Parliament holding urgent debate over Curran sacking

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

Parliament's Speaker Trevor Mallard has allowed an urgent debate on the removal of Government Minister Clare Curran from Cabinet.

"Not every ministerial resignation will lead to an urgent debate being accepted, particularly where the minister concerned has resigned portfolios rather than ceased being a minister all together," Mallard said.

"However, in this instance, the Prime Minister removed the minister from Cabinet for conduct involving answers to questions from this House. After weighing up the circumstances and the public interest in ministerial probity, I have decided to allow the debate to be held today."

Curran was sacked from Cabinet and stripped of her open government and digital services responsibilities by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern on August 24 after not disclosing a meeting set up using her personal email account.

The February meeting with entrepreneur Derek Handley was over his interest in the vacant chief technology officer role.

It was held at 8pm in Curran's Beehive office with nobody else present, and was not put in her diary.

The next month Curran responded to a written question from National but failed to disclose the meeting.

It was her second strike, after a similar omission in relation to a meeting with former Radio NZ boss Carol Hirschfeld earlier this year.

Correspondence released by Curran's office showed Handley messaged Curran on Twitter on February 13 about his interest in the CTO role. The February 27 meeting was later set up using Curran's Gmail account.

In March and in response to a message from Handley, Curran texted through an MBIE email address where applications could be sent.

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