Sacked Curran keen to keep working for South

Dunedin South MP Clare Curran talks to media in her electorate office following her sacking from...
Dunedin South MP Clare Curran talks to media in her electorate office following her sacking from Cabinet by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern. Photo: Gregor Richardson
A demoted and apologetic Clare Curran is vowing to stay on in Parliament and continue working for the people of South Dunedin after being sacked from Cabinet.

The Dunedin South MP was removed from Cabinet late yesterday afternoon by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern after it was revealed she failed to declare a meeting, for the second time.

In February, Ms Curran, as the Minister of Government Digital Services, met entrepreneur Derek Handley at the Beehive to discuss his possible candidacy for the vacant chief technology officer (CTO) role.

It was not recorded in her diary and neither her staff nor parliamentary officials were aware of the meeting.

She also failed to mention the meeting in response to a written question from the National Party.

It is the second time Ms Curran has failed to record a potential conflict of interest: earlier this year, she did not record a meeting with RNZ senior manager Carol Hirschfeld.

Jacinda Ardern talks to media at her electorate office in Mt Albert. Photo: NZ Herald
Jacinda Ardern talks to media at her electorate office in Mt Albert. Photo: NZ Herald
Ms Curran said she simply forgot when her answer was sent out and apologised for failing to live up to expectations of transparency.

"I'm very sorry for what has happened. I've let myself down, I've let my Prime Minister down, and I want to apologise for the distraction I've caused my Government."

Asked if the people of South Dunedin could be confident in her abilities as an MP, Ms Curran said she hoped she still had their trust.

"I think the people of Dunedin South know I work pretty hard on their behalf and I hope that I can continue to do so."

Ms Ardern said she made the decision to remove Ms Curran from the Cabinet because she had not come up to her expectations as a minister.

As well as being removed from Cabinet, Ms Curran resigned from her open government and government digital services portfolios.

She will remain as the Minister for Broadcasting, Communications and Digital Media and as Associate Minister for ACC, outside of Cabinet.

Speaking to the media at her electorate office in South Dunedin yesterday, Ms Curran said, to the best of her knowledge, there were no other meetings which she had not properly recorded.

The State Services Commission will examine the CTO appointment process to ensure the meeting had no bearing on the process or outcome.

It will report back before the appointment is made.

Ms Curran defended using her Gmail address, rather than her parliamentary email, to arrange the meeting.

"I don't know how unusual that is but that's been made public so it's accountable and on the public record ... It was just another mode of communication."

In a press release, National's government digital services spokesman Brett Hudson said it was a sign of weakness from the Government that Ms Curran was allowed to retain two portfolios.

"Her punishment is a slap on the wrist with a wet bus ticket. She keeps her ministerial salary and all the perks that come with that, despite demonstrating that she's not capable of being a minister," Mr Hudson said.

Ministers outside of Cabinet earn $248,839 a year, more than $47,000 less than the $296,007 paid to ministers inside Cabinet. - Additional reporting NZME

Comments

of course she is what else has she do? IMHO not just let why should she let her sit in the corner for a while and think about her actions. I hope she has all here MP benifiets removed as well