Clare Curran voluntarily dumped, partially

In the traditional time for releasing news you want buried in the weekend, Jacinda Ardern and Clare Curran gave slightly different versions of Curran’s demotion today for repeating a failure to properly record a meeting.

Ardern says Clare Curran removed from Cabinet

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has removed Clare Curran from Cabinet and accepted her offer to resign her Government Digital Services portfolio and Open Government responsibilities, following a second failure to properly declare a meeting.

Dr Megan Woods will take over as Minister of Government Digital Services and Ms Curran’s delegated responsibilities in relation to Open Government will revert to Chris Hipkins, as Minister for State Services. Minister Curran will retain her responsibilities as Minister for Broadcasting, Communications and Digital Media, and as Associate Minister for ACC, but will now sit outside Cabinet.

In February this year Minister Curran met with Mr Derek Handley at her Beehive office in her capacity as Minister of Government Digital Services to discuss Mr Handley’s interest in the vacant Chief Technology Officer (CTO) role. This meeting took place after the first unsuccessful recruitment round for the CTO. As with approaches from other interested parties, the Minister directed Mr Handley to register his interest with MBIE officials. Applications reopened for the CTO role in May.

The meeting was not recorded in the Minister’s diary and neither the Minister’s staff nor officials were made aware of it.

The meeting was subsequently mistakenly left out of an answer to a recent Parliamentary Question for Written Answer. The meeting should have been included in the answer and the error has been corrected. Ms Curran has advised there have been no other meetings between herself and Mr Handley outside the application process.

“The failure to record the meeting in her diary; inform her staff and officials; and accurately answer Parliamentary questions has left the Minister open to the accusation that she deliberately sought to hide the meeting.” said Jacinda Ardern.

“While this was not the Minister’s intention, this is the second misjudgement and is not in keeping with my expectations, or the Minister’s expectations of herself. As a result I have chosen to remove Minister Curran from Cabinet.

“Transparency is important, even more so for Hon Curran given her Open Government responsibilities.

“I have accepted the Minister’s offer to resign her responsibilities relevant to this issue, which clearly she can no longer continue in.

So Ardern accepted an offer to resign, but removed her, or something like that.

The demotion from Cabinet but loss of only some of her portfolios must have been at least discussed, it’s hard to see Curran offering to resign exactly as Ardern dictated.

Curran’s statement:

So she is still promoting her retained responsibilities. Some have said it is a bit of a Claytons dumping.

And it has been pointed out that it’s a bit cynical for Ardern to claim “Transparency is important” when she waited until late on a busy news Friday, with the Bridges leak fiasco and Australian leadership fiasco dominating news.

I don’t think the loss of Open Government will disappoint many people, Curran has failed to live up to her responsibilities in a number of ways. She is probably a popular demotee.

I’m not sure how will Chris Hipkins will fit with the open Government role alongside his job as Government Whip.




  1. sorethumb

     /  August 24, 2018

    So what was the meeting about?

    • “In February this year Minister Curran met with Mr Derek Handley at her Beehive office in her capacity as Minister of Government Digital Services to discuss Mr Handley’s interest in the vacant Chief Technology Officer (CTO) role”

      Handley is apparently on the shortlist for the position, which was due to be announced any time now. She has made things awkward for the Government.

  2. Alan Wilkinson

     /  August 24, 2018

    She’s s great loss as Minister for Open Government continually demonstrating we haven’t got it and need it.

    • Blazer

       /  August 24, 2018

      basically what Ardern said when she expelled her from Cabinet and stripped her of 2 portfolios.

      • Kitty Catkin

         /  August 24, 2018

        I thought that it was ‘the Hon. First Name Surname’, not ‘the Hon Surname.’

        ‘Minister Curran’ sounds a bit odd, too.

        • Kitty Catkin

           /  August 24, 2018

          My mistake; people do say Minister Surname, but it still sounds odd.

          I was right about the Hon Both Names.

  3. Gezza

     /  August 24, 2018

    How could a meeting be “set up directly between Mr Handley”?

    This woman is still the Minister for Communications? o_O

  4. Maggy Wassilieff

     /  August 24, 2018

    Oh Come on PG
    How about some decent analysis here…

    How long has Jacinda Ardern known that Clare Curran gave a dodgy answer to a Parliamentary Question?
    Are we to believe that Curran just remembered her slip-up this morning?

    Do you really think this has nothing to do with the National Leak?

    • Blazer

       /  August 24, 2018

      you are clearly a barking mad conspiracy theorist..Maggy..wake up..Maggy..I ..

      • Trevors_elbow

         /  August 25, 2018

        Oh dear. Straight to ad hominem attacks. Pathetic Bol….

    • I don’t know the answers to those questions, and I have had very little time today to look into it. I put up a quick post to give you all something to comment to.

      How about some decent analysis from you?

      YourNZ is a community project after all.

      • Maggy Wassilieff

         /  August 24, 2018

        Well, some decent analysis from me:
        1. There is no evidence whatsoever that a National MP has confessed to being the leaker
        -your headline is incorrect.

        It has been clear for a couple of days that numerous people had knowledge of Simon Bridges
        spending… People in the Speaker’s Office, People in Parliamentary Services, as well as National MPs.
        So why have you been so assured that the leaker is a National MP?

        • Blazer

           /  August 24, 2018

          Bridges said it was..but has tried to back away from that.

        • I’m not sure, but that’s the impression RNZ gave initially – that was before Bridges’ stand-up that only semi clarified things.

          • Maggy Wassilieff

             /  August 24, 2018

            That’s the impression RNZ gave initially

            Well, they are not impartial.
            They may well be complicit in taking leaks from a mentally unwell person and endangering their health. (Where were their ethics, checks?)
            They seem to have been so busy trying to find disarray in Nats, they couldn’t see the mess their own Minister was making.

          • Alan Wilkinson

             /  August 24, 2018

            Turned out RNZ never saw the text though so were relying on second hand reports. Hardly authoritative.

            • Blazer

               /  August 24, 2018

              the Police did though..they have to tip toe because the perp might commit suicide.