Curran's 'tireless' electorate work praised

Clare Curran.
Clare Curran.
Embattled Dunedin South MP Clare Curran's electorate committee has rallied around her, as the former cabinet minister was the focus of more questions in Parliament yesterday.

The support comes as Ms Curran revealed there might be more work-related emails in her personal Gmail account between her and entrepreneur Derek Handley.

Ms Curran's electorate committee chairwomen yesterday wrote to the Otago Daily Times pledging their support and confidence.

"Clare has worked tirelessly for the Dunedin South electorate," Rebecca Williams and Helen Lobb said.

"Over the past week, we have received numerous emails and phone calls in support of Clare, commenting on the good work that she has done in Dunedin South."

Ms Curran had an extremely strenuous work ethic, cared about her constituents deeply, and often put her work and the needs of those she represented above herself, the women said.

"We can all make mistakes but we don't have the scrutiny and tactics of the media and others to deal with."

Ms Curran, who resigned as a minister last week citing "intolerable pressure" following her sacking from the Cabinet, earlier released Gmail correspondence between her and Mr Handley over the secret meeting she held with him which ultimately led to her demotion.

Ms Curran - who said on Friday she intended to remain Dunedin South MP - was in Wellington yesterday, as Parliament was sitting.

She told reporters she was archiving all emails she sent using her personal Gmail account.

"I'm working through all of that at the moment, and they will be publicly discoverable," she said.

When asked whether she had released all the emails relating to her dealings with Mr Handley, Ms Curran admitted there may be more.

"They are the full chain of emails that related to the meeting that I had with him in February," she said.

"There may be some more."

In the House, National leader Simon Bridges questioned Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern on the timeline for her acceptance of Ms Curran's resignation.

The Prime Minister said she had spoken to Ms Curran on Thursday night but she did not formally resign until Friday morning.

"I was asked [in a media interview on Friday morning] if I had fired her. I had not," Ms Ardern said.

"Before a minister resigns from their portfolio, of course they may choose to want to inform their family, to inform their staff.

"It's only right that we allow a member to undertake those things before it is publicly conveyed," she said.

Yesterday, Ms Ardern reminded Government ministers of their responsibilities under the Official Information Act to maintain records of all ministerial material, regardless of the forum on which it appeared.

"Ministerial Services, alongside the chief archivist, provides guidance to ministers and their staff in regard to their information management obligations under the Public Records Act 2005," she said.

Under the Act, ministers are required to create full and accurate records of their ministerial affairs. That includes information held in various formats.

Ms Ardern said the Department of Internal Affairs spoke to Ms Curran's office last Wednesday, to highlight the former minister's obligations under the Act in regard to the use of personal emails.

That included ensuring all information created and received in her official capacity as a minister was provided to her staff for correct storage and retention.

"Clare will follow the requirements under the Act and submit the relevant papers to Archives New Zealand. Access to these papers will be the same as accessing any other papers from previous ministers," Ms Ardern said.

"The OIA is mode-neutral, be it text, WhatsApp, Facebook, LinkedIn.

"Those are all subject to the Official Information Act and we need to therefore make sure that we allow those to continue to be discoverable."

- Additional reporting NZME

Comments

Good as a local mp Useless as a cabinet minister Totally out of her depth

Standard left wing.
Quit for repeatedly telling fibs and misleading statements, then get heralded as still being great and a PM talking out of both sides of her mouth.
I can only imagine what the uproar from labour would be like if this was a national minister.
Instead, legit questions are framed as harassing a disgraced mp

Bullying is a problem from monomaniacal politicians, hounding others. Bullies are not fit to govern.

Standard Rightist Pantellica's view is marginal.