Curran’s inevitable resignation as a Minister

After a woeful effort in Parliament on Wednesday and a no-show on Thursday it looked inevitable that Clare Curran’s position as a minister was no longer tenable, and so it turned out.

The official story is that Curran offered her resignation as a minister to the Prime Minister on Thursday night , and that was accepted by Jacinda Ardern. Whether she needed nudging or pushing or whether it was entirely her decision is unknown.

Ardern’s statement: Clare Curran resigns as Minister

The Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has accepted Clare Curran’s resignation as a Minister.

“Clare Curran contacted me last night to confirm her wish to resign as a Minister and I accepted that resignation,” said Jacinda Ardern.

“Clare has come to the view the issues currently surrounding her are causing an unacceptable distraction for the Government and immense pressure on her personally.

“I agree with her assessment that resigning is the best course of action for the Government and for her.”

Kris Faafoi will become the Minister of Broadcasting, Communications and Digital Media, remaining outside of Cabinet, and Peeni Henare will become the Associate Minister for ACC.

Statement from Clare Curran on her resignation as Minister

“I advised the Prime Minister last night I would resign as a Minister, which she accepted,” said Clare Curran.

“I have come to the conclusion the current heat being placed on me is unlikely to go away. This pressure has become intolerable. For the benefit of the Government, and my personal wellbeing, I believe that resignation is the best course of action.”

Curran gave a brief statement to media yesterday afternoon:

She read a statement:

Today I advised the Prime Minister that I have resigned from all my Ministerial portfolios.

I am, like the rest of you all, a human being, and I can no longer endure the relentless pressure that I’ve been under.

I’ve made some mistakes. They weren’t deliberate undermining of the political system, but my mistakes have been greatly amplified and the pressure on me has become intolerable.

We all bring to our jobs strengths and weaknesses. Our political system should never try to cast people in the same mould.

I was really proud to have served in the coalition government ministry. During my time as a minister I’ve worked hard on issues I’ve really believed in. How to bring more depth, maturity  and sustainability to our media system, particularly publicly funded media, to fundamentally make our democracy stronger.

How to give New Zealanders more confidence and trust in our political system, and the motivation to be active and to understand how they can have their voices heard.

And how to build a productive, inclusive digital society that leaves no one behind.

I’m deeply saddened I won’t be able to do that.

I thank my Prime Minister for the chance she gave me.

I thank all my colleagues and my party for the support, encouragement and solidarity they show every day.

On the question of Gmail use.  I use my Gmail account infrequently for work, and it would have been discoverable, and it hasn’t been used to conceal anything.

And I will continue as the MP for Dunedin South.

She left as soon as she finished, not taking any questions.

So she blames it on “the relentless pressure that I’ve been under”, but she is responsible for much of that pressure.

One apparent discrepancy in her statements:

Ardern’s statement: “Clare Curran contacted me last night to confirm her wish to resign as a Minister and I accepted that resignation”.

Curran’s written statement: “I advised the Prime Minister last night I would resign as a Minister, which she accepted”.

Curran’s spoken statement: “Today I advised the Prime Minister that I have resigned from all my Ministerial portfolios.”

That could be a mistake. It could also be that the spoken statement was written on Thursday (day not night?) and not edited for being given on Friday.

Time will tell whether Curran puts herself forward for Dunedin South in 2020, whether the Labour party selects her, and whether she gets re-elected. It is not a given that she would succeed. Her majorities:

  • 2008: 6,449 (Labour majority  4666)
  • 2011: 4,175 (National majority 1,837)
  • 2014: 3,858 (National majority 2,485)
  • 2017: 8,717 (Labour majority 5,019)

The National candidate from 2011, Jo Hayes, is now a National list MP.

The National candidate from 2014, Hamish Walker, switched to Clutha-Southland in 2017 and won Bill English’s old seat.

ODT:

Tracey Watkins (Stuff):

NZ Herald:

 

Labour branch recess “nothing to lose any sleep over at all”

Labour are that brimming with support that the putting of a branch into recess has been descrobed by the Labour Party president as “certainly nothing to lose any sleep over at all”.

Richard Harman at Politik reports: LABOUR LEFT WINGERS CLOSE BRANCH IN PROTEST

The Labour party leadership is shrugging off a move by a Dunedin branch of the party to go into recess because it says it is not left wing enough.

The Anderson’s bay branch of the party has said it is going into recess.

Its organiser, Tat Loo, who writes under the pseudonym “Colonel Viper’ on the left wing blog site, “The Standard”. Said “Labour as an organization is failing ordinary Kiwis both locally in Dunedin and centrally in Wellington on many different levels and it shows every sign of continuing on that track.

“We want no part of propping up the Thorndon Bubble careerist ‘pretend and extend’ set any further and will be moving on to new political projects.”

But party president, Nigel Haworth, said the move was “really quite inconsequential”.

He said it was a minor perturbation.

“It’s certainly nothing to lose any sleep over at all.”

