Questions left unanswered - Curran a no-show

Clare Curran fronts media in Dunedin after being booted from Cabinet. Photo: Gregor Richardson
Clare Curran. Photo: Gregor Richardson
It is not known when under-fire Dunedin South MP Clare Curran will return to Parliament.

The Minister of Broadcasting, Communications and Digital Media was a no-show in the House yesterday, a day after she gave a fumbling performance over questions about her use of a private email account.

In oral questions, National MP Melissa Lee again wanted to ask the minister if she stood by all her answers to oral and written questions.

Ms Lee sought leave to hold over her questions until Ms Curran was present but her request was denied.

Labour Cabinet minister Megan Woods answered questions on her behalf.

When asked if Ms Curran stood by all her answers to oral and written questions, Dr Woods simply answered, ``Yes''.

Supplementary questions about what other business Ms Curran had conducted using her private Gmail account and what she was doing which meant she could not be in Parliament, could not be answered by Dr Woods because she said she did not have the details.

Ms Curran did not respond to calls and her staff have told media she would not be available today either.

In a press release yesterday afternoon, Ms Lee said the Government had made a mockery of its claim to be open
and transparent.

Questions remained about what conversations the minister had using her private Gmail account away from the ``gaze'' of her ministerial staff, she said.

There is nothing in the Cabinet Manual, the rule-book for ministers, about the use of alternative email accounts but Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has asked the Cabinet Office to issue guidance on the use of alternative email accounts by ministers to clarify the issue.

Questions have also been raised about Ms Curran's use of a chauffeur-driven car during a visit to Brisbane for the Commonwealth Games in April.

The return ride between Brisbane and the Gold Coast cost more than $1000, and was revealed as part of the $1.5million government ministers spent on travel and accommodation between April and June.

Ms Curran's staff told the media it was the cheapest option.

She was visiting in her role as Broadcasting Minister.

- Additional reporting RNZ


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