27 Sep 2018

Govt releases all communications relating to Derek Handley

3:02 pm on 27 September 2018

The government has released all of the communications and documents it holds relating to the Derek Handley appointment process although large parts have been redacted.

Watch Megan Woods on Curran communications:

Ms Curran's failure to properly record a meeting she had with tech entrepreneur Derek Handley in February cost her her seat at the Cabinet table.

The meeting was to discuss Mr Handley's interest in the vacant Chief Technology Officer role.

Upset with his treatment at the hands of the government, Mr Handley this week dropped a political bomb by releasing text and email exchanges with both Ms Curran and Ms Ardern while the government was still labouring through the process of releasing them itself.

* All the released documents can be found online here

Speaking at Parliament, Minister of Government Digital Services Megan Woods announced that hundreds of pages of documents have just been released, including exchanges between Ms Curran and the prime minister on WhatsApp throughout the year, in which they discuss the appointment process.

While there was mention of Mr Handley as one of the final four, there were no comments from Ms Ardern influencing the choice of candidate.

In late July Ms Curran informed Ms Ardern that Mr Handley had been chosen and the announcement was on track for the latter part of August.

"It is clear from these communications that the prime minister was not involved in the shortlisting of candidates and that Clare [Curran] acted independently on deciding who the preferred candidates were," Ms Woods said.

Ms Woods says the prime minister did not respond to a text from Mr Handley in November containing an offer to help the country.

A phone call took place between the acting chief of staff and Mr Handley in late December when Mr Handley again made an offer of assistance the country, she said.

"It was an introductory call, and no further no action was taken."

He was offered the role pending conflict of interest checks.

Ms Woods said she had called Mr Handley this week to apologise for the impact that withdrawing the offer had on him.

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