Griffin had offered to resign, doesn’t want to stay at RNZ

As soon as Clare Curran was appointed Minister of Broadcasting chairman of RNZ Richard Griffin offered to resign, but she asked him to stay on ‘during the transition’.

Griffin has been chairman for nine years, three three year terms, but does not want to have a fourth. It is unlikely he would be offered another term anyway.

ODT (NZME): RNZ chairman offered resignation to Clare Curran

“I proffered my resignation to her the day she was appointed. I think it was the honourable thing to do,” Griffin told the Weekend Herald.

Curran, he said, was gracious and asked him to stay on during the transition to the new Labour Government.

“It’s no secret Clare and I aren’t exactly bosom buddies but I thought it was a reasonable thing to ask and I was happy to do so given that it was going to be a difficult time for all of us.

“But not quite as difficult as it has turned out to be.”

Griffin’s third term as chairman of the RNZ board finishes at the end of April, nine years in all. He doesn’t anticipate an invitation for a fourth, nor would he want one.

“No I would not,” he said emphatically. “I think I’ve run my course and I’m sure they do too.”

He said he was very embarrassed and at times was noticeably annoyed when questioned at the select committee meeting on Thursday, and his annoyance also comes through in an interview with the Sunday Herald.

His biggest regret of his nine years with RNZ? “The last few weeks.”

“I really regret that a great talent and an interesting woman is now having to suffer the slings and arrows. I’m sorry for her. I believe that Carol thought her loyalty to the Minister checkmated her loyalty to the company and I can understand how that could happen.

“I don’t know what possessed her and I don’t know what possessed the Minister. It’s such a pity.”

He has seemed reluctant to criticise but lets a bit out here, suggesting that Hirschfeld’s loyalty to Curran was why she kept lying. On Curran – “I don’t know what possessed the Minister”.

Griffin seems undecided on whether to hand over the recording of a phone call from Curran to him. This would clarify who is being straight on what Curran said to Griffin, and whether Curran tried to encourage Griffin not to appear before the committee.

The recording either clears Curran of trying to block Griffin’s appearance at the select committee to set the record straight on her meeting with Carol Hirschfeld or it could damn her if, as Griffin claims, she suggested it would be better for him not to appear and that a letter would suffice.

Griffin will spend this weekend at his home in Ruby Bay, west of Nelson, deciding whether to voluntarily hand over the voicemail on his mobile phone.

He had asked RNZ to retrieve the voicemail after it was requested by the Economic Development, Science and Innovation Select Committee following his and RNZ chief executive Paul Thompson’s appearance on Thursday.

But even as efforts were being made to extract the voicemail, Griffin was reconsidering. He worried that refusing to hand over the recording could further damage RNZ but said there was nothing to be achieved by releasing it.

“I will decide over the weekend,” he said.

He seems torn between protecting RNZ’s reputation and causing more of a ruckus, but there is guaranteed to be more attention given to this tomorrow as media will wanting to know if he is going to voluntarily comply with the request to hand over the recording.

On Friday:

If Griffin doesn’t decide to hand it over he could be compelled to by the Speaker. Trevor Mallard has been involved in controversial situations involving Curran in the past:

Stuff: Whistleblower wins defamation appeal

The woman who accused Labour MP Trevor Mallard and a top public servant of destroying her reputation has won an appeal to the Supreme Court.

In 2007, whistleblower Erin Leigh accused Mallard, then Environment Minister, of defamation.

This was after she raised questions about political interference and alleged former minister David Parker pushed for Clare Curran to be appointed to a communications role with the Ministry.

All three Labour members involved are currently sitting Members of Parliament.

At the time Mallard was asked an oral question on the matter in Parliament and spoke negatively about Leigh.

He told the House she had “repeated competence issues” and said Curran had been appointed to “fix up the mess”.

That’s a long time ago, but is somewhat ironic in the present situation.

In its decision released today, the Supreme Court found Gow’s interaction to be covered by qualified privilege but said he could not face a defamation claim unless Leigh could prove he acted with ill-will.

“The issue is whether the public servant, or whoever else communicates information to the Minister, needs more than qualified privilege in order to enable the Minister, and the House as a whole, properly and efficiently to deal with parliamentary questions.”

The Court found that was not necessary and said it was a “no bad thing” that public servants were prevented from acting with ill-will when advising a minister.

“It is very much in the interests of the proper functioning of the House that those communicating with a Minister in present circumstances, whoever they are, have a disincentive against giving vent to ill will or improper purpose.”

Also ironic.

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24 Comments

  1. Maggy Wassilieff

     /  April 8, 2018

    Clare Curran has form with the resignation of Public Servants in high positions.

    You seem to have forgotten about Hugh Logan’s resignation
    http://www.newshub.co.nz/nznews/hugh-logan-resigns-as-ceo-of-environment-ministry-2007122016

    Reply
    • Blazer

       /  April 8, 2018

      look up the definition of….resignation.

      Reply
    • PDB

       /  April 8, 2018

      No doubt a bad look for Curran if she accepted Griffin’s resignation as soon as she took the role. Far better for her to wait a bit and then get her person in the job – no doubt Hirschfeld was being groomed for the role.