In fact Mr Haworth and leader, Andrew Little, night well regard the move as a minor victory in their quest to make the party more relevant to mainstream New Zealand.

Yeah, right, sheeding support is just what Labour need right now.

Ok, Tat Loo has been a vocal critic of the direction Labolur is heading (right and down) at The Standard for a while. A few years ago he got offside with Clare Curran and she is alleged to have tried to have him suspended from the party.

But Labour can’t really afford to shed factions.

I met Tat Loo during the 2011 campaign (he stood for Labour in the Clutha/Southlan electorate), seemed a nice enough guy but having seen what he writes at The Standard our ideas on politics are obviously quite different.

As Colonial Viper Loo wrote about the branch recess decision at The Standard:

ABP Branch of Labour goes into recess; all Branch Officers to resign

Dunedin’s most active and most innovative Labour Party branch is going into recess.

Going by the comment count (361 to date) there’s been a lot of interest.

Quite funny to see me pop up in the commentary:

Colonial Viper 17.2

thanks RL. To our team forging unity throughout the Left is not going to be the goal, it is going to be shifting and driving authentic political debate, something that many are clearly uncomfortable with.

  • One Anonymous Bloke

    :roll:

    Like Pete George only with conspiracy theories 😆

    • Colonial Viper

      yeah, because everyone on the Std reckons that my politics and that of Pete Georges are directly comparable.

      • One Anonymous Bloke

        I’m referring to the fact that, like yours, his rapier-like debating abilities make people uncomfortable 😆

        • McFlock

          Different sides of the same coin.

          PG often seemed to me to be so keen on the idea that truth was a matter of perspective that he would disappear up his own cartesian doubt.

          CV seems to be so convinced he can read the matrix code as it swirls by that anybody who disagrees with him must be either a fool or a neoliberal stooge.

Quite funny to be included in discussions like that.

Less funny – both Tat Loo and I are potential Labour voters, albeit from opposite sides of their spectrum. That both of us a rejected by Labour and Labour supporters suggests that 30% might be not be left behind any time soon.

But apparently the Labour leader and the Labour president see this as really quite inconsequential, a minor perturbation and  certainly nothing to lose any sleep over at all.

 

ABP/Labour policy suggestions

An interesting bunch of policy suggestions from  the ABP Branch of the Labour Party (Dunedin South) via Colonial Viper at The Standard:

With regards and credit to the ABP Branch of the Labour Party (Dunedin South):

1) A UBI for all NZers 18 and over set at 45% of the full time minimum wage.

2) Citizens Grant: at ages 21, 40 and 65 a one off ‘citizens grant’ of $10,000 is distributed to each person which they can use towards their education, setting up a small business, paying off a mortgage or their retirement plans.

3) Direct government creation of money. Each month, the Reserve Bank shall credit the Government’s operating bank account with a sum equivalent to 10% of the Crown’s tax take for that month as averaged over the previous 5 years. (Giving the government an additional ~$500M to spend per month without borrowing or taxation).

4) The minimum wage will auto-set every 3 years at 2/3 of the average wage.

5) A top income tax rate of 49% will be introduced at 10x the average wage.

6) The lowest income tax rate shall be reduced to 10%.

7) An FTT shall be introduced allowing regressive GST to be halved to 7.5%.

8) NZ jobs guarantee: minimum wage employment to be provided for each and every citizen who wants to work and who has been resident in the country for at least 12 months; citizens will have the option of full time or part time work as best suits them, but must perform to all normal employment standards.

9) MMP threshold to be halved to 2.5%.

10) Electoral MPs to be elected via STV> ranking.

11) All entities registered or resident in NZ shall incur an annual wealth tax of 0.25% on each dollar of financial assets (including property), held whether in NZ or overseas, over a NZ$1M threshold. (Across generations this tax will effectively act as an inheritance tax).

12) Compass to provide all meals on Parliament grounds: all existing food outlets on Parliament grounds are to be shut down and replaced with self-serve kiosks supplying Compass frozen meals flown in from Auckland daily.

Most of those are unrealistic ideological dream stuff even for the Labour Party.

Number 9 is ok (and could go further). Number 10 is worth considering.

Number 12 is funny (especially if you know about food proposals for Dunedin Hospital).

Clare Curran, Kim Dotcom and the Internet Party

Clare Curran is yet another MP linked to Kim Dotcom and his mansion in Coatesville.

This came up yesterday amidst attention on Russel Norman and Winston Peters. Norman has admitted visiting Dotcom – see Russel Norman transcript with Duncan Garner – and it has been alleged that Peters has visited at least three times and Peter has refused to deny it.

Bill Ralston asked on Twitter:

It might be helpful if all politicians who have had talks with KDC declared their interest and what was discussed, who’s been with him & why.

Whale Oil replied:

Clare Curran and Jacinda Ardern.

Yes, Clare twice at least, plus rings him, Jacinda to be fair at social function only.

They were there…Curran at least twice, cabbed it once, driven once

So Ralston asked the MPs.

