Clare Curran should have seen the writing on the wall in April over the Carol Hirschfeld ‘episode,’ when the latter became a victim of impropriety. She should have considered it a warning or a wakeup call when she narrowly missed indictment for not recording the meeting with the Radio New Zealand journalist.
Last fortnight, unable to face the heat in Parliament, she resigned her post as Broadcasting, Communications and Digital Media Minister.
Gmail Account usage
Among her transgressions was using a Gmail account for government communications, which was apparently a breach of the Cabinet Manual. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern did not hide her disappointment when she readily accepted Ms Curran’s resignation saying that her position was untenable.
Her own defence was equally untenable.
She said that she was proud of the work she did in her former role as Broadcasting Minister.
“During my time as a Minister, I have worked hard on issues that I have really believed in – how to bring more depth, maturity and sustainability to our media system, particularly publicly funded media, to fundamentally make our democracy stronger,” Ms Curran said.
On issue of her Gmail use, she said: “I use my Gmail account infrequently for work and it would have been discoverable and it hasn’t been used to conceal anything.”
New Zealanders have set exacting standards for their politicians and follow zero tolerance approach towards their behaviour. It is therefore important that political parties, their leaders and those supporting them are assured that the candidates being proposed for election do not have any issues that would haunt them later.
Clearly, Ms Curran should have gone clean with the Prime Minister before being exposed so badly; her forced resignation queered the pitch for her return to the Cabinet in the near future.
In New Zealand, we consider and expect our politicians to be role-models. They must be honest and open to scrutiny. There can be no compromise on their behaviour at all times.
Allegations against a politician, more so a minister become matters of public debate and hence it is important that all facts are placed on the public domain to ensure transparency.