24 Aug 2018

Clare Curran: 'I've let myself down'

5:31 pm on 24 August 2018

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is removing Clare Curran from Cabinet after she failed to record a meeting in her diary.

Watch Clare Curran front the media here:

Ms Ardern said she has also accepted Ms Curran's offer to resign her Government Digital Services portfolio and Open Government responsibilities, following a second failure to properly declare a meeting.

Ms Curran failed to record a February meeting in her diary and subsequently failed to record it in a written parliamentary question.

Ms Ardern said she received information on Monday that Ms Curran had informally organised a meeting in February this year.

In February, Ms Curran met with Derek Handley at her Beehive office in her capacity as Minister of Government Digital Services to discuss Mr Handley's interest in the vacant Chief Technology Officer (CTO) role. This meeting took place after the first unsuccessful recruitment round for the CTO.

Ms Curran said she was very sorry for what had happened: "I've let myself down, I've let the Prime Minister down, I've let my government down, I apologise for the distraction this has caused to my government and I just want to put my head down and focus now on my portfolio of broadcasting, communication and digital media and do the best job I can."

Ms Curran said she thought she had been accountable and to the best of her knowledge there were no other meetings of this type.

"As with any MP and any minister mistakes get made, the most important thing is to be as accountable as possible and I think I'm certainly being accountable and paying a fairly heavy price today," Ms Curran said.

The issue is that Ms Curran failed to record that meeting and that she subsequently failed to include it in a written question, Ms Ardern said.

Ms Ardern said that created an impression of a lack of transparency and it was the second time that there had been such an offence from the minister.

Ms Ardern said Clare Curran accepted that she did not meet her expectations and she had not met her own expectations.

Ms Ardern described it as a significant demotion, but said it was proportionate to the incident that had taken place.

Clare Curran will keep her roles in broadcasting and ACC.

Megan Woods will take the portfolio of digital services, while Chris Hipkins will take on open government.

"I have chosen specifically, as she has done, to focus on the removal of Government Digital Services because I do not want any questions raised over the issue of chief technology officer or any question or perception around chief technology officer that will now report to Megan Woods."

Ms Ardern said she maintained confidence in the Minister in the areas of broadcasting and ACC.

She accepted there was no malice intended, Ms Ardern said.

"There is no excuse for what has happened here, that is why the minister has been demoted ... she remembers the meeting, she does not recall the written question," Ms Ardern said.

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