Hi @clarecurranmp & @jacindaardern can you clarify @Whaleoil comment that you visited @KimDotcom. When, why and what was discussed please.

Strange. I haven’t heard anything back from @clarecurranmp or @jacindaardern about their meetings with @KimDotcom Anyone heard anything?

Can @clarecurranmp confirm the number of meetings with @KimDotcom & what was discussed and @jacindaardern confirm Xmas lights the only time?

That’s strange @clarecurranmp was on twitter just an hour ago. Must have got too busy to reply.

So we have @winstonpeters@clarecurran and @jacindaardern too embarrassed to talk about their dealings with @KimDotcom OK. Got the picture.

To Jacinda Ardern:

You sure you didn’t go to a party at the mansion or a panto thingey and met him there?

Ardern replied:

Nope. He appeared via film footage the nights I was on stage. Just the good old Franklin Road Lights!

Ralston turns to Curran:

Thanks Jacinda, much appreciated. Now, where’s @clarecurranmp ?

Ok, I’ll come back tomorrow and see if @clarecurranmp has come clean on how many Dotcom meetings and what was discussed. Somehow doubt it.

That was at 5.06 pm yesterday (12 February).

Curran made a general statement on Twitter 1t 10.30 pm.

In my work I’ve met @kimdotcom 4 times, including at public events. In NZ it’s no crime to meet critics of the state.

So she hasn’t denied visiting him at his mansion nor denied phoning him.

It’s no crime of course. That sounds very defensive. But it is looking increasingly obvious that being connected to Dotcom is politically unwise.

Curran’s liaisons with Dotcom are interesting. They do have issues on the Internet and communications in common. And of course in defeating the current Government in this year’s election.

Doubts have been expressed about Curran’s position with Labour.

She is obviously out of favour with David Cunliffe. Curran had openly campaigned against Cunliffe becoming leader and Curran was involved in an incident with Cunliffe’s wife at the Dunedin leadership forum.

And she was also involved in another controversy during the leadership contest:

Ms Curran caused some controversy last week with an ill-timed comment on Twitter accusing opponents of Mr Robertson playing the ”gay card”.

Whether that comes back to bite her will be known early this week.

It did come back to bite. Cunliffe dropped Curran from 18 to 29 (out of 34) in the MP pecking order when he took over the Labour leadership.

Since then there have been suggestions that Curran could be dropped by Labour from her Dunedin South electorate. Audrey Young in NZ Herald/ODT on 18 December 2013.

Challenges of sitting electorate MPs are rare in most parties but Prime Minister John Key ousted sitting MP Brian Neeson in 2002 to get his candidacy for Helensville, and Judith Collins ousted Warren Kyd in Clevedon.

There has been speculation that National’s John Hayes could face a challenge in Wairarapa and that Labour’s Clare Curran could face a challenge in Dunedin South.

I have heard other suggestions of this possibility from Labour Party members. From Curran’s position in doubt in Dunedin South? posted on 27 December:

An interesting Public Notice on the ODT on Tuesday regarding Clare Curran’s electorate:

“The New Zealand Labour Party wishes to advise all Electorate, Branch and Affiliated members that nominations for the Dunedin South constituency remain open. The closing date has been amended and is now February 28 2014.”

This may be normal process, or it may be an indication that rumours of attempts to replace Curran within Labour have some substance.

Curran ousted sitting MP David Benson-Pope from candidacy in Dunedin South for the 2008 election.

She was demoted by David Cunliffe to 30 out of the 34 current Labour MPs.

An interesting comment on this from a Labour member from Dunedin:

 No one, including myself, has put in a selection nomination against Clare Curran that I know of. More I cannot say at this stage :twisted:

Interesting, especially the last bit.

I haven’t heard anything about this since.

Has Curran been sounding out the possibility of jumping from the Labour waka and standing for Dotcom’s Internet Party? Or is she looking for alternative options if she is pushed overboard by Labour?

Dotcom’s statement that he would “self-destruct” the Internet Party if it looked like missing the 5% mark must be discouraging for anyone considering standing for his party. It would be high risk with a likelihood of being career destroying. Dotcom has a growing reputation as a political wrecking ball.

I’ve asked her about this on Twitter this morning. I’ll update this post if I get a response.

Curran’s position in doubt in Dunedin South?

An interesting Public Notice on the ODT on Tuesday regarding Clare Curran’s electorate:

“The New Zealand Labour Party wishes to advise all Electorate, Branch and Affiliated members that nominations for the Dunedin South constituency remain open. The closing date has been amended and is now February 28 2014.”

This may be normal process, or it may be an indication that rumours of attempts to replace Curran within Labour have some substance.

Curran ousted sitting MP David Benson-Pope from candidacy in Dunedin South for the 2008 election.

She was demoted by David Cunliffe to 30 out of the 34 current Labour MPs.

UPDATE: An interesting comment on this from a Labour member from Dunedin:

 No one, including myself, has put in a selection nomination against Clare Curran that I know of. More I cannot say at this stage :twisted:

Interesting, especially the last bit.

DSC07965