Curran: The pressure has become 'intolerable'

An embattled Dunedin South MP Clare Curran has fronted media at her South Dunedin electorate office, saying she she can "no longer endure the relentless pressure that I have been under".

​A shaken Ms Curran, who was supported by Dunedin North MP David Clark,  spoke at a press conference at 2.30pm, acknowledging her mistakes, but saying she was proud of her involvement in the Labour-led Government.

She said she would stay on as MP for Dunedin South and left without taking any questions.

"Today I advised the prime minister that I have advised the prime minister that I have resigned from all my ministerial portfolios.

"I am like the rest of you a human being and I can no longer endure the relentless pressure that I have 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."

She acknowledged using her Gmail account "infrequently" for work, but said it would have been discoverable,and it was not used to conceal anything.

Earlier Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced just after midday today she had accepted Ms Curran's resignation after two failures to properly record meetings and this week's stumbled response in Parliament to questions about her personal use of email.

A visibly upset Ms Curran declined to speak to the Otago Daily Times when approached for comment early this afternoon, but would be fronting media from her South Dunedin electorate office later today.

In a statment Ms Curran said she had "come to the conclusion the current heat being placed on me is unlikely to go away".

Clare Curran speaks to media at her electoral office in South Dunedin today. Photo: Stephen Jaquiery
Clare Curran speaks to media at her electorate office in South Dunedin today. Photo: Stephen Jaquiery
"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," she said.

National leader Simon Bridges today said Curran’s resignation ''has done real damage to the credibility of both the Prime Minister and the Government and leaves Jacinda Ardern with significant explaining to do''.

“The Prime Minister has badly mishandled the Clare Curran saga and needs to explain what she will do to restore confidence in her Government and reassure New Zealanders that this resignation is not an attempt to cover up further wrongdoing.''

Ms Ardern said Ms Curran contacted her last night to confirm her wish to resign as a Minister "and I accepted that resignation".

“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," Ms Ardern said.

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

Clare Curran fronts media in Dunedin after being booted from Cabinet. Photo: Gregor Richardson
Clare Curran. Photo: Gregor Richardson

Associate Minister for ACC. 

Just this morning Ardern had said Curran's job was safe telling Newstalk ZB's Chris Lynch this morning she had not considered firing Curran over her series of stumbles.

"No, because I think she's paid her price. I have huge expectations of my ministers and those in the ministry but I also accept from time to time they will also have bad days.

"I have to keep in mind that we do want to make sure that we don't set the bar so high that you can't have a situation where you show a bit of human frailty and lose your job over it," 

Curran took personal leave on Thursday after a nightmare in Parliament on Wednesday.

The minister stumbled repeatedly in her answers to questions from the Opposition about her use of a personal email account for government business.

That came after her demotion from the Cabinet and the loss of two portfolios following revelations she failed to follow the proper process over a Beehive meeting with entrepreneur Derek Handley. That came after her coffee meeting with former RNZ boss Carol Hirschfeld which resulted in Hirschfeld losing her job.

Ardern said she had spoken to Curran about the past couple of days, "what's been going on for her".

"The minister, when she stood up, she paused. She took some time to answer some questions. She had a bad day. That happens."

Ardern yesterday asked the Cabinet Office to issue guidance on the use of alternate email accounts by ministers to clarify the issue.

In a statement today Bridges said Curran ''has spent months undermining the faith of New Zealanders in the Government and the Prime Minister has let that happen - twice''.

"Jacinda Ardern had two chances to show leadership and sack Ms Curran – when she first misled New Zealanders over secret meetings and then when she did it again recently.

“The Prime Minister also needs to explain whether the official emails sent by Ms Curran from her private Gmail account will still be released.

“Ms Curran’s resignation does not change the fact this is official information and there is genuine public interest about the type of work carried out on an unsecure, private email account by a minister.

“Is there information contained in these emails which has forced the resignation of Ms Curran?

“The Prime Minister also needs to explain why she misled New Zealanders this morning by saying Ms Curran’s job was safe when Ms Curran says she resigned last night.

“This whole saga has seriously damaged the credibility of both the Prime Minister and the Government.

“The Prime Minister’s judgement has been called into question and she still has real questions to answer.”

The full statement from Clare Curran 

Today I advised the Prime Minster 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 I have been under.

I have 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 job 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 understand how they can have their voice heard.

And how to build an inclusive, productive 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

I will continue as the MP for Dunedin South



Oh give it up Simon, stop hyping things up in order to try get people more worked up about this than is necessary.

Ugggh, politics are barely advanced from the schoolyard when you get certain people in positions of power.

We have just witnessed the most disgraceful bullying of a Member of Parliament. She was elected from a community who know her as a trusted representative and one who has done so much to support them. South Dunedin is a disadvantaged electorate and she has been the one who has listened and helped. Shame on the National Party for this display of intimidation.Any respect for you has now gone.

She's happy to play the shining
knight when it comes to sinking the boot into DCC and stir the pot big time but when she's at fault she's the victim all of a sudden. No sympathy here.