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.

 

Shearer – “he keeps forgetting things”

When politicians keep attacking and criticising opponents they leave plenty of ammunition that can be later be aimed back at them.

Last October David Shearer launched an attack on John Key, claiming there was a GCSB video of Key joking about Kim Dotcom in February. The video never surfaced.

Under pressure Shearer kept on trying to question Key’s credibility, as this 3 News report shows:

Leader of the Labour Party, David Shearer says John Key has contradicted himself.

Click here to find out more!“What we understand is at that John Key made a direct reference to Dotcom and GCSB’s involvement with Dotcom. That completely contradicts… that he had no recollection of being briefed.”

Mr Shearer says he is not making accusations, he is asking questions and wants to see a video taken by a staff member at the event. However he doesn’t know if the video exists and wants someone from the GCSB to come forward and give some answers.

If it exists, he says John Key should release the video to clear up what has happened once and for all.

“This cuts directly to John Key’s credibility, he keeps forgetting things.”

Everybody forgets things. Even David Shearer.

3 News report today:

Shearer defends bank account brain fade

He says while he has always declared the account for tax purposes, he had forgotten to do the same on the pecuniary interests register since entering parliament in 2009.

Click here to find out more!
He forgot in 2009. And 2012. And 2011. And 2012.

“Frankly, I was horrified when I realised I had overlooked it … I came forward as soon as I found out that I had made the error. I went to (registrar Dame) Margaret Bazley and said `I’m really sorry, I want this corrected, and I want to be upfront about it’.”

Mr Shearer will not say how much money is in the account.

“When I myself found that error, I made the move to correct it. I didn’t wait for anybody else to find it,” Mr Shearer said.

He did the right thing, good on him for that.

He denied there was a double standard at play, following Labour’s criticism of ACT leader John Banks for last year failing to declare a $1000 gift hamper from internet mogul Kim Dotcom, and Prime Minister John Key’s failure to disclose Tranz Rail shares while opposition transport spokesman in 2003.

Maybe his memory will work better in the future, before he says things like “This cuts directly to John Key’s credibility, he keeps forgetting things.”.

Shearer probably won’t be allowed to forget his standards on memory.