Hawkesby: More concerning than a flaky Curran is a soft PM

OPINION: So how about that late Friday afternoon slap on the wrist with a wet bus ticket? writes Kate Hawkesby.

Buried in the news heading into a big rugby weekend ... nothing to see here.

Just the PM's former flatmate Clare Curran breaking the very same rules again that she'd already broken once before. No biggie.

Two token portfolios taken off her - Government Digital Services and Open Government removed from her watch, and getting lumped outside Cabinet.

But she gets to keep her plum roles as Broadcasting and ACC Minister. Why?

If you've proven you're untrustworthy, not only once, but twice, then you lose the argument it was 'an oversight' and you start to look like a serial offender.

To not declare meetings, and conduct them in such a fashion – over coffee off-site with Carol Hirschfeld, or behind closed doors after hours with Sky TV board director Derek Handley, is to prove you don't get it.

You don't get the privilege of what it means to hold these jobs.

You don't get the gravitas of the roles or the importance of transparency.

These are not difficult concepts to grasp, they're actually the basics.

The fact her defence continues to be 'I forgot' is about as lame as it gets.

So how can Clare Curran continue to be trusted?

Well she can't, despite the PM calling this a "significant demotion", it isn't. It's token.

Is the Prime Minister just biding her time? Is she starting with a small rebuff and building to a gradual demotion further down the road when she perhaps gives Broadcasting and ACC to someone else? I don't know.

All I do know is she's lost credibility, for a second time, and now looks like not a robust enough operator for Broadcasting and ACC.

It also in my view makes the PM look a bit too soft.

I suspect Helen Clark, for example, would've shown this behaviour the door.

More concerning than a flaky minister, is a soft Prime Minister.

Clare Curran may well get her comeuppance in the coming months or years, but Jacinda Ardern can't afford to look too weak.

Strong leadership is always more desirable than someone willing to offer lots of second chances to a recidivist offender.

I would have thought the fact Derek Handley is on the board of Sky TV is all the ammunition you need to fire your Minister of Broadcasting.

So what are you waiting for Prime Minister?

- Kate Hawkesby is the host of Early Edition on Newstalk ZB, weekdays from 5am-6am


She said it first, about 5.25am.

Not sure what 'flaky' means. Perhaps the Opposition does.

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