28 Mar 2018

Curran says she won't resign over RNZ meeting

2:19 pm on 28 March 2018

Clare Curran says she has no intention of resigning as Broadcasting Minister, in the wake of the controversy of her meeting with the former RNZ head of news Carol Hirschfeld.

Screengrab of Broadcasting Minister Clare Curran speaking to media outside ASB Waterfont Theatre on 28/03/2018

Broadcasting Minister Clare Curran. Photo: RNZ

Ms Hirschfeld resigned after repeatedly misleading RNZ chief executive Paul Thompson about the nature of the meeting.

Ms Curran has come under pressure after initially failing to disclose the breakfast meeting in response to parliamentary questions last December.

She corrected her response but later told Parliament it was not declared as she viewed it as an informal discussion.

Listen:

Speaking in Auckland this morning she denied there was any cover-up, as alleged by the National Party, and was not deliberately vague in her diary entry and comments.

"I think I've been really, really open about what happened, how it happened, I've just released the texts between myself and Ms Hirschfeld."

There was no reason for her to resign as minister, she said.

"It was a meeting that I didn't consider inappropriate at the time, it wasn't a secret meeting and once I'd corrected my answer in Parliament I don't think there's actually any other issues."

She rejected any suggestion it was a clandestine meeting.

"I don't see how having a meeting in one of Wellington's busiest cafes can ever be considered a secret meeting."

Carol Hirschfeld.

Carol Hirschfeld. Photo: Supplied

She and Hirschfeld had "high level" discussions about the future of the media, RNZ funding and the government's plans for broadcasting.

Ms Curran said she was not reconsidering RNZ+ policy, or the approach the government intended to take, as a result of the controversy.

She described her relationship with Ms Hirschfeld as "friendly acquaintances".

Her resignation was a "huge shame" for the media industry.

"As such a highly respected, long-serving member of the media sector."

Ms Curran said as far as she was aware there were no other undeclared meetings involving her or her staff with RNZ employees.

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