meat beyond redemption.

    • Ray

       /  March 30, 2018

      Hardly surprising when you consider how PSA members have fallen or been shoved under busses when Miss Currant has been involved.

  10. chrism56

     /  March 30, 2018

    I suspect Ms Curran is getting herself deeper in the poo. First, it appears she made no attempt to warn Ms Hirshfield about the change in the meetings status (lets one know who your friends are, doesn’t it) and secondly, the last supplementary of Q10 gives all the impression of being a deep trap.

    Post on this: https://yournz.org/2018/03/30/currans-problems-with-rnz-will-extend-into-next-week/