Curran struggling with confidence and memory

Not a great effort from recently demoted (but still a Minister) Clare Curran in Question Time today.

Her lack of confidence shows. “To the best of my recollection um ah ah  I’ve haven’t um I haven’t used my um I have I’ve answered um OIA ah ah OIA responses and personal um and Parliamentary questions correctly and to the best of my recollection um ah you know that that has that’s what I’ve done.”

This dooesn’t show in Hansard: “To the best of my recollection, I haven’t used my—I’ve answered Official Information Act (OIA) responses and personal and parliamentary questions correctly, and, to the best of my recollection, you know, that’s what I’ve done.”

“To the best of my recollection” is not very reassuring from Curran, since her recollection (at best) has let her down twice leading to her demotion from Cabinet

From Hansard in February:

Melissa Lee: Does she stand by her answer to written question No. 19129 (2017) in regard to meeting with board members or staff of TVNZ or RNZ since 1 December?

Hon CLARE CURRAN: Yes.

Melissa Lee: How can she stand by that answer when she failed to mention her breakfast meeting with RNZ head of content Carol Hirschfeld on 2 December?

Hon CLARE CURRAN: I have a range of discussions, informal or otherwise, with many people in a range of portfolio areas.

And last week::

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.

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.

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.

“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.

It’s difficult to see how the Prime Minister can have confidence in Curran as a Minister.

The transcript from  today’s Question Time doesn’t look as bad as the video:

Question No. 12—Broadcasting, Communications and Digital Media

12. MELISSA LEE (National) to the Minister of Broadcasting, Communications and Digital Media: Does she stand by all her statements and actions?

Hon CLARE CURRAN (Minister of Broadcasting, Communications and Digital Media): Yes, in their context.

Melissa Lee: Does she use a personal email account or accounts to conduct any official business?

Hon CLARE CURRAN: From time to time, I have used my Gmail account. When using it, I adhere to my obligations as a Minister.

Melissa Lee: What Government business has she conducted via her Gmail account?

Hon CLARE CURRAN: I just answered that: from time to time, I’ve used my Gmail account. And I’ve—[Interruption]

SPEAKER: Sorry, sorry. Can members on my left be quiet, and I want the Minister to start her answer—

Hon CLARE CURRAN: Can the member repeat her question?

Melissa Lee: What Government business has she conducted via her Gmail account?

Hon CLARE CURRAN: To the best of my recollection, I haven’t used my—I’ve answered Official Information Act (OIA) responses and personal and parliamentary questions correctly, and, to the best of my recollection, you know, that’s what I’ve done.

Melissa Lee: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. The question specifically asked what Government business the Minister has actually conducted using her Gmail.

SPEAKER: And I’m going to rule that the member, between the primary and the supplementary answer, certainly answered that to my satisfaction. I mean, I think all of us know that there’s no restriction on members or Ministers using Gmail accounts. I think all of us know that a large amount of the foreign affairs business of the previous Government was carried out by Gmail.

Melissa Lee: What steps has she or her office undertaken to ensure any correspondence she receives in her Gmail in-box relating to her portfolio is recorded in accordance with official record-keeping practices?

Hon CLARE CURRAN: I worked with my office to ensure that I am responding appropriately to OIA requests and parliamentary questions.

SPEAKER: That’s—I think the member will have another crack at that, because that didn’t cover the entire question. The member might want to repeat the question, so the Minister understands it.

Melissa Lee: I will repeat the question, sir. What steps has she or her office undertaken to ensure any correspondence she receives in her Gmail in-box relating to her portfolio is recorded in accordance with official record-keeping practices?

Hon CLARE CURRAN: I have reviewed my processes with my office. I reassure that member that I’ve released information in accordance with the OIA.

Melissa Lee: Why did she state, “My staff have access to my email accounts and assess whether the correspondence falls under my ministerial portfolios.” in the Minister’s reply to written question No. 19442?

Hon CLARE CURRAN: Well, because they do.

Melissa Lee: How many email accounts has she used for ministerial business other than those listed on the Parliament, ministerial, Beehive, or Labour Party websites?

Hon CLARE CURRAN: As I said in answer to the first supplementary, from time to time I’ve used my Gmail account. When using it, I adhere to my obligations as a Minister

Melissa Lee: What discussions has she had with the coalition Government’s former Minister for Government Digital Services about record-keeping practices?

Hon CLARE CURRAN: As I’ve said, I have reviewed processes in my office, including with the former Government digital services.

 

17 Comments

  1. robertguyton

     /  September 5, 2018

    Why’re ya picking’ in Clare, Pete?
    She’s done.

  2. artcroft

     /  September 5, 2018

    Clare holds meetings with out telling staff. Who knows how many Gmail accounts she has and what business she conducts via them. Could get messy if Melissa has more revelations to come.

  3. Strong For Life

     /  September 5, 2018

    Sack her!!

  4. Gezza

     /  September 5, 2018

    I can’t stand it. I just wince whenever she appears these days.

    • PDB

       /  September 5, 2018

      I think she is one of the more capable ministers.

      • Gezza

         /  September 6, 2018

        “SPEAKER: And I’m going to rule that the member, between the primary and the supplementary answer, certainly answered that to my satisfaction. I mean, I think all of us know that there’s no restriction on members or Ministers using Gmail accounts. I think all of us know that a large amount of the foreign affairs business of the previous Government was carried out by Gmail.

        Jesus. How many different email accounts are our Ministers – including the previous lot – farting around with? Must be a security & OIA nightmare. No wonder the last shower was so bloody slack on OIAs as well.

  5. PDB

     /  September 5, 2018

    I’m starting to see a pattern here…

    Newshub: “A Ministerial Advisory group met once, noted its meeting minutes were subject to the Official Information Act (OIA), then stopped taking minutes in further meetings.
    Broadcasting, Communications and Digital Media Minister Clare Curran set up the Ministerial Advisory Group in February to investigate establishing a Public Media Funding Commission.”

    NZ Herald: “Ardern sacked Curran because of a second failure to properly declare a meeting, the meeting with Handley over his interest in the tech job, which the Government has been struggling to fill.”

    • NOEL

       /  September 6, 2018

      Ministers have phones issued by Parliamentary Services.
      This is an enployment issue. Anyone know what her contract says?

  6. Trevors_elbow

     /  September 6, 2018

    National have Curran exactly where they want her… no need for a knock out blow, just keep jabbing her and causing political blood to flow… keeps Adern on the back foot constantly defending Curran.

    The weakness of Adern in not sacking her is astounding and allows the wound to fester..

    • PDB

       /  September 6, 2018

      Be interesting to see a poll on voting intent soon – Ardern has had a very bad time of it since coming back from leave including this, the youth camp, some people taking issue over her use of the plane, dodgy accounting by Robertson and probably most importantly Winston putting her in her place on the refugees.

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