      Reply
  2. Zedd

     /  April 8, 2018

    ‘Griffin has been chairman for nine years’ under ‘Team-Key/English’

    obviously he is not on the same page with the new minister/Govt. perhaps even wanting to bring her/them down ?

    Reply
    • PDB

       /  April 8, 2018

      Probably so set on ‘taking them down’ he offered his resignation when the new govt came in…can you even read?

      Reply
      • Gezza

         /  April 8, 2018

        Can’t help wondering if he’s just enjoying sweet revenge making the Minister stew at the moment over the recording.

        Reply
  3. Alan Wilkinson

     /  April 8, 2018

    “It’s my recording”. I think he will find it is not. Certainly already knows that. Gezza may be right that he is deliberately leaving Curran twisting in the wind while seemingly protecting her.

    Reply
    • Gezza

       /  April 8, 2018

      Good man. I’m often not wrong. As you know. 😀

      Reply
      • Alan Wilkinson

         /  April 8, 2018

        But you are the last to know when you are!

        Reply
        • Gezza

           /  April 8, 2018

          Nonsense Sir Alan. I realise very quickly. All the rest is just keeping you busy and out of other mischief for as long as possible until I finally might indicate some limited feeling of sympathy for the correct answer.

          Reply
        • Gezza

           /  April 8, 2018

          I got a tp-something or other USB wireless adapter so I could get back on the net with ancient XP system upstairs which I stopped using when I got this Win7 laptop & after Windows stopped supporting XP and MS Security Essentials which by then was the only free firewall that would work with the limited RAM it had.

          As usual the software on the disk didn’t like the software on my computer but I eventually defeated its multiple refusals to connect to my fibre wifi network with a broad range of strategies that looked a lot like “I dunno why it’s effing working now but it effing is, so whatever I did besides swearing a lot must’ve been exceptionally clever.”

          But Chrome crashes because it doesn’t support XP any more. I’m going to have to google IE8 because it’s lost its mind & I haven’t a clue what it needs (probably an update not supported either) and the only one working is Firefox which is a bit slow but automatically disabled various add-ons that were making work harder.

          Avast still does a working antivirus plus updates so that’s installed. Now I have to find a compatible free (or even cheap) Firewall that’ll work with XP. Know of any?

          Reply
          • Alan Wilkinson

             /  April 8, 2018

            What do you want to use the old xp machine for?

            Reply
            • Gezza

               /  April 8, 2018

              Mainly music recording via Audacity, which is an old version & needs updating, but if I was working up there on the machine & wanted to access the net (eg to visit this site & see if you’re running amok in my absence) while up there I thought it would be handy to be able to. I only need one working browser. I don’t think the cpu’s running at full capacity but I forget how to check. One 250 whatevers RAM chip wasn’t working IIRC.

              The former workplace techie mate who got made redundant & knocked the system up for me from other cannibalised compaqs for a song said the only way to get those chips now is by finding a working one in an old computer, and that was 7 years ago.

            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  April 8, 2018

              You can buy desktops cheap on Trademe. I’d be inclined to look for one running a newer version of windows. I don’t think the old machine owes you much.

            • Gezza

               /  April 8, 2018

              Yeah. Maybe you’re right. It’s just so well set up for recording, everything works exactly right & I get real time playback when recording, which helps give a better result & a fuller sound – but I don’t know why my laptop won’t do that. Also it’ll actually cost me quite a bit to dump everything, & it’s thebonly computer that’ll run my old Epson laser printer.

            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  April 8, 2018

              You have to weigh all that up. I don’t know what’s involved with your music sw/hw either.

            • Gezza

               /  April 8, 2018

              I’ll play round with it for a while. Haven’t had any original music in me since my lady died. It’s the hardware that’s particularly apt – lots of jack point inputs for 3.5 mm plugs & not just one each for phones & mic.

            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  April 8, 2018

              Sounds like you should just use it for the music then and leave the internet out of it. Can always carry your laptop up there?

  4. There are a lot of good heritage programs out there Alan that aren’t infested by bloatware. I have several like scanner drivers and photo edits. Means I have kept an old machine running on XP and another on Windows 7. If they aren’t on your Wifi, they are good.

    Reply
    • Alan Wilkinson

       /  April 8, 2018

      Sounds like Gezza wants to go on the internet though. If it’s all just internet, maybe Linux//Ubantu? Otherwise I would want to upgrade the OS somehow.

      Reply
      • Gezza

         /  April 8, 2018

        Firewalls are memory hungry? I see the Antivirus slowed the ol’ workhorse down noticeably.

        Reply
  5. duperez

     /  April 8, 2018

    As soon as Clare Curran was appointed Minister of Broadcasting chairman of RNZ Richard Griffin offered to resign? Does that mean that as soon as there was to be a coalition Government he decided to resign? Or he knew he couldn’t work with Curran or didn’t want to work with Curran.

    If someone suggested that that sounds like petulance what could be said to dispel the notion? If someone suggested that that sounds like Griffin thinks RNZ is his game and he doesn’t want anyone else to play what could be said to dispel the notion?

    Reply
    • Gezza

       /  April 8, 2018

      He said he didn’t want another term so why not just suggest to the incoming Minister why don’t I leave now & you can start afresh with a new chairperson?

      What notion do you have as to why Curran didn’t just say: “Good idea. Thanks Rick?”

      Reply

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