29 Mar 2018

Hirschfeld resignation: RNZ recalled to select committee

5:24 pm on 29 March 2018

RNZ has been recalled to a parliamentary select committee after the board chairman and chief executive inadvertently misled it earlier this month.

Radio NZ CEO Paul Thompson

RNZ chief executive Paul Thompson and its board chairman will return to the committee on Thursday to correct their original statements. Photo: RNZ

Chief executive Paul Thompson and board chairman Richard Griffin appeared for RNZs annual review, where they faced a series of questions about a meeting between Broadcasting Minister Clare Curran and the then RNZ Head of News Carol Hirschfeld.

They backed Ms Hirschfeld's insistence the meeting was coincidental.

It transpired however the meeting had been pre-arranged between Ms Hirschfeld and Ms Curran by text some time before.

Ms Hirschfeld lost her job after repeatedly misleading RNZ's chief executive about the nature of the meeting, held at a Wellington cafe last December.

Mr Griffin in particular mounted a spirited defence of Ms Hirschfeld at the committee, saying there was nothing sinister in the meeting, and she had bumped into the minister getting a coffee after the gym - something unsurprising in a city like Wellington.

Mr Thompson and Mr Griffin will return to the committee on Thursday morning, to correct their original statements.

Clare Curran has also come under intense scrutiny for initially failing to declare the meeting in a response to a written parliamentary question, which she subsequently had to correct.

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